The friendzone myth

2 cents on 2 sides

“When did you friendzone me?” one of my housemates asked, implying with his question that there was a time in the past when I was down for the dick.

“Uhh, the first day I met you,” I replied, feeling uncomfortable with the cop-out concept of the word “friendzone.”

“That’s so not true!” he confidently declared, and followed it up with instances where I was nice to him, as if it offered evidence that I was lying.

Apparently, the notion that I was nice but never into him was as improbable as my chances of revirginizing.

His marriage proposal jokes, his inappropriate drunk snaps asking me for hugs and his plain cockblocking of me and my date when we watched “When Harry Met Sally” all made the house dynamic excruciatingly awkward for me. But nothing, not even him almost ruining my cuddling session with my date, made me feel as emotionally harassed as when he tried to mansplain to me how I felt about him.

Though I had politely confronted him about his misconducts in the past, he didn’t face the truth until I corrected him on his friendzone misconception. Because this rejection was broader and less situational, and shut the door on any possibilities of future romantic involvement, it triggered a series of uncomfortable confrontations.

As soon as the rest of the house made it known that my admirer was becoming an undeniable problem, and that his flirting attempts made me uncomfortable and anxious, he tried to turn the table and said that he was never attracted to me. Despite his clear expressions of interest, he claims that I was the one who flirted with him, making him uncomfortable and anxious. Textbook victim blaming.

His lies and denials made me sick to my stomach, and even more so with his suggestion that I ever flirted with him. Even as his actions induced my anxiety, he refused to take responsibility for his toxic crush.

Even though his interest in me underlies his use of the word friendzone, he was still adamant about saving his pride.

What’s worse was that he began to get verbally abusive after the rejection. As it turns out, me not wanting to get his nuts up in my guts was justification enough for him to be a dick, because he felt entitled to my affections.

So initially the puppy dog that would praise me on everything from my opinions on politics to my life philosophies, he was now a vicious pitbull that wouldn’t even pick up after himself in the living room without an attack on my looks in the group message.

His reaction is predicated on the notion that I, as a woman, lose agency over who I can like once some guy is nice enough to drive me to Safeway to get a pie. I’m the dick for taking a ride in his car without the intentions of taking a ride on his dick.

Everyone shoves people in the “friendzone,” but men especially use the term to demonize women who want to hold platonic relationships.

In a society saturated in romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally” that don’t pass the Bechdel test, some deluded men, like my housemate, internalize that women are desperately seeking romantic partners. They develop the misconception that most women who aren’t actively assholes are unquestionably into them.

They disregard a woman’s tailored feeling and even her right to be single and content with it. According to them, if I don’t want an available, willing man to de-web my vagina, I should reevaluate my privileges.

So when their misconceptions are challenged, these men throw the word “friendzone” around to protect their egos and blame the woman, as if she should feel bad for not craving their cocks.

The movie I used to get laid celebrates the idea that men and women can’t be friends and that the ending is horrible if the guy doesn’t get the woman he made a concerted effort chasing. It argues that being platonic is robbing the guy of the romantic rights and to chase harder if the girl isn’t initially interested. When outside of the television screens, these advances are creepy and anxiety-inducing.

Just like women don’t owe sex to guys who buy them drinks at a bar, they also don’t owe love to guys who are nice to them. And neither are women entitled to someone’s commitment because they’ve put in energy into constructing sassy text messages for a week straight. Niceties aren’t a transaction for sex, and time spent with someone isn’t an investment for love.

The legitimization of “friendzoning” made me fear making eye contact with my emotional harasser, who does not hesitate to tell me how I feel and encodes my every action as me trying to fuck. I’ve lost weight because going downstairs to make dinner was too uncomfortable. I’ve even lost sleep on the nights before a midterm because of his abusive comments triggering my anxiety and felt anxious throughout the test.

And when I tried to make accommodations to avoid running into him, he refused to comply for the sake of my mental health.

In the end, the “Harry” in my house didn’t get his “Sally.” According to rom com logic, he should have. But according to real-life logic, we’re kicking him out of the house.

Catherine Straus writes the Thursday blog on taking two sides. Contact her at [email protected].