I was watching a movie with some friends the other night when the topic of a woman’s “friend zone” came up. Presumably, the Friend Zone is a Bermuda Triangle-like region from which there is no exit, inside which a male is considered a non-romantic entity, like a brother or a pet rock. I’ve never believed in the Friend Zone, although I suppose it’s only fair to disclaim that my experiences may differ from others’. Maybe it does exist, and I’ve simply never been placed in it, but I haven’t been quite vain enough to assume something like that since I was 15 — it seems much more likely that it simply hasn’t come into my mind as important.
Based almost entirely on anecdotal experience (still never a valid source, no matter what the School of Internet Debate says), I would guess that the Friend Zone Theory isn’t something very many women use, mainly because a lot of it seems custom-made for male psychology. If anything, I’d guess it was developed either by men or by very ambitious women with lab coats and clipboards. Moreover, I’ve only ever heard it applied to heterosexual relationships, and it has the sound of straight male desperation — and I should know, I wrote the book. Well, the abridged, illustrated version for grade-schoolers, anyway.
According to Friend Zone Theory, if our male efforts to woo a woman fail, it’s not because there’s something the matter with us — it’s because we had the misfortune of being placed in the Friend Zone. If we want to avoid being put in the Friend Zone, we should act like a romantic interest and not as a friend. This seems to imply, then, that people only date those they aren’t or wouldn’t be friends with, which never made sense to me. Granted, Friend Zone Theory doesn’t seem to be a bad approach, and if a man chooses to ascribe to it, 9 times out of 10 he probably wouldn’t be worse off, but I think it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with having more friends if a relationship doesn’t pan out, assuming that a relationship is what you want. On top of which, trying to force a relationship when the other half already thinks it wouldn’t work just seems like a bad idea.
When I was much, much younger, no girl in her right mind would date me, and with good reason — she would almost certainly have to be stark-raving bananas to find my pompous 4th grade self remotely interesting. Of course, when you’re nine, “dating” isn’t so much an actual word as it is a vague concept that sits in the back of your mind after you’ve snuck your first PG-13 film and can’t figure out where all that teenage angst is supposed to come from. I also had the keen intuition of a flatworm, so well into my high school years, any girl who was interested would probably have had better luck flirting with the flatworm, and gotten a much better response. Being a vertebrate and having a backbone? Not the same thing.
I suppose, then, that from the get-go, the notion of the Friend Zone was inherently foreign to me, as any interest I showed in a girl was transparent enough to not be worth attempting subtlety, and any interest showed in me was so over my head that I naturally assumed we were friends by default, male or female.
For what it’s worth, the film my friends and I were watching was unsurprisingly titled Just Friends, and was inspired by the real-life romantic tribulations of the filmmakers. Apparently, one of them eventually married his “just friend,” which has interesting implications for the Friend Zone theory.
Then again, given that they filmed in Regina, Saskatchewan, in conditions colder than the average temperature on Mars, it’s no wonder the Venus-originating females were put off their ease. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to meet a female friend for breakfast before going shopping at the mall. Don’t judge me — I’m behind on my GameStop and Best Buy browsing, and I need a new pair of sneakers.