Frisky Rant: Enough With This “Friend Zone” Nonsense!

Ughhhhhh. The ubiquity of the whole “friend zone” conversation is depressingly sexist. Every single time I read an article, see a meme or am privy to a conversation where the idea surfaces, I want to literally scream and choke someone. Are people still not aware that they are perpetuating the myth that men are somehow entitled to women’s attention and affections? That such entitlement is incredibly problematic and can even be dangerous? I’m absolutely fed up with men pretending to be victimized by a society where they have far more social, political and economic power than women as a whole. The man-whining is just too much and I can’t deal with it any longer, so I’m going to take the time to explain just why normalizing “friend zone” complaints by men are highly problematic.

Okay, Men: The woman of your dreams isn’t interested in a romantic or physical relationship with you? You do not have access to her heart and body based on your want for it alone? You are the self-proclaimed good guy who has a hard time finding a date? So, you are a victim of all of the women who reject you, right?

Wrong!

You are a man who more than likely happens to be kinda, sorta “average” on the dating hierarchy. You have less options than, say, Channing Tatum (who has fabulous abs, a multi-million dollar acting career and dance moves to make any woman faint) and even less than Hugh Hefner, who, despite his proximity to the grave, manages to keep a harem of of model-esque bombshell blondes with his abundant wealth. This “averageness” puts you on par with the majority of those fumbling around in the average dating world. And let me tell you a thing or two about the average dating world: it is ruled by societal expectations which all men and women play into and are bound by. So, get over it, and in the wise words of Judge Lynn Toler, stay in your lane!

So what precisely does “stay in your lane” mean in the average dating world? In short, it means coupling is largely dictated by basic expectations, which both men and women hold. While everyone would probably love an extremely good-looking, well-educated partner who’s rolling in dough and has a high social status, more than likely we — I’m including myself in this, by the way — will all end up with partners who mirror our own “desirability rating” based on society’s dictation. Studies routinely show that we tend to find partners who are comparably attractive, educated and from our own socio-economic group. Heck, science has even found that we tend to marry people with our similar DNA. Male/female coupling and interactions are dictated by these basics. Yet, men seem to be the ones constantly complaining about it.

There is no reason to wonder why this is. After being indoctrinated into a culture that tells men they deserve access to any woman they desire — well, at least the most desirable woman of the bunch — it is no surprise that a dose of reality is a bit difficult to swallow. After all, for every average dude, shouldn’t there be a gorgeous damsel, like we so often see in the movies? If the “Mall Cop” has Jayma Mays to polish his badge, why shouldn’t an average dude like yourself score with someone equally as hot and out of your “league”? The answer is: that is not reality.

Buuuhhh, you mean this incredibly attractive/smart girl isn’t interested in a romantic relationship with me, because she wants the guy who is as equally attractive/smart as she is!? How unfair!

Yeah, sure, it is unfair that sometimes our feelings of love and attraction aren’t reciprocated — but that’s called life. And the dating scheme, which places certain individuals higher on the hierarchy than others, is perpetuated and participated in by all genders. Men are not complaining that they are being “friend zoned” by women “less desirable” than themselves. The fact is, they too are overlooking tons of women who may be interested in them to pursue other women who simply are not.

If an average woman walked around complaining that she couldn’t find an Idris Alba look-a-like Prince to sweep her off her feet, and out of abject poverty, for a life full of money and private jets and designer clothes, anyone would look at her like she was crazy and unrealistic. Because she is. If large swaths of women rallied around similar sentiments, creating memes and writing articles describing the torture of being “friend zoned,” men would laugh and say, “Well, life isn’t a fairy tale.” Surely, we can then understand why every middle-aged man who resembles Adam Sandler is not entitled to 25-year-old Kate Upton doppelganger — and if he happens to befriend that 25-year-old Kate Upton doppelganger,  and she does not care to have a romantic and/or sexual relationship with him, no matter how “nice” is supposedly may be, that’s totally fine.

Except society tells men it isn’t, and that every woman can be won over or coerced into intimacy. Men are angered and disappointed when faced with the reality that this simply is not true — and often that anger is taken out on women. That anger looks like the emotional abuse of women in public spaces online, and can even take the form of stalking, death threats, assault and, yes, murder. One need not look further than the case of Mary “Unique” Spears who was shot in front of a bar after rejecting a man’s advances or the death of a Queens woman at the hands of a man who slashed her throat when she refused a dinner date.

These “friend zone” complaints may seem playful and simple — and perhaps it is to some. I’m not saying that every guy who complains about being “friend zoned” is going to inflict abuse or violence on the woman who rejected him. But the male narcissism and expectation embedded in the notion is no joke at all and should not be taken lightly or perpetuated. At least not by men who are seeking relationships with caring, autonomous women. Doing so not only undermines women’s emotional and sometimes even physical well-being, but it’s pretty damn immature and childish as well. And guess what? It makes you even less attractive than before.