The Friendzone is Bullshit!

Body language matters and the friendzone is bullshit!

I have toyed with a post explaining why I believe the word friendzone is bullshit for over 5 years.  I have outlines, ideas, and just random thoughts peppering my work in progress document and nothing I wrote ever could quite get past the whole “I don’t like the label and it’s implications”.  Until recently, I felt writing this post would be irresponsible and give people the wrong impression about me (by that I mean, I didn’t want men who felt they were in the friendzone to start pushing boundaries). But I write this now because there is something bubbling beneath the surface of the word that I think needs to be addressed here.  With a few beers in me, I wrote this in reply to a comment on my Predators blog post: I have tried numerous times to write a post on the friendzone, however I stop myself in light of this very context. Until there is a clear understanding of consent, and boundaries, there are certain men that should just stay believing in the friendzone for the sake of the women they are in essence pushing boundaries with…. OK, maybe this should turn into a post.

Any guesses where I am going with this yet?  The friendzone is a word, that I have always felt, was a copout.  We use it to place a person who we may or make not actually like, but definitely do not want anything physical to happen with (at that particular moment).  And as we are still trying to figure out what role they play in our lives, we relegate them into this so called “friendzone”.  The implications of that zone, are that the person will take the hint, and therefor understand that they are to stop being flirty, or expect that the person who placed them there will ever sleep with them.  Basically, it’s code for “just give up already”. 

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So, there are two parts that I will touch on here to explain why I think the friendzone is bullshit

The first, is why do we allow, or even encourage people to place labels like this on other human beings.  It’s often cruel.  If a person likes you, man up, and have the conversation that says you are tired of them doing such and such behaviour, and would like it to stop for the friendship to continue.  Then set a clear expectation, for example, this is what will happen if you don’t.  Off the top of my head you could threaten that the friendship will be over if they continue to push your boundaries.  Of you could simply state where you are at in the moment and call out the persons bad behaviour as it happens.

Perhaps you would like an example from my colourful past?  Ok, here is a little story time…Once upon a time when I was in a long term monogamous relationship, I had a friend who would constantly try to buy me drinks, text me cute pet names, and when he got drunk he would meow at me.  I really appreciated all the free stuff I was getting, and when we texted it was playful, it was fun, and quite flattering being on someone’s mind like that.  However, when he got drunk, he repeatedly tried to cross the line, would hold his hugs just a little too long, and the weird meowing turned into this creepy cat-like howl. To be clear I had zero attraction for him, and was in a completely monogamous relationship that he was fully aware of.  He was a teddy bear in the day time with whom I always hugged when I saw him, was a great listener, and overall I loved the boost he gave my ego.  So, I, without realizing it, was letting him ride in that weird friendzone territory, while I sorted out my feelings and tried to rationalize where he was in my life. 

But then, I grew up.  Ok, the truth was, I got sick and tired of his drunken behaviour and watched it start to spill into our sober text messages.  So, I gave him a choice.  Either stop crossing the line with me when you’re drunk and allow me to trust you 100% of the time, or you will not be in my life.  And guess what?  After two strikes, he was no longer in my life.  I won’t lie, I missed the attention, but ultimately, the ego boost just wasn’t worth having someone like that in my life.

Ok, so now let’s talk about the other side of it.  Why people find themselves in the friendzone.  I’m not going to mince words here, if you have ever found yourself in the friendzone it is because you do not have the social skills to handle the situation that you are in and you are the problem.  See what I did there?  I told you what was wrong in a direct manor.  Let me explain, if you’re sitting there, shell shocked, or feeling like you want to start defending yourself, take pause and hear me out.  If you are attracted to someone, and the feelings are not returned in the same manor that you are wishing they would, there are a few things going on.  First, you have picked a target way out of your league and you are either too shy, under confident, or socially awkward to overcome that hurdle so you tell yourself, just being close to this person is enough.  Guess what? It’s not, it’s weird, and you need to start learning how to build your confidence. 

Second, you have this person in your life who keeps telling you no, but you have decided, that they are wrong, and you are going to keep trying.  Guess what?  That makes you an asshole and you have violated the whole consent thing.  Maybe this person is just being too nice, doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, or is just genuinely trying to figure things out.  That shouldn’t matter to you though. If you hear the word no, it’s time to back off immediately.  Perhaps they will miss you, and come around.  Or more likely, they will realize their gut was right, and they just were one of those genuinely amazing souls who are nice to everyone, and are so relieved that they don’t have to feel awkward around you anymore.  Either way, respect the word no, and back off!

The friendzone is not healthy, for anyone.  The friendzone is a bullshit place to be, and equally to put someone in while you figure things out.  I propose that we remove this silly label from our vocabulary and start actually communicating with people.  You don’t have to use black and white labels.  We are blessed with a whole range of words, body language, and clear methods of expressing ourselves.  So, start building those skills.  And did you know that you can always change your mind about a person too?  If you tell a person you aren’t into them, and then realize you were wrong you can go and talk to them and share your feelings?  Crazy, I know!  But it’s far better than playing this whole in the friendzone, out of the friendzone charade.  So take these new and improved communication skills you have learned here, and go have meaningful conversations with people you like.  And always remember, if they say no, for the love of everything, respect that, and do NOT keep trying!

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The Question on Everyone’s Mind “How Should Men Behave?”

This time last year I wrote about An Unbalanced Gender Culture, and how things were rapidly coming to a head (which I encourage you to read before continuing), with regards to uncertainty within our standard gender roles and how we relate to each other.  I have been blogging and tweeting about Baby It’s Cold Outside and the #MeToo movement with concern about what effect this is having on our perceptions.  And the problem being that we are ignoring the underlying issue about the roles changing between men and women, and more importantly how we are perceiving these changes.  And this is bringing up a multitude of questions, including, “where is the new line?”

Just yesterday, I was bartending, and one of my regulars told me with sincerity, that he no longer knows how to talk to women because of the #MeToo movement.  The last thing he wants to do is offend anyone, but the reality is, he is a newly divorced 50 year old man, and he wants to get out dating and flirting again, but the old ways don’t seem acceptable anymore.  He is completely open to changing his ways, but he also feels too old to walk on eggshells and not be authentic or truthful.  I think his challenges are completely relatable to almost everyone.  The world is changing, and what’s super scary is that we are trying to go back in time and retroactively punish people, media, etc with our currently unclear new world view.

Now let me be clear here, that this statement is not meant to scold the brave women for standing up against Weinstein or any rapist or abuser.  That, I need to be clear going forward, has always been wrong, and will continue to be wrong.  That isn’t hindsight.  That is bravery on the part of these women for finding the courage to say something, even years later.  There is a very clear difference between knowing something is wrong, or that gut wrenching action that made you feel horrible at the time, and what I am discussing here with regards to using todays new cloudy lens then seeking out situations from our past that, probably would not be acceptable by todays standards.  This is the key problem we are currently facing, we are focusing on digging up past situations instead of finding solutions for the current world view or thinking about what we want our future to look like.

So, with that in mind, let’s ask the question, how should men today, flirt and interact with women that they are interested in?  Where is the new line between coy, flirty and fun, versus rude, crude and inappropriate?  The answer, and I am really, really sorry about this, but… there isn’t one.  This is a grey area.  We do not have a solution yet.  So far, we can all agree that we have to start listening to the word no, and further we have to start using the word no in a more responsible and in a firm manor.  It cannot be said with a playful or coy intonation, and whenever used in that context it has to be taken at face value (precisely the reason why Baby It’s Cold Outside cannot be viewed with today’s new standards, no was used in a playful manor).  But aside from that, I struggle to find any other all encompassing rule that can help guide us in a sex positive behavioural direction.  Or in a less wordy way, to help us all get our flirt on and feel good about ourselves later.  Things remain really fuzzy and this is why I suggest we start with the simplest question first, where is your line?

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I know where my lines and limits are, and just to give you a little insight or help point you in the right direction I will share or overshare as is often the case; I don’t enjoy flirting with strangers.  I like getting to know someone, and them in turn getting to know me.  Even just a coffee or two in a completely platonic way helps bring my guard down.  After that, flirting becomes fun and an enjoyable action, and I feel free to make dirty jokes, touch, and even drive things towards a much more physical setting.  So for this reason, online dating has never been an effective way to date.  Instead, it’s a way to find someone for a first meeting and then go from there.  I just don’t get off flirting or sexting with strangers.  And this is only an example of what works for me.  This insight will not work for every person out there, not even close.  As there are many women who won’t waste their time meeting someone if they haven’t been told they are attractive or have caught the eye of a stranger.  Expressing desire goes a long way for many, hell it even goes a long way for me, but again, never in an opening message or before an in person conversation (again just my opinion and will not work for everyone which is why I am asking you where your own line is).

My earnest hope in you reading or listening to this post is that you take a little comfort in knowing you are not alone.  And that you don’t give up, or go to the other extreme, which I hope I don’t need to spell out here.  We will find a solution, and we will get out of this grey area together.  Flirting will be fun again!  Mistakes will once again be allowed to be made without witch hunts, and we will again find the humanity in our sexuality, and even our sensuality.  It will just take time, education, asking tough questions and of course accepting a few more stumbles and growing pains.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside and the #MeToo Movement

I had planned for my first post of December to be light. fluffy, and super fun.  I even created my very own #reindeerBoob (which you can see a sneak peak of on my Patreon) and was going to babble about my thoughts on this internet sensation, however, this post is much more important than my little bit of fun.  For you see, this morning I woke up to the news that various radio stations are banning a song (Baby It’s Cold Outside), and calling it a step forward in the fight for the #metoo movement.  And quite frankly, that is bullshit.  There is zero place for censorship!

In 1990, 2 Live Crew was arrested after performing a banned song with very sexually graphic and violent lyrics.  This began a trial that was ultimately going to determine the fate of an artists freedom of speech.  Spoiler alert, musicians won, and freedom of expression and speech were protected.  And here we sit, 28 years later, banning music, yet again to protect our little sensitivities.  Have we really learned nothing?  Why do we have to keep making the same mistakes over and over again to only end up in the same place?  This is the definition of insanity.  It’s time to wake up and stop banning things just because you don’t like them.  Censorship never has the intended effect, EVER!

I absolutely think the #MeToo movement is valuable and woke a lot of people up to a major problem in our society.  It made the word consent meaningful.  It began conversations with peers and parents alike about what we can do in our social circles, and how we can better raise the next generation.  Conversations and education are the most precious things we have at the moment to move forward as a society with awareness and compassion alike.  I fully support using the hashtag #MeToo to spread awareness of facts.  What I have an intense problem with, is when groups of people rally together to start banning music, books, media, etc in the name of social change, and in this case a hashtag.  For the past couple of years, people have been rallying to ban Baby It’s Cold Outside.  And when that didn’t work, they even tried to change the lyrics to a more socially aware little ditty.  And now they are just outright pulling it from public airwaves, siting a movement that quite frankly has nothing to do with the song.

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And before you ask me, have I even heard the lyrics, yes, yes I have.  And as I write this, I have the original on in the background with a man singing it to keep his lady friend from going home, and the very funny flip of a woman singing it to keep her man from leaving.  It was written to be sung, with the irony of how a man and women singing the same lyrics would be perceived, in a comedic setting.  Light hearted fun, fit for the times, and with such a beautiful melody, it has been recorded countless times over the years with people eager to give their try as this catchy duet.  Now if you read the lyrics, with zero context and get to the line where the singer says “no” it is firm and playfully ignored.  And I would be a fool to say that this is not a huge problem in our current society.  It absolutely is, no, should always be no.  But I ask you this, what can possibly be gained by banning this song and just removing it from our musical archives?  If you guessed nothing, you would be absolutely right.  And what can be gained from having a conversation about why that part of the song is so offensive and off putting, oh that’s right, EVERYTHING!

We have an opportunity here to educate and change the perspective of people going forward.  We do this by having dialogue and debate.  We talk about what offends us and we work to improve things.  We do not just sweep things under the rug and hope they will go away, because we all know that doesn’t work.  So please, let’s not go back in time, banning music that doesn’t suit out delicate constitutions. Instead, choose to listen or turn it off.  Talk about what we can do to make more socially aware changes in your own life.  And finally, if you have ever thought about blaming a song for you being socially inept and ignoring the word no in your own life, please, sort that shit out, because you are the problem, not the song.

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Predators in Direct and Private Messages

DM Sliders and Exploiting a Female Vulnerability

Yesterday I tweeted this:

So this is pretty f’d up. Everytime I post something emotional or show I’m vulnerable or struggling my DM’s explode with sliders. Men…stop fucking doing this! Your dick doesn’t look more appealing to me when I’m crying! And it’s not an invitation to get off on my sadness! by K_ghislaine

And I am astounded by the response I received from it.  In fact, I have to say that this has been my most influential post to date, far exceeding the occasional cleavage or sexy picture.  And that tells me that this topic requires more discussion.  Especially after I received a message from a guy who was genuinely shocked I posted this, and asked what men are even allowed to do or say in this #metoo charged environment.  He honestly felt that no interaction was safe anymore and was feeling stifled by the recent changes in response from women.

Ok, let’s talk about this.  9 or so years ago, I was seduced by a private message.  And it was so hot!  Within a few hours of the initial message, this guy was on my doorstep for what was to become a very regular and incredible booty call buddy.  He opened with a sexy tease, I responded in kind, and the flirtation ramped up exceedingly quickly.  He was the first guy who randomly messaged me and was in my bed that day.  Totally success case, and an inspiration to men everywhere right?  But here’s the thing, that’s not the whole story.  There were a few key things that occurred prior to this message that ensured its success for the both of us.

First, we were already friends.  Yup, that whole friendzone thing is bullshit in my opinion and maybe I will touch on that in a future post.  For now though, we had established a bit of a rapport and some trust.  To be clear, we had never flirted previously, we were truly, just friends.  Second thing that happened, I posted online that I was lonely and looking to have a little fun.  Yes, that’s right, I playfully put my intentions out there, I opened the door to have someone on my friends list message me, and take the bait.  I gave consent and permission to be flirted with using my words.  I used more than just a sexy picture (are you seeing a pattern forming yet?).  And thirdly, he was a emotionally stable and mature man, who was playful and listened to all my boundaries without any push-back or manipulation.  It was a fully consensual pairing that turned into something incredibly hot and satisfying.  And looking back, this was actually more like a 1 in 100 success rate for me, perhaps even closer to 1 in 1000.

With that story in mind, let’s get back to my tweet that started this post.  I have been struggling as of late with where I want my future career to take me.  And it sometimes feels good to just vent a little, especially on twitter because I really appreciate all the people that I interact with, and their perspectives.  I feel better just putting some words out into the universe.  It helps focus me, and well, it’s why I blog.  So on Sunday, I did just that, I wrote a little tweet stating that I was having a rough time, and I was hopeful that Monday would be better.  And publicly, there was a lot of love.  But privately, some men showed their disturbing colours.  And it sucked having my vulnerability preyed on like that.  And I do not want to mince words here, what those two men specifically did was predatory.  Offering me a kind ear, getting me smiling and then rapidly ramping up their sexual intentions without any warning or any previous DM history.  And I, like so many women who responded to my tweet were outraged.  Doing that, is NOT OK.

And guess what?  We as past victims, are onto you.  We are onto you all!  Being empathetic or sympathetic does not give you the right to proceed with your ulterior motives.  That is not consent on our parts, and we are tired of feeling weak for showing our emotional vulnerabilities and getting sexually propositioned as a result.  If I want sexual interaction I will ask for it.  And crying is not asking for it by any insane stretch of the imagination.

That being said, let me get back to the guys concern that he no longer knows how to treat women. To that, I say good.  Stop what you’ve always done in the past, and listen to the women you approach.  Watch their body language, listen to their words and ask for feedback.  Do better as a whole.  If you have always had positive “hell yes I want to sleep with you” or “OMG I love when you touch me” then guess what, what you’re doing is most likely amazing.  But, if you have ever felt a lukewarm reception to your advances, or heard the word no, or even just uncertainty, it’s time to stop and check yourself.  And as I am completely honest, I will fully admit that when I was younger, I never asked permission to touch men or women.  I lived by the assumption that every person I touched would be flattered that a decent looking female was touching them.  But you know what?  I grew up.  I realized that I preferred a fully consensual yes you absolutely can touch me, to the initial shocked and often uncomfortable looks I would get in my early 20’s.  It’s hotter for me not having uncertainty in interaction.  I can be so much more intimate and intense that way.  And guess what?  You can too!

In summary, the jig is up.  We see what you’re doing and do not like it.  The guys who are successful have a backstory that you don’t see.  Approaching a person who is vulnerable with your ulterior motives needs to stop.  And if you’ve ever become turned on by helping someone, or having a girl cry on your shoulder, keep it to yourself.  Show self control and DO NOT try and act on it.  It is not the time, nor the place.  Instead, build up a friendship.  Get to know a wide variety of people in and out of your comfort zone.  Listen, read a book or a blog and get interesting.  Only predators go after people who are weak and vulnerable.  It’s time to break that cycle!

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I Just Wanted to Get Lost in the History of the Victorian Age…[Book Review]


 

So, I decided to read the book “Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners” by Therese Oneill, thinking this would be a welcome change of pace.  And to its credit it is an incredibly well researched and hilarious look at women in the Victorian era.  And you would not be disappointed to pick yourself up a copy of your very own, which I so happen to have a quick link at the bottom of this post to make that decision a little easier (which is an affiliate link of which I will receive a small commission).

Anyways, I spent the first ¾’s of the book delightedly powering though it.  Honestly, one of those cannot put down books, delving into all the questions you never thought to ask yourself about what a woman’s life really was like back then!  And then a big nerve was struck.  The nerve of the moment… consent.  What I found most striking is that our grasp of consent has not differed much since the Victorian Age.

“If they persist, she should tell them in a brief and firm, though polite tone, that she desires to be left to herself.  If a man follow[s] her in silence, she should pretend not to perceive him, and at the same time, hasten a little in her step”.

The above quotation is the standard education that women were receiving if they ventured out of the house and a male approached them.  Be polite, brief, but firm.  And if that doesn’t work, walk a little quicker!  And the thing is, during that day and age, if the man didn’t take the hint, you were basically screwed, quite literally!

I mean, on the one hand, at least women were taught to say no or at least how to if the need arose.  On the other hand, this obviously was not an effective strategy and relied heavily on the breeding of the male on the receiving end.  And yet many women still employ the exact same tactic today.  In fact, I myself was taught this very thing!  I was not educated in the world of no means no.  There was instead a significant amount of emphasis placed on how I was perceived by my friends and peers, rather than what I wanted.  I recall quite clearly the few times I displayed any characteristics that were aggressive or unbecoming of a lady because I would be met with a swift slap across my face.  And that hurts!  So, I would resist toeing the line of an unbecoming nature.  I remained calm, pleasant, and never publicly assertive.

And you know what else has not died with the Victorian Era?  The idea that if women dressed provocatively that is was their own damn fault.  Especially if they were mistaken for an easy target or tricked into the white slave trade also known as prostitution.  That’s right, even though today we know we are all human beings under the law, there are still men and some women, who will state that if you look like a harlot you kinda deserve what you get.  In the Victorian era you could not show legs, or even ankles because you were basically asking to get raped.  And while the modern woman is free to wear what she dares, if push came to shove, you may well be accused of asking for it.  Because again, woman are taught such things as modesty and how to attract a spouse, but no mention is made on how men are to respond or reciprocate in kind.  Boys will be boys after all!

Let’s see here, we still practice polite often subtle “no’s” and we still get judged for how we dress.  Perfect!  And here I thought that we were evolving and had bridged a huge gap towards equality!

Aside from the few points that made me feel like I was still an uneducated prisoner of the Victorian era this was a remarkably funny and amazing book which I highly recommend.  So, grab a copy and please share your thoughts with me on it in the comments section when you’re done!