Thinking About the Friend Zone

I was watching That 70’s Show recently because TVLand or whoever started them over from the beginning. Before Eric and Donna got together, Hyde made a pretty serious play for Donna. He even learned how to dance so he could dance with her when they skipped town to go to a disco. Her response? “Shut up and dance.” Here’s what Hyde did:
Kept dancing.
Maintained a respectful distance.
Was happy for his best friend when he got together with her.
Let it go.

What didn’t Hyde do?
Kiss her anyway.
Call her a bitch/tease/whore/slut/dyke/etc.
Tell her how sorry she’d be some day.
Shoot up a women’s studies class.
Keep pestering her in the hopes that she’d change her mind.
Remind her and everyone else what a Nice Guy (TM) he was.
Develop a disturbing and ever-growing hatred of women.

Even though Hyde is considered less than a moral ideal on that show, he was totally cool about the things that matter. Steven Hyde teaches us that you can drink underage, smoke pot, be lazy on occasion, reject the establishment, and come from a trashy family of terrible people–and still be a good person.

The concept of friend-zoning someone is still pretty hilarious to me. I suspect that teens have been subjected to such a glut of stupid romantic comedies and teen sex romp movies that boys think they have some sort of dramatic imperative to “fight for” and “win” the girl of their dreams. If they don’t, they’re either a complete loser or they “gave up too soon.” That’s a shame, because the idea of waiting around until She suddenly sees you as a sex god is about as silly as asking Elon Musk to turn you into Captain America.

I grew up as a fat teenager in the 80’s. Back in the day, the concept of “friend zoning” did not exist. If you liked someone and they didn’t like you that way you were supposed to get the hell over it and move on. Hanging around with them in the hopes that they’d change their mind about you was considered pathetic. Trust me, I know of whence I speak on this. Never, at no time, EVER was the object of your affection considered an asshole for the mere “crime” of not finding you attractive. Why? Because that would be stupid. That’s not how attraction works. And yeah, those unrequited teenage crushes can hurt like hell, I know that too. But your pain doesn’t mean anyone owes you anything.

As far as I’ve seen women never expect someone who doesn’t find them attractive to suddenly do so after they’re nice for a long time or whatever. But somehow, lots of men do. What’s more–these men are often the last ones who would consider dating a fat chick or someone considered not stereotypically beautiful. I’m reminded of the American Dad episode where Francine “lets herself go” to prove that Stan loves her for her true self, and he ends up putting his own eyes out because she’s so ugly to him that he can’t look at her. He says something like ‘Francine, I want a beautiful wife. If marriage was about connection, I’d have married that fat girl I had all those great conversations with.’

This philosophy basically boils down to, “Why don’t any really HOT girls realize that beauty is only skin deep?” Because life is not a beer commercial, you assholes. And hanging around waiting for your “nice” friendship to morph into a sex parade is not what a “nice guy” would do.
It’s what predators do.

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