The Friendzone

A word sure to strike terror into most males with a shred of youth left in them.

For me however, the friendzone was where two of the most important people in my life placed me, and I thank fuck they did. I am not unlucky with women, I have easily exceeded any of either my or anyone else’s expectations of me there. To even start the conversation like that seems like objectifying someone else and that is squarely NOT what this post is about.

This is something that has been bubbling away in the back of my mind for weeks and it is something I’d like to both reason with my younger self on and also say that the zone can keep some of the coolest people in your life – because its not all just about how many girls you shag, it is also about realising that some of those people are going to shape you and you don’t get to fuck them. This is a lesson that you can take one of two ways – either with resentment, like a spoilt child who couldn’t get what they wanted, or with some degree of maturity, and understand why – and that understanding and the subsequent friendship that came of it has been a lesson in how to live life – its not like those two girls were ordinary types – both of them were amazing – both troubled, both stunning, and both very genuine people. I’ve known them both for coming up on 15+ years and when we speak it does feel a little like yesterday we last spoke even though it may have been a year or more. To people who tell me boys and girls can’t just be friends – well, there’s always a chance you’ll get wrecked one night and end up pouncing on each other, but isn’t that half the fun – but its bullshit to think you cant just be friends. I have been stratospherically high with both of those girls, and for some reason, we knew that we’d wreck everything, we may have tried to wreck everything early on, but things put themselves in order and we understood where the lines were.

The Friendzone grates against what most red-blooded males think is the natural order, and yet sometimes those in that zone become the most powerful allies you can have – there is more to life than just a series of shags, and however you end up with that particular spacing between you and then next person, you might want to know how to make it work – there are endless stories of those in this predicament who got drunk and sunk the whole thing for 5 minutes worth of passion – only to find it was hardly as great as you might have thought – I can speak from experience there too. Flip side of that was someone I’d known since we were teenagers invited me over to a party one night, we were never close friends, ended up boning, and we’re BBFs now – I moved away a month later for work, so probably still in the honeymoon phase. When either of us are hungover as dogs, we’ll get on the phone, even though we’re at opposite ends of the planet, and laugh and cry our way back to normality.

I guess some of this depends on the value you place on friends. For me that value is vast – those people are the ones I have spent the best moments of my life with, I would probably take a bullet for and I love more than anything else in the world – excluding my wife and kids – whole separate category there though. My friends are my world, they keep me sane, we can safely go insane, and I know those fuckers will be there as we crawl on our hands and knees back to sanity.

Coming from a distinctly white, middle class background, I decided early on that life was both a combination of what you are allowed to make of it, and the effort you put into it. But a certain thinking outside of the box, a willingness to try new things and not thinking that you are basically bound to one stereotype that you are cast into by virtue of what colour, how much money you have, nor indeed how smart you are. It was never the way I chose friends and partners, I was happy with whatever came along, as long as one key criteria was met. They had to have a zeal for life. There had to be a spark. No spark, and then there was no input from me either. But anyone who rocked up with that spark, no matter who you were, I never found it hard to relate to. Back to the friendzone. There was one particular girl who had that spark in spades, she was an inferno, but like most infernos – get too close and all you’re going to do is get burnt. I recall seeing all the trainwrecks she made, not feeling sorry for them, and happy that I didn’t make a mess of it. It was kindof her and my running joke who she’d burnt this last week. She did churn through them, as one sometimes does when you’re early 20’s.

It doesn’t have to end up in bed. That is one of the great fallacies of the male-female interaction. Sometimes you realise, for whatever reason, its probably best you dont, and sometimes thats good advice, and you end up taking it. Yeah but often not – when do young dudes ever make sensible decisions right?