Here’s an evergreen statement for you: I’m not an intellectual person but I am trying. You see, up until this past election, I never visited websites daily like CNN, Reuters, AP, NYT, PolitiFact, Washington Post, even Snopes like I do now. And in an effort to get a comprehensive view on the current political climate, I’ll venture beyond the fray to see what the other side is saying, which is what brought me to The Federalist today. From my first impression, I had to ask my colleagues if it was a satirical site based on the following:
Nope. It’s not. From what I was told and now able to glean, The Federalist tends to be fairly reasonable when it comes to policy explanation, but somewhat tone deaf when it comes to culture. It basically becomes what Mike Pence would write about if he had a blog.
At any rate, The Federalist columnist Hans Fiene, who is a Lutheran pastor in Illinois, decided to solve the national “we’re not making enough babies” emergency.
Perhaps I’m overstating the danger a bit, but the point remains: Americans need to raise our sagging birth rates. One of the best ways we can do so is by reversing the trend of Americans waiting longer to get married. So, apart from tearing down America’s institutions of higher education, which tend to slow down the recitation of wedding vows, how do we do that? It’s quite simple. We tear down the Friend Zone.
All right, dummy. Game on. It’s taking every ounce of sanity I have not to just post Fiene’s article in its entirety followed by a bunch of gifs just giving him the finger, so I’ll post excerpts. Additionally, because he is a man of the cloth, I’ll try not to call him expletives, but I make no promises.
Every year, countless young men find themselves trapped in the Friend Zone, a prison where women place any man they deem worthy of their time but not their hearts, men they’d love to have dinner with but, for whatever reason, don’t want to kiss goodnight.
First off, the Friend Zone is not real. Much like Pandora, The Upside Down, Narnia, and Heaven, it’s all figments of your goddamned imagination. As far as I can tell, the only people perpetuating the existence of a Friend Zone are dudes who don’t know when to cut their losses and put the kibosh on a friendship or relationship when the other party isn’t interested. The Friend Zone is a construct of your own insecurities. This isn’t on us, pal. So let’s not get all sanctimonious just yet.
Quite simply, for the sake of our future, the Friend Zone must be destroyed. (with all the people who say they’re in it, too? pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease) For the Friend Zone to be destroyed, women must accept the following truths: you don’t have any guy friends and, in fact, you can’t have any guy friends.
Many women would argue that some of their best and closest friends are men. For many of us, sexual attraction has never played into the relationship — not at the inception of it and certainly not now. BUT HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? By the tone of this article, it would be safe to surmise that there’s a duality when it comes to defining friendship. By the conservative definition, it would seem that by making every interaction between the genders about sex or not, conservatives think friends can only exist on those two planes, if at all. Religious conservatives especially have been taught to some degree that any sexual thought or attraction is a sin — that consideration in and of itself is as bad as the action. The idea that all friendships are transactional by conservative standards is kind of gross, too.
Case in point:
By “friends,” I don’t mean acquaintances or chummy colleagues you only see at work, or friends of friends that you don’t get together with outside of a group setting, or what I call buffer-zone friends—people of the opposite sex you can be friends with because there is a significant other in between to take the romantic element out of the equation. Rather, by “friend” I mean someone you deliberately choose to spend one-on-one time with.
Likewise, I’m also asserting that a man can’t truly be your friend if he secretly wants to date you. Virtually every man who meets the one-on-one qualification does, in fact, want to date you. To understand why, it helps to look at things from an economic perspective.
What then, is the average man looking for in a friend? By and large, something along these lines:
1. Someone who shares his interest in activities such as watching movies where things explode, playing video games where things explode, or putting fireworks in things so they’ll explode. Bonus points if you enjoy yelling at football players through the television set and laughing at noxious flatulence.
2. Someone who won’t pressure him to open up beyond his comfort level if his girlfriend breaks up with him, he loses his job, or his mom gets eaten by a yeti.
3. Someone who cherishes the man tradition of showing affection through insults and general jackassery.
If you are a lady who believes your dude friends are genuinely “just friends,” ask yourself this: Which of these things are you better at giving a man than another man is?
I can answer that: perspective. Also, I’m fucking delightful. Carry on, ya lemon.
The answer is clear. None of them. You are not especially good at liking “Karate Ninja 7: Exploding Hands of Fury,” or informing the offensive line of the Chicago Bears, via your Samsung, that they are all false starting idiots.
When a guy is comfortable within the borders of Emotional-Repression-ville, you’re not great at letting him stay there. When he makes you cough and hack by releasing Taco Bell-fueled hell gas in your general direction, you don’t respond by complimenting him on his notable wind-breaking abilities.
If a guy wants to show you how much he values your friendship by calling you turd blossom or making you think you’re going to die in a skydiving accident, you probably won’t take that as a display of tenderness. By and large, you are not very good at supplying the kind of friendship the average man demands.
I’m beginning to think the good ol’ Pastor doesn’t think very highly of men, either now.
There’s Only One Thing You Can Give His Man Friends Can’t If, then, the average male coworker, male neighbor, or male Nepalese yak herder is better at producing masculine companionship, why is an average man giving his business to you? It’s not because he wants your friendship. It’s because he wants to convince you to open up the supply chain of a romantic relationship to him, and he foolishly believes he can do so by being a loyal friendship customer. “Pay my dues in the Friend Zone,” he thinks, “and one day she’ll promote me to boyfriend.”
Just because men don’t want to be your friends, however, doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy your company. They most certainly do. They love discovering how you see the world, what you think about life, the universe, and everything. They love your kindness, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, support, and your nurturing heart. They love being in your presence when you display the wonders of the feminine virtues.
Boobs. He means our boobs.
Take a New Look at Your Best Man Friend Consider your best guy friend. Are you attracted to him? Does he fill you with the biological desire to repopulate the earth? If not, then do your “friend” a solid and let him go. Call him up and tell him, “It’s not my fault that your facial symmetry grosses out my ovaries, but it was my fault that I got your hopes up by putting you in the Friend Zone. As restitution, please accept the phone numbers of five girls I know who find you attractive. Stop wasting your time with me and go hang out with a girl who might one day bear your children.”
This fucking infuriates me. Swap out some of the gender-specific nouns with their opposites. Dudes: are you attracted to your best guy friend? Does he fill you with the biological desire to repopulate the earth? No? Then get rid of him! He is of no use to you.
That’s a shitty argument to make and belittles what I think is a foundation for a friendship, regardless of gender: intimacy. Intimacy in a friendship is a familiarity of sorts. Intimacy in a friendship is going to a person and being completely open with them without judgement. Intimacy between friends isn’t a “do I want to bang them” qualifier.
Conversely, if you find your guy friend attractive, and if you see him as a man of character and heart, then call him right now and tell him that he was placed in the Friend Zone due to a clerical error. Say to him, “You make me laugh and would be a great husband and father. Clearly, you need to be on the express track to the Marriage Zone.”
Don’t worry that he’ll reject you. Just as the vast majority of mythological sailors didn’t want to crash their ships into the rocks when they pursued the beauty of the sirens’ song, he most certainly didn’t want to end up here when he began pursuing your song. Don’t worry that he was genuinely only in this for the friendship. Truth be told, you were never particularly good at offering him that in the first place. But you will be quite good at offering him what God designed you to give him—marital bliss.
So get brave. Get married. Get pregnant a bunch of times and give birth to a bunch of beautiful little future taxpayers.
Get fucked, Fienes.