Mmmm, Candy Hearts 7

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And now, for a candy munching, romance crunching edition of…


There’s no such thing as the “friend zone”!

It’s called… she’s just not into you romantically/sexually, but you can’t accept that, so you instead misogynistically pathologize it.

It’s the idea that a girl who to chooses to remain platonic friends with a guy has put him in the supposedly dreaded “friend zone”, but he doesn’t want to be her friend because he wants to be her boyfriend, and he hates it oh so much when she dates some other guy or expresses dissatisfaction with said other guy or with prospective romantic partners in general, because how dare she say that when she turned him down!

Come off it. Seriously, girls, just like guys, are just into someone that way right now or not. It’s not more complicated than that. There are no special “zones”. Nor is there something about being someone’s friend that kills the possibility of it being something else later (though that of course depends on the people involved).

We’ve all heard it. The self-proclaimed “nice guy” can’t understand why a girl he’s interested in isn’t interested in him. So instead of just, you know, accepting that it’s not going to happen and moving on with his life, he assumes she’s the one who has some “female problem” and that’s the real reason she’s not into him. Because why else would she turn down such a Nice Guy like you?

But wait, there’s more!

Bundled with this “nice guys get put into the friend zone” myth comes the “why do all girls want to date assholes?”. You see, the idea is that girls are attracted only to guys who are total jerks and not attracted to guys who aren’t. Lord knows just about every sitcom and other corner of pop culture likes to peddle this meme, and plenty of people I know seem to believe it, though they claim this is something they learned from real life. Uh huh. Or even whenever someone posts a list online of skills girls should have or the like, some people will pipe up with “they should learn how to tell which guys are assholes/douchebags”.

Okay, that’s enough. Let’s rip apart this ridiculous bullshit now.

First off, whenever you hear a guy lamenting that girls just want to date jerks, consider the source. It’s almost always a guy whom some girl just turned down and/or said girl is now dating some other guy. Um… of course he’s going to think that other guy is a jerk! And of course he’s going to think of himself as an angel. No guy identifies as the “jerk” in these situations. And the other guy could be the second coming of Jesus and you’ll still assume he’s a dick who treats the girl like shit… because she’s not with YOU. This isn’t some “great truth about women”. This is just… some asshole (who thinks he’s a nice guy) can’t get over himself and just accept that sometimes people you’re into aren’t into you and is whining about it.

Second of all, guys don’t just fall into one of two neat little categories of “nice guy” and “asshole”. For one, everyone has a different definition for these terms and how a particular guy might identify as either. I was having a conversation about this with someone a while back, and we were both using the term “nice guy” until well into the conversation we realized we each had completely different definitions of “nice guy” (and proceeded to argue over whose was “right”). But even so… all guys are both! All people, regardless of gender, are sometimes assholes and sometimes nice (plus, you know, a zillion other characteristics humans can have). If the girl you want is with some guy, sooner or later, yeah, he will do something that makes him seem like a total jerk. And you’ll use this as proof that he’s a jerk and therefore wrong for her and that she should be with you. Except… sooner or later, you’d be a jerk to her, too! And that other guy would be like “I’m such a nice guy, why did she leave me for that asshole?” OMG PARADOX!

Thirdly, you simply are not seeing the whole picture. Why is she with him and not you? Oh, lots of reasons. Reasons that are her own, based on compatibility, attraction, and lots else. Reasons completely different from those of any other girl (or guy for that matter). Just like you have your own reasons for being into her yet perhaps completely ignoring any others girls who probably do like you. This is where things are complicated, but what to do about it isn’t complicated and still boils down to… she’s not into you, it’s nobody’s fault, get over yourself, move on.

But all that is seemingly harmless lamentations due to heartache, which is understandable really. Yet what all this implies, especially as this is a widespread trope, is much more problematic. The bottom line in the whole “girls snub the nice guys and want to date jerks” is basically “girls are inherently incapable of making sound relationship decisions”. It’s often taken a step further, assuming that girls’ supposedly universal attraction to bad guys means they actually LIKE being treated like shit by their boyfriends and husbands, even though “they always say they want nice guys but not really LOLOLOL”.

So let me get this straight. You’re this great wonderful Nice Guy… yet you’re promoting a worldview that essentially says the female object of your desire (and perhaps everyone female) is hopelessly unable ever to make the right choices about guys, that her choices are wrong because YOU decide they are wrong despite having significantly less insight into the situation than she does, and that – get this! – the way to a girl’s heart is to abuse her!

Yes, let me state that one again. The people claiming All Girls are attracted guys who are jerks to them are basically saying that the way to get and keep a relationship with a girl is to degrade, insult, and otherwise mistreat and abuse her. This is being touted as actual dating advice, and very very seldom do any of these people stop to think about what they are saying. They are promoting domestic and intimate partner abuse and even violence. They are telling guys this is the way to maintain a relationship. Because “oh noes, if you’re nice to a girl, she’ll leave you for some jerk because jerks are what she REALLY likes!” I mean, do you really not get how DANGEROUS this is?!

And what of the girls who have to hear this message all the time? That any choice of intimate partner she makes is wrong, that that person is a jerk and she’s snubbing some nice guy for him, that her reasons for this choice are delusional. This is one big widespread form of gaslighting, meant to break down someone’s self-confidence by convincing them they are unsound or crazy, for the purpose of controlling them. And when self-confidence is so broken down that you’re doubting your own intuition and rationality, it can lead to thoughts like “well, he’s constantly insulting me and slaps me sometimes, but I must just be overreacting, he’s really nice and I should be grateful, I think I’ll buy him a present!”

So I’m not saying girls like that don’t exist, but it’s a result of constant social conditioning that her own thoughts and feelings are invalid or false. Does that happen to every girl? Not by a long shot. And certainly not in the same exact ways. But don’t let the point there be lost on you. It’s not so much “she likes being treated like crap” as “she’s been told over and over and over that her ability to sense when she’s being treated like crap is broken and it’s so unfair for her to turn down a nice guy, and his feelings are more important and rational than hers, so if she senses he’s being a jerk, she’s most likely wrong and should suck it up because she’s overreacting”. Next time you’re complaining that a girl is only attracted to guys who treat her like crap, pretending for the moment this is an accurate assessment of said girl… YOU MADE HER THAT WAY, ASSHOLE!!!

Yes, sometimes people, of any gender and any sexual orientation, get into relationships with those who aren’t right for them and probably downright hostile. But pathologizing and calling these people stupid or deluded doesn’t help them or anyone else in their situation. You know what they need in those times? A friend. A friend who is genuinely happy to be their friend rather than just being resentful they aren’t fucking you. A friend who recognizes that being a platonic friend is not a slight but just another form of loving affectionate relationship with a person. A friend who respects the choices they make in life are their own and is willing to help them in times of need, rather than feeling the need to butt into their business or resent them for their choices because those aren’t the choices you think they should be making. Hell, be the true friend you’re so sure their significant other isn’t. But, of course, don’t be this guy. 😉

Of course, you know who always loves you? Candy hearts!

*munches candy hearts*

Tasty AND constantly telling me I’m awesome. Yay! 😛

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