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The Friend Zone Dilemma

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The Friend Zone Dilemma

You in love, bro? That’s adorable. Personally, I haven’t ever really known love.  (You hear that, Kara? Never in love.) I only bang. Then I consider said bang, use adjectives like “lukewarm” or “neon” or “bouncy” or “flashy” to describe it, and then contemplate my place in the world in reference to that sexual experience. Will love of another human ever bring me happiness? Or will it give me the illusion of fulfillment while simultaneously rotting away at my individualism and confidence? Is love even real, or is it just a mental construct I impose upon someone who generally fits the qualities I desire? Will I always feel like lighting something on fire after orgasming? When will this girl leave? But I digress. You’re in love, let’s get back to that.

She doesn’t love you back. That’s why we’re here. You’re in the “friend zone,” a terrain hairy with traps and missteps and self-doubt. And we know how you got there. You guys shared a study group, or grew up together, or you partnered with them for a weeklong history project. (It’s one of the great ironies of life that the better you get to know a girl in the sober light of day, the harder it is to sleep with her). You got closer, because why not? You became her “friend.” Adorable. And so she asks you advice about guys and what their texts mean. When she touches you, it lacks the tender uncertainty of new love. She asks you for favors that aren’t sexual: “Hey, hold my purse” or “Take this selfie with me” or “Check out this dude’s dick pic. Is it that big or is it the lighting?” More enraging, you know that a “U up?” text from her at 2 o’clock in the morning means some dude has seen parts of her body you’ve only dreamt about. She comes to you and only you for support. You do it, because it means more time. But every act of selflessness buries you deeper into friendship, and shoves your dick further up into your body until you are – literally and figuratively – fucking yourself.

In fact, that’s why she’s around. You’re asexual to her. You provide her the emotional benefit of a boyfriend, with none of the questions or threats of sexuality. You are the net under the trapeze-swing of her one-night stands, dates, and three-week flings. She’ll never be completely alone because she has her charming, funny eunuch waiting patiently to play Jenga and watch “Pitch Perfect.” “Pass the pizza,” she’ll say from her bed, and as you hand it to her from the computer chair, you yell “Tickle bomb!” and launch for her, hoping it will end with slow, emotional, eye-staring sex. “Stop,” she says, “I’m PMS-ing.” You pathetic bastard. No one’s ever tickled their way to sex, and she used the same excuse a week and a half ago. (Do you think anyone has ever even mentioned PMS to George Clooney? That stud still thinks all the blood is from his superhuman dick. Half of it is.)

Is there a way out? Whatever you do, don’t tell her how you feel. That won’t end well. She’s not going to magically and suddenly see the man inside the little boy, and you’ll be instituting an aura of weirdness that only compares to getting caught masturbating by your mom. Ultimately, the goal is either to forget about her or sleep with her. This course of action will accomplish neither, and you’ll spend the rest of the quiet moments of your life remembering the awkwardness, and her face, and you’ll shiver and turn up the car radio. No, friend, the only way out is the way in: to be a friend, but nothing more. Not in the way you’re being a friend right now, but in the way you’re actually a friend. Do you tell your other buddies how good they look dressed up? Do you drop everything at the end of the night to see how they’re doing? Do you masturbate to the Facebook photos of them with their dogs? Do you answer their texts as if you knew they were coming? Are you using the smiley-tongue-out-wink emoji? The more you treat her like one of your guy friends, the more she will see you as a guy. A man, even. A real man, with a real dick, and some very real ideas of how it may be used.

You might fear change. Because change means a chance of rejection. But that’s why you’re here. The “friend zone” was your way of getting close without ever hearing “No.” I mentioned at the beginning of this future-Peabody-award-winning piece that perhaps love is a construct, a play of our imagination. Maybe it’s not, but who knows? Maybe love is the one piece of life that’s uncontrollable, the one non-equation in a cold math universe. But at least what you can construct is the world around it. Change the way you are, and change the way you’re perceived. Or maybe you’d rather do what you’re doing, complaining the whole way about how it’s not working out for you. I don’t feel bad for you. This is a prison cell of your design. You’ll always be a victim, because victims don’t need to take chances. Victims can’t fail spectacularly, because victims choose to fail in small ways, over and over, every day of their miserable lives. But at least they’ll have a cute girl who calls them to help paint an accent wall, right? And every brush stroke will represent another moment of your life ripped away from you because you were too afraid of losing something you never really had in the first place. You complete pussy.

And while you’re finishing up, cleaning the brushes, you’ll say, quietly, one last time, with the weight of your life exhaled on your breath, “Tickle time?” And she’ll say, “Sorry, what was that? I didn’t hear you,” and you’ll say, “Nothing…it was never anything.” Or, there’s another version of this story: you can take back your life. It’s your choice. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll end up attracted to you. And instead of painting her wall, you’ll be drunkenly paint brushing her labia with a semi-erect penis. George Clooney would be proud. Bloody proud.


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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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