A photos from the 1920s of a man leaning in to kiss a woman

That’s What She Said

The “Friend Zone” Is Just an Incel Euphemism

It's time to retire the social concept that objectifies women and encourages stalking and misogyny.

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The Friend Zone, though it doesn’t exist, is always just there. Kind of like that nice guy friend of yours who keeps aggressively lurking in the shadows of your life, waiting for you to give up your dreams and desires and settle for his dull vampire ass. The Friend Zone would love nothing more than for you to dejectedly mumble these vows at your wedding to him, “What can I say? He’s been the Headless Horseman to my Ichabod Crane all along, and it is time for me to finally accept my fate and become Mrs. Headless Horsewoman.” “Noice,” the chunky neck-hole of the Friend Zone whisper-gargles into your ear as you prepare to part with your lovely head that deserves so much better.

Whether marrying the Headless Horseman in our nightmares or succumbing to 36 years of stalking with “I Do!” (or, at least, “Fine, I guess”), the Friend Zone is a trap set for women. It’s nothing more than a sexist construct invented and perpetuated by morons. I am not talking about unrequited love—that is a human condition thing that every living idiot goes through. We should all be sharing s’mores and singing the terrible songs we wrote for Brian when we were 18. We should be bonding over our universal human heartache but we’re not. We’re divided by the pathetic, mythical cones of the Friend Zone and we need to light these cones on fire.

The amount of bro- and internalized-bro literature covering the perils of being trapped in the Friend Zone could fill a library. And that library would smell like hostile, creatine powder egg farts. Honestly, I do not want to step into this library but gosh vomit here we are.

In a classic Friend Zone situashe, an innocent, “nice guy” is tortured and victimized by enduring a woman’s friendship with zero returns. The returns being the sex he believes she owes him for being “nice” and spending time with her. Let us never forget the Nice Guys of Okcupid, they continue to shine their nice guy light and we are so grateful for them! The general advice for avoiding or busting out of the Friend Zone is to stop being nice and start asserting dominance over the woman who is ruining your life by not automatically catering to your physical and emotional needs. One tip is, “Just start touching her and work some sexual jokes into your conversation!” Can you imagine?? Disgusting. Incompetent male manuals, The Pickup Artist and the Art of Charm, offer courses in… sorry, I can’t finish this sentence, I barfed. Here’s the bottom line with this sick shit, the woman who is doing the “Friend Zoning” or in her twisted mind, “being a friend to someone,” is either manipulated by false kindness or belligerently intimidated by her “friend” and it’s repulsive. So straight out of the gate, if you choose to participate in the magical thinking that allows the Friend Zone to exist, you choose to admit you believe that a woman has no value other than her sexual currency. To you, a woman is nothing more than a golden vagina on stilts. You pledge your allegiance to the objectification and subjugation of women for the benefit of your dumb ego and your deeply troubled penis. Not chill, my dude!

And if you’re thinking, “Well wait a minute, I am truly a kind guy who is always getting trapped in the Friend Zone. I’m like Duckie from Pretty in Pink! I’m quirky and I wear fun shirts but she never likes me back!” I would say, “Duckie never even told Andie how he felt and then was just ragey and weird to her when she showed interest in someone she was actually attracted to! And I love Duckie and have empathy for him because he was in high school and hadn’t learned how to communicate his feelings but what are you, 39? GET IT TOGETHER, GREG!”

But, scarily, because we’ve allowed the Friend Zone to be a thing, it has now given birth to a lethal subculture-baby and the baby is evil. Like that kid from The Omen, only with an endless supply of guns and self-pity. If the Friend Zone took the elevator down to his mother’s basement, we would find the headquarters of the Incel Rebellion. The basement-HQ of the Incel Rebellion smells like petulance, semen, and Spaghetti O’s. Incels (involuntary celibates) are misogynists who have delved even deeper into the tragic fantasy of the Friend Zone. They have flunked out of the Art of Charm bootcamp. They are “painfully shy” and “loners” and “supreme gentlemen.” They call women cunts, sluts, and femoids. They think the government should pay women to go out with them and that rape should be legalized. They loathe and blame women for depriving them of the sex they feel they are owed. They despise and are baffled by sexually active men who have figured out ways to trick women into having sex with them. This is your Friend Zone on drugs.

We are coming up on the four-year anniversary of the Isla Vista Massacre. The mass shooting in Santa Barbara where a young, self-tormented incel, Elliot Rodger, killed six people and injured fourteen more, with three guns, a knife, and his daddy’s BMW. Elliot was recently given a shoutout by another deranged incel, Alek Minassian, who killed ten and injured fourteen by crashing his van into a sea of pedestrians in Toronto. Moments before he murdered, he posted on Facebook, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

Before Elliot murdered, he posted a manifesto and a retribution video detailing his suffering and the suffering he would cause. There are specifics from this massacre I cannot get out of my head. Maybe it’s because I feel like I know this murderer, because we grew up in the same part of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. I know all the schools he attended. I shopped at the vintage store that was right around the corner from his mother’s house in Canoga Park. He was ashamed of his mother’s house because it wasn’t as nice as his rich dad’s house. Elliot worshipped money and wore expensive clothes and angrily waited for women to notice him and they never did. He blamed women for his entitled, miserable life and decided they needed to be punished. So he got three guns (easily, legally) and brutally killed six people. The specific detail that sometimes keeps me up at night is that he had planned on murdering different women than the ones he ended up killing. He wanted to slaughter the “hottest sorority at UCSB” which he considered to be Alpha Phi. But when he went to the Alpha Phi sorority house and banged on the door, no one answered, so he shot three women who were nearby. The three women were all members of a different sorority, Delta Delta Delta. One woman, Bianca de Kock, survived. But Katherine Cooper and Veronika Weiss died, because he shot them a total of fifteen times. I think what keeps me up at night is that he negged them before he murdered them. He couldn’t get Alpha Phi so he settled for ending the innocent, promising lives of some Tri Delts. Maybe this massacre also stands out because it sparked the #YesAllWomen movement which led to #ShittyGuysBeingShitty (Hi, Chris D’Elia!) about women sharing their experiences about the degrading, dehumanizing garbage we have been forced to put up with since the beginning of time. And now here we are, watching shitty guys be shitty about the #MeToo movement (Hi, Uncle Rick!) while a scumbag kid crashes his van into a bunch of valuable human beings all in the name of misogyny.

I don’t care if you’re “one of the good ones” who “can’t catch a break.” By perpetuating the fragile, sulky Friend Zone narrative, you embolden cowards to blame, resent, and terrorize women for simply existing. So stop it. You can’t park your bullshit in the imaginary realm of Friend Zone just because you feel lonely. Your loneliness isn’t special and women aren’t required to solve or fix your loneliness for you. Women owe you nothing. The world owes you nothing. The Friend Zone has never truly existed, but for the sake of human decency and the safety of human lives, it needs to end.

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