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“A hole, or the promise of one, is all a woman can offer,” declares man who inexplicably can’t get a date

A chad dog enjoying a hole

By David Futrelle

A polar vortex has descended across much of North America, meaning that many of the readers of this blog — and also me — have been feeling pretty chilly lately. So I thought I would brighten your day, and mine, by sharing some reflections on cross-gender friendships.

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Creepiest “Friend Zone” meme I’ve seen in a long time

Wait, what?

And this is why the notion of the “friend zone” is so damn toxic.

The comment below the meme seems pretty accurate to me, though.

H/T — r/GamerGhazi

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Why The Federalist’s attack on the so-called “Friend Zone” should creep you the hell out

Sweet Valley High is not so sweet when you’re trapped in the Friend Zone

To hear some tell it, there is no crueller torture a woman can inflict upon a man than to be his friend. Because, as the saddest sad men of the internet will happily explain to you at length, men and women can’t really be friends. Any woman who think she has male friends is fooling herself; all her supposed male friends have ulterior motives, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

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Dudes! If you’re friends with a lady, “you’re a vagina,” explains Reddit lady expert


Fellas! Do you have any female friends? Do you hang out with them without having sex?

Well, apparently you’re doing it all wrong, at least according to the world-class relationship expert and Red Pill Redditor Throwaway244555. In a recent post on the Red Pill subreddit, he explained the fundamental rule of male-female friendships, which is that there should be no male-female friendships.

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Bloomingdale’s date rape ad shows why the idea of the “friend zone” is so pernicious

No, Bloomingdales. no.
No, Bloomingdale’s, just no.

If you haven’t already seen this on Twitter, here’s something terrible for you: the image above comes from a catalog for Bloomingdale’s.

Because, apparently, a group of actual human beings sat around a table trying to come up with new ways to sell clothes this holiday season and decided that, really, there was no better way to do that than by conjuring up visions of holiday-themed date rape.

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Check out my interview about the dreaded Friend Zone on Amanda Marcotte's Reality Check Podcast

Like video games, the friend zone is not real.
Like video games, the friend zone is not real.

If you missed my talk at Northwestern on the Friend Zone, and most of you did, I go over a lot of what I said in it in my interview with Amanda Marcotte here. My segment of the podcast starts about 8 minutes in. (The rest of the podcast is interesting, too.)

The one thing missing from the podcast that my talk had was … a gazillion terrible Friend Zone memes to illustrate all my points. So here are a couple of the ones I refer to in the interview.



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I will be giving a talk at Northwestern on Monday on the Mythology of the Friend Zone

The exquisite pain of the Friend Zone.
The exquisite pain of the Friend Zone.

Hey, Chicago readers: If you can make it up to Evanston this Monday, I’ll be giving a talk titled “Escape from the Planet of the Friend Zone,” exploring some of the mythology of this dreaded place. The talk, like my talk two years ago, will be part of Northwestern’s Annual Sex Week, sponsored by the College Feminists. (The talk itself is cosponsored by NU’s Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault.)

It’s at 7 PM in Kresge Hall 4365, which is on the Southern end of campus, near “the rock.” (Here’s a map.) If you’re taking the el, get off at the Foster stop and head east; then a little ways south when you hit campus. I’ll check about parking for non-students and provide details later.

The last time I gave a talk during Northwestern’s Sex Week, some MRAs got a little overexcited and started making up things about what they assumed my talk was about. (They were wrong.) So, just to make clear: I will not be teaching impressionable college students “how to have good sex,” except insofar as I will be talking about how sexist and self-defeating the concept of the Friend Zone is, which means it’s possible that some dude could attend the lecture and decide to stop whining about getting stuck in the Friend Zone, and thus improve his romantic and sexual prospects with that one simple step.

I haven’t finished writing the talk yet, so if any of you have any thoughts on the Friend Zone — or the closely related topic of the “nice guy” — let me know in the comments below.

I’m also curious about what role the concept of the Friend Zone plays in your everyday lives, so I’m going to spit out a bunch of questions that I may address in the talk and may ask the students as well. I’d be interested in your answers.

Have you ever been put in a situation that you or other people might describe as the Friend Zone? Whose fault do you think it was? Have you ever been accused of putting someone else in the Friend Zone? Did you find this insulting? Has someone else, through their own obsequiousness, put themselves in the Friend Zone with you?

Is the Friend Zone a male thing or are there a significant number of women and girls who find themselves friendzoned as well?

Does the notion of the Friend Zone grow out of male entitlement? Is it a fundamentally manipulative to try to pressure a woman into romance and sex? Or does it grow out of male awkwardness — the inherently difficult situation of shy or perhaps socially awkward guys who are still nonetheless expected to be the ones who pursue women rather than the other way around, as MRA types might argue?

When did the term start getting used? The concept is certainly not new, but I don’t think the term is that old. When did you all first start hearing it?

How can guys (or gals) get out of the Friend Zone?

Can a Friend Zone situation — by which I mean one in which one person is romantically interested and the other isn’t — be transformed into a real friendship, or will the different feelings/expectations of the two people make this impossible?

Alternately, can a Friend Zone situation turn into a real romance?

Is the Friend Zone really a useful concept at all? There are very few relationships — platonic, romantic or purely sexual — in which each partner feels the exact same way about the other. There are mismatches all the time. Shouldn’t we just learn to roll with it? Maybe the answer to the old When Harry Met Sally question — can a man be friends with a woman he’s attracted to? — is, “why the hell not?”


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Warren Farrell warns fellas to watch out for the “Repair Friend” Zone

Ladies! Look only at the picture of this sexy, sexy Alpha duck and do not read the post below.
Ladies! Look only at the picture of this sexy Alpha duck and do not read the post below.

Hey fellas! While we’re talking about the evils of the Friend Zone and possible legal sanctions against the women who so often and so maliciously put us there — and while the women are distracted by that picture of Scrooge McDuck above — I’d like to warn you of another kind of Friend Zone you need to be wary of: the “Repair Friend” Zone.

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Men’s Rights Redditor: Watch out ladies, or we’ll make Friend Zoning illegal!


So the Men’s Rightsers over on Reddit are getting worked up over the evils of women “friend zoning” men, and one especially angry fellow by the name of andreipmbcn has a warning for the ladies: if they don’t watch themselves, the men’s rights movement might just rise up and make friend zoning illegal:


What this means is not exactly clear to me. Would women actually be required to have sex with all men who are aggressively “nice” towards them? Who knows. But judging from the dozens of upvotes andre’s comment got, Reddit MRAs like the sound of it.

(Thanks to Cloudiah for pointing me to this lovely comment.)