Friendzone is Derogatory?

Friendzone WhedonAs of this morning at 6:33 Central Time Joss Whedon’s tweet about retiring the term Friendzone has nearly 10,000 retweets, 7,000 favorites, and is fast making its way through Facebook. I know I’m out of touch. I’m 50 and I’ve never been much, or at all, a ladies man but I don’t see why this is offensive.

Friendzone refers to, as far as I know, the person on the wrong side of an unrequited love relationship in which the parties remain on friendly terms despite the lack of romance. According to the comments I’m reading on Facebook it seems to somehow either mean a woman who is cruel for withholding sex or a wimpy man who can’t somehow woo a woman into having sex with him. It’s not the way I use the term or have ever heard anyone use the term but what do I know? I’m old and out of touch, or did I already say that? The memory isn’t what it used to be.

While I say I’m out of touch I am well-acquainted of the friendzone. There have been plenty of times I was attracted to a woman who wasn’t interested in me in a romantic way but enjoyed my company. Admittedly the number of women who weren’t interested in me in a romantic way and likewise weren’t interested in my company is a greater number but I’m nevertheless acquainted with the the idea.

I think it’s a pretty common zone from among all the zones. There’s the Relationship Zone when both parties are interested in one another, the Restraining Order Zone when one party is a little too eagerly interested in the other party who is not at all interested, there is the Bitch/Ass Zone where both parties dislike each other intensely which can, surprisingly, move to the relationship zone with astonishing speed, and there is the Who Are You Zone where one party has no idea who the other party is and that there was sexual interest at all. These are the dynamics of human relationships. It’s been going on for at least as long as I’ve been around and judging by books and movies, a lot longer.

So I ask, Joss, what’s the big deal? Why do we have to retire a term that pretty clearly describes the situation. “I’m in the Friendzone,” says I like her/him in a romantic way but they are not interested in me as anything other than a friend. Do we have to create a new term because, apparently, some people have turned the word into something else; not that I’ve ever heard it used in the way Whedon describes.

Maybe it’s a Hollywood thing. Maybe it’s a cool-kid thing, of which I’d clearly not have heard. I’m mystified not only by Whedon’s declaration but by those who seem to support it in ever-growing numbers.

Did I mention I’m old and out of touch?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
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