Friendzoning Out

If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, you’ll know that I generally like to start them with a rambling diatribe of an irrelevant prelude which your eyeballs have to endure before I even get to the point of what the post is about, as if I was desperately trying to peacock my way into a position as a Vice writer (hint: I AM. I love you Vice. Take me. PLEASE. I’d even be willing to move to East London and pretend to hate everything). This time, however, it’s different! I am going to get straight to the point, Or at least, I would have got straight to the point if I didn’t just waste a ton of valuable pixels on writing a self-indulgent explanation of how I wasn’t going to begin this post by writing a self-indulgent explanation of something entirely unrelated to the main subject matter of this post. Shit.

Anyway, so, the concept of ‘The Friend Zone’ is bullshit.

In case you’ve been living in North Korea and haven’t heard of ‘The Friend Zone’, allow me to explain. (If you’re reading this in North Korea, that means my blog, of all things, has somehow managed to belly-crawl past whatever crazy firewalls and Kim-Jong-Sanctioned  freedom-blockers are in place there, which in turn means that the footsteps I just heard outside my flat were probably someone coming to lock me away. Shit).

‘The Friend Zone’ is a common description of the following situation:

Boy meets girl. Boy wants to fuck girl. Boy befriends girl in the hope that this will lead to him getting a chance to fuck her. Girl considers this particular boy to be a friend rather than a potentially sex partner, and tells him so. Or sometimes doesn’t tell him so, but acts in a ‘friendly’ manner around him, rather than a ‘frenzied-nympho-sex-kitten’ way that only exists in porn and Cosmo. Boy complains to fellow Boy Friends about how awful it is that he went to the time and effort of befriending a female only to find out that she didn’t want his dink in her donk. Boy Friends proceed to jeer, laugh, mock, and ultimately, empathise.

This may come as a shock to some people, but it is possible for members of the opposite sex to become friends with one another without sex as a motivating factor. (Notice I say SOME people; thankfully I know a whole lot of people who pay no attention to the whole concept of ‘The Friend Zone’, but I also know there are a whole lot of people who do. Which makes me ‘:(‘. It’s up to you to decide whether my inclusion of an emoticon to describe my feelings towards something was ‘ironic’, relevant, douchey, or otherwise). More specifically, it is possible for a male to decide to befriend a female for reasons other than wanting to put the hot dog in the lady bun (which is another phrase I have ripped directly from the Vice vaults. This blog post reeeeally is kinda ‘beggin’ it’). Because almost inevitably, when the cry of “Mate, you’ve been friendzoned!” rings out, it is in relation to a male’s unsuccessful attempts at transcending the barriers of friendship to get his freak on with a female – rarely, if ever, is it the other way round, in terms of gender. On that note, I feel like I can only really discuss the concept of ‘The Friend Zone’ in relation to hetereosexual relationships, as I have never seen it referenced in relation to relationships outside of this, which is probably because heterosexuality is still generally the dominant paradigm for discussions about sex and relationships, which is another thing that makes me ‘colon open-bracket’.

Anyway, there’s something which really bugs me about the fact that it’s become a normalised and accepted idea that the only possible reason  a male would want to befriend a female is so he can sleep with her. And that in denying him this, the female is somehow ‘the bad guy’, as if she should automatically accept and expect that this is his one and only motivation, and that by entering into a conversation with him, she unknowingly signed some unwritten agreement she was, in fact, interested in sleeping with him, only to later reveal herself to be Such A Bitch by going against this agreement. It just really gets on my metaphorical tits.

For a start, the categories of “friend” and “someone I’m sleeping with” are not mutually exclusive. I have a fair amount of male friends that I have engaged in various degrees of Sex Things with – some that led to relationships, some that were one-offs (or two-offs?), etc etc etc. I guess you could call that the “fuckbuddy zone”, but then that also assumes that by having sex with a friend, the friendship somehow no longer qualifies as ‘just a friendship’, it has to be labelled something different, the boundaries of ‘friendship’ have been irreparably broken, for better or worse. To this I say – “bullshit”. For the most part, I still consider the above mentioned people to be ‘friends’, and as far as I know, this is mutual. (I am potentially opening myself up to some awkward conversations here. Shit).

Another thing is, the idea of ‘The Friend Zone’ must cause a whole lot of hassle for the genuine guys who are befriending women for normal reasons. You know, like, because they actually want to be friends with them. I imagine it must be quite hard for some of them to do this while second guessing that the women they’re trying to befriend are second guessing that they are only trying to be friends with them because they want to sleep with them. Urgh.

To me, ‘The Friend Zone’ conjures up an image of some nightmarish parallel universe to The Twilight Zone, exclusively inhabited by people who think that quoting that bit in The Inbetweeners where they all squeal “Friiieeeennnnddd” is still funny, and where all the men wear t-shirts with pictures of Rhianna’s face on them and the girls wear crop tops that say ‘DORK’ and ‘NERD despite the fact that they probably can’t even name all of the 151 original Pokemon and don’t know who Joss Whedon is. In short, I clearly over-think things too much and now I think I need an asprin and a lie down.

Once again I haven’t really said anything revelationary in this post, or anything that anyone with half a brain can see for themselves; nor was I intending too, I just like having a rant. If you don’t know this by now, how are we still even friends?! (Assuming that you’re not one of the 1% of people who end up stumbling on to my blog through pathways other than my Facebook profile or Twitter feed. If you are, then, “Hello, potential new friend!”. Did I say ‘friend’? OH SHIT YOU JUST GOT FRIENDZONEDDDDD. Hash tag burn).

Epilogue: Humans as a species piss me off in many, many irrelevant, insignificant, and often just plain petty ways.

Epilogue II: Here is a picture of Jess and Nick from New Girl. If you haven’t watched up to up to the most recent few episodes of New Girl yet then SPOILER ALERT. LOOK AWAY NOW!

Source: http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/32300000/J-N-jess-and-nick-32395503-500-667.png

Jess and Nick are friends who want to have sex with each other, which makes this picture kind of relevant to the post but I’m mostly just posting this because Nick is my new Object of Desire and I just really like looking at pictures of him.

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A Vagina, By Any Other Name, Would Still Smell As Sweet?

So, as the title of my blog is taken from a Shakespeare quote, I suppose it’s only fitting for my first post’s title to paraphrase one of Shaxster’s most famous lines. It’s also about something I have been musing over recently.

The line I’m referring to is; “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet” – here, Juliet is basically saying “I don’t give a shit if your surname is that of my families’ sworn enemies, you could be called Penis Von Thrippington The Slimy and I’d still want you, Romeo”

For this post to work, it’s necessary to state the following: I watch porn. If you’re shocked by that, please take the next left and return to your cave; it’s NOT rare or weird for females to enjoy a little visual stimulation. (Whilst the issue of whether or not it’s ‘wrong’, as in, whether porn is degrading or harmful etc, is a worthwhile and interesting one, that’s another discussion for another blog post, folks).

My perception of people (i.e. a disconcertingly large number of males) who are shocked when girlies admit to watching porn and/or getting themselves off.

Chances are, you’ve been on this thing called the internet. If you have, you’ll probably be aware that porn sites where users upload clips are pretty darn common, and popular. Now, even though there is a whole lot of porn out there (incidentally, I am listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” as I type this), it often happens that several users upload the  same videos, or parts of the same videos, to the same site. Often, these identical clips are uploaded under different names.

Led Zep II: audio porn.

And this, my lovelies, is the part where two of my favourite things come together rather unexpectedly; semiotics and sex! Because the interesting thing is, it seems that the name of these clips makes a whole lot of difference to how appealing people find them. I’m talking; same thumbnail, same mouse-over image sequence, same hot dog + lady bun* action…but VAST differences in number of views and also ratings.

Typing ‘VAST’ in big shouty caps back there made me think of “avast!” which made me think of pirates which made me think of Jack Sparrow which…um…what was I talking about again?

Now, I’m not going to specify exact names of clips; yes, I am rather notorious for over-sharing things – especially Sex Things – with everyone…but I DON’T want every Tom, Dick and Harry (heh heh – Dick) knowing exactly what sites I visit and what I get myself off to. BUT, my examples are seriously representative of actual examples I have seen, and pretty accurate, to boot. With that in mind, let’s look at hypothetical Clips A and B. Clip A is a 22 minute long video of a pretty, young, blonde cheerleader getting her freak on with her significantly older, male teacher. Clip B is EXACTLY THE SAME. Both were uploaded at around the same time. Clip A has 250,000 views and an 87% ‘good’ rating. Clip B has 3,000 views and a 68% ‘good’ rating. Clip A is called “Hot slutty teen cheerleader pussy fucked hard”. Clip B is called “Cheerleader fucks her teacher”.

This happens A LOT. In a lot of cases, the only difference between two otherwise identical clips is the title, yet one is much more popular than the other.

There are themes I have noticed, in terms of which kinds of words seem to contribute to this kind of thing. (God, that sentence was a grammatical nightmare. Sorry.) The main, most notable ones are;

  • ‘Slut’. Slutty slut sluts. People LOVE sluts. Apparently. Also, according to many videos with ‘slut’ in the title, all you need to do to qualify as being a ‘slut’ is to be in possession of a vagina. So…yay?
  • Anything to do with ‘teens’, ‘young’, ’18’, etc. Lolita complex, anyone?
  • ‘Big cock’ (this one stands out; all of the others in the list kind of tie in with ideas about  heterosexual male sexuality. This one obviously massively doesn’t. I’ve spoken to several of my heterosexual male friends about porn over the years (as you do!) and many agree that an OTT presence of willies in porn is somewhat off-putting. The popularity of clips with ‘big dick’ in the title contradicts this…).
  • ‘Hard’ in the context of “fucked hard”, rather than “hard cock”.
  • ‘Sexy’/’cute’/’hot’, which are pretty self-explanatory
  • ‘Pussy’ – because apparently the porn-viewing public need to be reminded which bits are most likely to be involved in a porn video.
  • ‘Ass’ – for similar reasons to ‘pussy’, above, I imagine.
  • ‘Fucked’ – as above, serves as a handy reminder of what these porny videos generally involve.
  • Dirty’ – see ‘slut’.

So, technically, if this photo appeared with the caption “A Man and his Giant Chicken”, it would be less well received than “A Man and his Big Cock”…mmm…sexy.

Aside from the comments made after each bullet point, I think we can infer a couple of interesting things from this. Firstly, the more explicit the title, the more likely the clip is to get views and high ratings. By ‘explicit’ I mean featuring lots of words for genitals and intercourse and an emphasis on how nasty/slutty/dirty the activities and individuals in the clip are (even in cases where nothing overwhelmingly nasty/slutty/dirty is occurring; just standard vanilla sexy-sex).

Secondly – and, in my opinion, most fascinatingly – we are stimulated by not only the images of conjoined willies and vajayjays, but also by the way these are described…to the point where the types of words used to describe a series of images actually impacts upon our perception of how stimulating we find the images. Isn’t that interesting? I think it is. The appeal of internet porn videos is largely thought of as a solely visual thing; it’s rather exciting for a wordophile** such as myself that part of how these videos help us to get our rocks off comes from the words underneath (or, depending on your site(s) of choice, above) them.

They call me Mrs. Lover Lover

*All credit to VICE magazine for this nifty little turn of phrase; they run a regular article series on their website called ‘The Hot Dog and The Lady Bun’, it’s usually good, you should read it.

**’Wordophile’ is my made-up word for being a word-lover, a proper word probably exists but I like mine better.

[…I kind of wish that I’d written this post months ago when I first thought of it, before 50 Shades Of Grey got all supermega popular…nowadays the idea of words-porn is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so this post isn’t really as much Food For Thought as it could have been. I’m not going to say that it’s a shame that this has happened as a consequence of a literary abomination with no concept of what actually happens in the S & M scene, rather than actual well written erotica – because my previous 50 Shades-bashing has upset people, which is fair enough, and I apologise for that. But still…think about it.]