Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Men 101: A Response to the Friend Zone Blog

Last night, with my ego torn to shreds, I poured my heart into a lovely blog about my recent experiences in the tenth level of hell that should be named The Friend Zone. I received several emails regarding this topic since my post. Some were from men who sympathized with my plight. Others were from women who understood all to well what it's like to identify with Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. And while Molly did end up getting the guy, and a great birthday cake in the end, I don't have such high hopes for me. 

One guy was even nice enough to offer up his bootie call services should I ever find myself lacking in that department. His exact words were: "Don't worry, I'll take one for the team." How thoughtful.

My favorite among the heart felt emails is below. It is simple and to the point. A man's point to be more precise. I find the insight helpful, intriguing, and depressing. I hope you, dear readers, will be able to take something from it as well. Enjoy.

Your average man has very few categories of women. 'Friend' isn't actually one of them. It is the word men think is polite women speak for I don't want what you want. It is rare for a woman to understand man categories since they are very different from theirs. The 'Friend Zone' to a male is more of a term for a woman who will let you spend money on them and do stuff for them but has no intention of being sexual with you. I don't think this applies to your case so let me break down the top ten types for you.

1. Family - All men start out with women in their lives and are taught it is wrong to have sexual urges for them. This is Mother, Sister, Aunt, and Cousin. This would be the worst zone for someone not actually blood related to be in. However, you may not be so far out of luck by someone who considers you a cousin instead of a sister. There is even something called and Oedipus complex for a reason so there is always hope for the truly determined.

2. Scary - Someone who provokes the flight response or at least is impossible to get an erection for. This doesn't even have to be about looks. Sure, if you outweigh your perspective love interest by half a ton, their fear may be understandable just taking gravity into account. However, many men fear women who are smarter, more aggressive, or can do anything better than they can. Those sort of men seek someone so dependent she will stay with them no matter what mistakes they make. Avoid this type.

 3. Mopeds - If you find yourself constantly sneaking into someone's place, they never go to public places with you unless they are far from where you live, and you have never been introduced to friends and family, you might fit this classification. Mopeds are fun to ride but you never want your friends to see you doing it. Since this type of man is pretty shallow, it is entirely possible to be not only friends but even best buds. In their mind, they are doing you a favor by giving you sex. Friends do favors for each other right?

4. Hit and Quit - These are ladies who men use just to improve upon their numbers. Men have some unusual math which involves their unique preferences that determines if the woman is worth a second round. The fact that they did not do this calculation until afterward shows you the type of person they are. Believe it or not, there are women men will not sleep with again even if they have no other options. Those women are in this class.

5. The Ritz Cracker - When you are starving, a Salteen tastes as good as a Ritz. I know you may find this hard to believe but men will sleep with and have relationships with women they don't want simply because they don't have another option. These men either have someone else in mind who doesn't want them or are waiting for anything else better to come along so they can upgrade. These are easy to spot if you are another guy but some women seem to be in denial with these type of men and nothing you say to them will get through.

6. The Dream Girl - Some guys have their ultimate girl in mind. This could be a barbie model or simply a woman who turns into a pizza and beer after screwing their brains out. Some think if they work hard and make enough money, they will miraculously attract this woman and she will throw herself at his feet. Take note of what this type of man considers all women to be.

7. The Close Enough - This is usually a woman that meets 70-90% of the physical criteria of a man and they balance out any crazy or annoying habits in order to establish a real relationship with. This means the man isn't actively looking for anyone and will even turn down someone who looks slightly worse than you in most cases. This sometimes is more of a business arrangement to a man but can develop into real feelings.

8. Love at First Sight - This is the girl that makes the guy gaga and he will bend over backwards to get her attention. He sends flowers, poetry, and even hangs out in the bushes from time to time. This can happen in a mall, crowded store, or class. However, it is most observed in the men who keep turning their paychecks over to the same stripper every month for a few looks and sultry words.

9. True love - This is the woman who gets them. She finishes their sentences and even if she has no interests in common, she understands his passion for midnight ice fishing and packs him a snack for your trip. It doesn't matter what she looks like because she becomes his entire world. Unfortunately, this is a combination of right place and right time too. Men have their cycles. They just aren't monthly or blood related.

10. Wife/Baby momma - Sometimes the other categories make it to wife but this is a relationship built around children. It can be one of hatred, disinterest, or pure love. However, even the smallest endowed man can have a weaker brain. This means men have a hard time thinking or caring of consequences. Heck, it is something they are known for. Women are smarter by far but many think that sort of thing will never happen to them. Hence, we have a rather common relationship. Unfortunately, statistically this may be the saddest of all relationships to have with a man. I am a product of one of these so I can say if you have a boy he isn't likely going to want this unless it is meaningful first.

I hope this has helped. While this isn't as romantic as suffering in a circle of hell for some unrequited love it can be put to practical use. I might also add, men who are interested in watching men roll around in the mud, tossing balls with receivers and tight ends, and have an opinion about how they lace shoes, might be fun to go shopping with but you should stop trying to date them. At best, they are pretending to be sports heroes and want to bang someone who reminds them of a cheerleader. If you are a writer go after men who appreciate books, or at least find someone who can read on a college level and not look at you funny for using the word doppelganger correctly in a sentence. (I recently received strange looks for using the word 'doppelganger')

If your conclusion is something is wrong with you because you are the common denominator with every man you have wanted, then you may want to admit math isn't your strong point. All you have found out is you might have bad taste in men and need to broaden your horizons. I'd accuse you of wanting to be a big fish in a very small pond. If you have discovered you are the wildest, most creative, intelligent, sluttiest, and magnificent person you know, you may want to find someone who can at least match you if not exceed you in quirk. The lamest duck is never going to want a swan but that does not diminish the swan in any way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dating: The Friend Zone

During the 14th century, a man by the name of Dante penned an epic poem about the nine levels of hell. In his narrative, he described the sins committed that would take one there and the torture they would surely endure once they arrived. He called this work of descriptive horror "The Inferno". It is a beautifully written piece of literature. However, it is not complete. In his efforts to expand his readers' minds and take them on a journey that would ultimately lead them to God, he neglected the tenth level of hell. This level, with all it's confusion, agony, and sorrow, is the level that all other hellish levels bow down before. It is the place that more souls are banished to than any other. Here, in the not mentioned tenth level, I (and many others) sit and lick our wounds while we try to put the pieces of our dignity and self esteem back together.

This level is called the Friend Zone. And it is the epitome of hell.

The Friend Zone is the tenth level of hell that I have become all to familiar with. It is here that men constantly banish me to. Within this torturous level, I am forced to listen to my various crushes describe their ideal woman. I sit at the foot of the lake of despair while my idea of Mr. Right tells me he wants to settle down, but how it's so hard to find a good woman. As I frustratingly pace back and forth from "just friends" to "friends with a little bit of benefit", he sweetly tells me how comfortable I am. He takes my hand, while I try real hard not to punch him in his left eyebrow and yell that what he desires is right here, he explains how I am the perfect fit for him.....As a friend.

Awesome. I'm a golden retriever.

I have always had a knack for making friends. I've been blessed with the ability to make people laugh and, therefore, make them comfortable around me. Girls like me because they can tell me about that one time they embraced their inner slut a little too much and ended up taking it to skank level proportions. They tell me these wild tales because they know I will not judge them. After all, I've embraced my inner slut a time or two myself. We are old friends, my slut and I. Hell, I even bought her a Christmas present last year.

His name was Bill.

Guys like me because not only do I know the score from last night's game, but I also realize had the laces been out, he would have easily made that field goal. I can also discuss all this over an ice cold beer.

Or, we can comfortably chat about that chick you banged last night. Bless her heart. Was she really that bad?

Normally I am OK with being the gal pal to the guy that most women would kill to hook up with. These types of relationships give me perspective into the male mind that normally I would not be privy to. I appreciate a platonic relationship between men and women just for the mere fact that it eliminates that awkward walk of shame the next morning. There's no need for wondering how long you have to wait until you contact the person.

And it's more sanitary this way.

My Friend Zone nightmare occurs when I try, the best way I know how, to tell the guy that I long for that I desire more than a common interest of sports to bring us together. Shyly, I try to convey the message that I want to converse about other topics as well. How was his day? Can I cook for him? Does he need a back rub? I give a great one.

Unfortunately, my version of "I want to get to know you" usually comes out as "I want to see you naked." And, no, when this phrase is uttered, despite what you may believe, passion and orgasms do not ensue.

A few months back, I received a telephone call from a "buddy" of mine. I have known this guy for a while. He's what is the closest to my type of guy that one can get. (I don't really have a type.) He's smart. Funny. Laid back. Can discuss various topics openly. He makes me sigh when I speak to him.

Anyways, his phone call was to specifically talk about the previous night's football game. As I am driving to work, he's going on and on about how the ref made a poor call. He then proceeds to tell me that I am one of his "best buds". No. Scratch that. I am actually one of his best GUY pals. I tried in vain to explain that I couldn't possibly be a guy pal. I informed him of my correct gender. I even went a step further and described my girl parts to him.

"I promise you," I said. "I have boobs. Granted, they help me sweep the floor when I take my bra off, but I assure you, they are there."

He remained unconvinced.

A guy that I hang out with here and there approached me late one night. He was upset and said that he needed a friend. Someone he could trust. A shoulder to lean on. And me, being the woman that I am, made myself readily available. I am here for you, I informed him. Talk to me. What do you need? Do you desire a warm embrace? An uplifting word? Dinner? A back rub? Come hither and let me take care of you.

You know what that idiot needed? Advice on how to ask a girl out.

Friend Zone - 2. Wes - 0.

Not too long ago, I became friends with this other guy. A sweet guy.  We'd gotten to know each other over the past few months and I realized that I had developed a small catholic-school-girl-grab-the-wooden-paddle-made-for-porno size crush on him. As per my usual form, I tried to tell him.

His response? "You're so funny." Yeah. I'm freakin hilarious.

So, not to be easily discouraged, I pressed further. Trying to get to know him and see if he was more than a handsome face and nice body, I initiated further conversations. And still got nowhere.

So, I eventually tried my hand at the direct approach. However, my "I want to get to know you better" in Oreo speak is loosely translated into "I want to see you naked and do wild things to you that may cause you to seek counseling later" in normal people language.

Yes, I know. I need to work on that.

After more tap dancing, I took an even more straight forward approach. I just came right out and asked him why he wasn't interested in dating me. Now, I did pose this question to him after he asked me to help him wright a personal ad for a dating website. But, what the hell I figured, my dignity left on the south bound train a long time ago.

His response? "You're a great friend."

Yeah.....I'm gonna need you to take that knife out of my heart and help duck tape the pieces of my fractured ego back together. Thanks so much.

Don't get me wrong. I love the fact that these men see me as their friend. Honestly, I am thrilled that they choose me to confide in. I listen to what they have to say and it stays with me. I coach them through whatever it is. Nod my head. Smile pleasantly. So, I am a-OK with not being "The One" for the guy that I have an animistic craving for. I just would like to know when my vagina turned into the guy equivalent of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Not too much to ask. 

So, here I sit, in the tenth level of hell that Dante neglected to mention. The Friend Zone. I can't help but wonder why it is that I keep getting sent back here the same way a humiliated teen is forced to sit at the kiddie table at Christmas. Is it because I like watching sports? Could it possibly be due to the fact that I am more at home in jeans and a t-shirt instead of a dress and makeup? Does it have anything to do with the fact that I worked my ass off to make sure that I can solely provide for my family, thus needing nothing more than a companion in my life instead of  a knight in shinning armor to come in and save us from starvation and homelessness?

Normally I would not put this much thought into it. Dates have come and gone over the years. I have come to realize that my Mr. Right may take the form of a best friend instead of a passionate soul mate. And I am OK with that. What makes me pause and reflect is that although the men that I have dated are from different backgrounds, race, religion, and so on, they all have one thing in common. Me. I am the common denominator in this heart break equation of love. I can not help but think that there is something wrong with me other than the fact of my sheer quirkiness.

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers to any of these questions. Nor do I know if my theory that I am too different to ever find a true match is conclusive or just hog wash. But, I do know if I were to go back and re-read Dante's Inferno, the answers would not lie there either. He probably never mentioned this unholy tenth level, aka Friend Zone, because he spent quite a deal of time there himself.

He was probably just as baffled as I am.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Insomnia Part Five: The Beginning

I hear the crack of the thunder that signals the beginning of the end.  As I lay in bed, cocooned within my blankets and pillows, I no longer pray for the sleep that has eluded me for so long. Sleep is no longer my salvation. I no longer look to it for release from my madness. Now all I can do is hope for death. And just as I start to believe that I will I will finally get my wish. That I will now be able to escape the confines of my own mind, with its monsters, that keep me trapped somewhere between dreaming and waking, the Devil appears at my bed side.

The Devil. My Insomnia. My madness has indeed returned.

Why are you here, I ask. Why do you torment me so? Let me die. Let me return to the nothingness I once was.

"It's time to fight," he informs me.

How am I supposed to fight? And who am I fighting for? You have kept me awake all these long nights. You deny me the blackness that I crave. I have no energy left. I have no will. All I can do is lay here, wrapped tight, and hope my covers smother me. Oh, Insomnia, my sweet sadistic Insomnia, how I hate your presence. How I hate your familiarity. You have turned me from a vibrant woman into a shell of nothing.

Yet, I look for you to come each night. And when you fail to arrive, I panic.  See, even though your depravity is slowly killing me, I find comfort in the agony. It is all I know.

"Fight," he commands.


The dark that surrounds my bedroom


     is illuminated with a bright red light. Shadows dance against the walls. The fibers that hold the carpet beneath my bed begin to turn. As I walk to the window, I feel the slime of something reaching out from under the bed as it snakes its way past my leg. Pulling back the curtains reveals a horrific scene.

The moon, once beautiful and bright enough to light the night sky, has turned to a blood red. It cracks from the pressure of the creatures digging their way from beneath the surface. I see them. Large. Bat like. Even from this distance, I know that their arrival means only death.

Fire rains from the cloudless night. My neighbors, frightful of the events unfolding, emerge from their homes. Panic spreads quickly as houses, cars, trees, and even the people themselves, are consumed by the flames. The wind begins to blow with a tornado like fierceness. Spreading the flames across dozen of yards, it whips through the trees breaking them at their base. Those that manage to dodge the firestorm find themselves under attack by an unseen enemy. The wind, with the edge of a razor blade, tears the skin off its victims. Faces, eyes wide with terror, bore into my memory as I watch the horror unfold.

I continue to look out the window at these poor people. I watch as the wind grips them, ripping the skin off their backs. I watch, unmoved, as my neighbors cry our for help. The street fills with the blood of so many. Screams fill the night. I shed no tears. I do not feel any distress at the sight of so much carnage. For although their deaths are horrible, almost indescribable, they will eventually die. And as death grants them the sweet relief that they are crying for now, I will still be here, held hostage by Insomnia. I will be imprisoned, shackled by the monster that I have created. So, no horror grabs at me. I do not feel the terror that I am witnessing. All I feel is envy. Envious that they will die. While I am forced to fight a battle that I can not win. 

"Fight," Insomnia whispers.

No. No. No. No. I can not. I will not. This is not my fight. I have no enemies. I have nothing to stand for, or, against. I am but a woman. A friend. A daughter. A mother.

Oh God, I gasp. My children? My babies....

"They do not long for this world," he informs me. "They are not here. This is not a fight for the young. For the innocent. This is a fight for the wicked. For those that lie awake when the world sleeps. For those that know how the soul dies when it inflicts pain onto another. This is a war. A war that can only be fought by those that lay on the verge of insanity. This is your fight. You evil wicked woman."

I stand in front of the Devil. I stand there as something unseen slithers up and down my legs. I stand there, dumbstruck, as claws caress my back and shoulders. Shadows shift all around me. They dance about waiting for my reaction. They grin, baring teeth made for tearing the flesh apart. Blood begins to seep from the walls. Saliva drips down from above as demons dance about the ceiling fan. 

The Devil stares back. Patient. He waits.

I know the Devil's name. It is not what the bible refers to him as. And I know what the Devil looks like. He does not don the horns of a long forgotten pagan god. He does not crouch on hooves and he is not the crimson  color we are all taught in bible school. No, he looks like my worst fear. He is nondescript. Tall with shaggy brown hair. Lean with the build of a runner. His eyes are golden brown. His smile, nonchalant, is lined with perfect teeth.

I know the Devil. His name is Insomnia. He looks like the man I once trusted. The man who betrayed me in a way that no man should ever hurt a woman.

Insomnia. My sweet sadistic Devil. My old friend. My monster. He stands before me, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  He leans against my dresser and casually explains that my children are gone. He instructs me to fight a war that I can not win.

Damn him. Damn him.

I know what is waiting for me outside. My world has died. Out there screams multiply as hell unleashes itself onto us all. Out there war awaits me. It calls to me to come and join. My army is waiting. My battlefield is the cemetery. My squadron are the corpses that have awoken from their slumber. Even now I can smell their sweet stench as they rise out of the dirt that has held them for so long. My lieutenant is the monster made of marble that stands in the middle of the dead. I can hear the flexing of its wings. He is agitated. Anxious for the blood bath to begin.

Yet, I do not fear any of these beasts as much as I fear what sits on the lieutenant's shoulder. My colonel. The creature that will issue the order to begin the destruction. The raven brought me to that hellish place to begin with. Its talons are long. Its black feathers are matted down with dried blood. Its beak, sharp, ready to dive in for a mortal blow.

Fight? I am to fight. But for what? For who? And why?

I shake my head. Dear Insomnia. Why is this happening? What side am I to stand on? Why do I fear that awful bird more than I fear you or the shadows that dance around me now? If I step out of this house, away from the safety of my room, won't I surely die just as those out there do now?

"No," he says. "You are different from them. The evil in your heart protects you. You will not feel the wind's blade. You will only experience the coldness of the fire. You must fight. You remained, on your own free will, in purgatory. Purgatory has vomited you out. Welcome to hell. You belong here. Now fight."

Am I the only one? Who are we fighting against? If this is hell, where is heaven? Where is God?

The Devil shakes his head. He crosses the space between us, and I smell him. I smell the sulfur on his clothes. His breath is hot on my cheek as he leans in for an embrace. I feel myself settling into his arms. They are familiar. Strong. I rest my head against his shoulder. The sulfur engulfs us. Breathing is difficult. The shadows move in closer.

We are family, they whisper. Come to us. Fight with us. There are others.  You will not shoulder this alone. Take up your sword. There's a terrific battle unfolding as we stand here. Become a part of it.

My sword? I have no weapons. I have no armor. Whatever I am fighting against, I will surely lose. Let me die whatever horrible death you have planned for me.

But, as always, death is nowhere around. The God that I have prayed to over the years does not show. The shadows that live in my head are now settled all around me. The Devil hands me my weapon. My sword. Only it's not a sword. It is a hockey stick. Wooden. Long. It does not feel right in my hands.

I never cared for hockey.

I walk past Insomnia and the others. They follow as I cross the threshold of my living room.  I do not hesitate when I open the door.

Stepping out into the night, I lead my battalion to the cemetery. There I will greet my commanders. I will await the instructions that the Raven has for me. I will fight.

I will win.