When I visited Bali last summer, I was overwhelmed at the amount of Balinese folk who actually came up to me to ask the rather invasive question of “where are you going?” Thanks to reading the ever so shallow novel of a white-girl-who-found-herself-abroad i.e. Eat Pray Love while sunbathing, I realised that the Balinese aren’t just nosey. They want to insert people into their own map, apparently, as this gives them a sense of order and balance.

Then there would be the question of “are you married?” if you’re a woman. If you say no, they’ll probably seem shocked and asked whether you will be soon. In Bali, you’re either married or you’re not married. There’s no compromise.

Upon arriving back in England, I then entered into a relationship with somebody I had been dating for a while which is now long distance. And I cannot lie, suddenly exiting Singlesville may as well require you being branded with hot coals stating that you are in fact married and you have to alert the Balinese that your situation has changed, as that’s how it felt. I lost a handful of male friends simply because I was now somebody’s girlfriend.

If you’re friends with a guy for a long period of time, and you then enter into a relationship with somebody else, you’d expect that friendship to still sustain and be maintained regardless of your relationship status. In an ideal world this would be the eventuality anyway.

To have a male ‘friend’ cut off all communication with you just because you now have a boyfriend basically presumes that that person was never a friend in the first place. To have romantic intentions implies you need some sort of genuine platonic background first surely, but not for a sexual intention. So, perhaps it is a good thing for a significant other to practically indirectly audit your ‘friends’, removing the ones who were basically only there to get in your pants. Like, what I was I meant to do, ask the permission of all my male friends before I could have a relationship? Will this be the same when I’m married? Modern dating has too many unspoken rules.

If a friend, regardless of gender, liked me platonically, they would get over the fact that I am unavailable to date. If they fancied me or wanted to enter into a relationship with me, they did have their chance at asking whether I wanted to go on a date. If I were having drinks or a meal with a male friend, this does not automatically mean we’re on a date unless one of us stated expressly and the other accepted. But then, if they merely wanted sex, then good riddance.

I still think the concept of a ‘friend zone’ is ridiculous though. Why should my friends be painted with the same brush anyway? I have different levels of friends. There are my close, tight friends, then friends who I probably only talk to because it’s convenient, then mere acquaintances, people you work with, etc. Does that mean my parents are in the friend zone? Is there a people-I-hate zone? Does the zone have Netflix? This is how absurd the term is.

Of course, as with my situation, this zone is barren of any so-called friendship. Real friends support each other, whether they’ve broken up with somebody or have just become Facebook offish with somebody. The zone is an excuse for an individual to wave off their rejected efforts of seduction and sexual advances in an attempt to restore their ego and pride. It’s as if this person assumes the other on the receiving end will say yes to them, should something transpire.

Being nice to somebody, being a friend, does not entitle you to sex. Not even a kiss. We don’t owe everybody who is friendly to us any romance or sexual reward. A lovely old lady at the post office helped me the other day, but I didn’t pull down my trousers then and there and demand she pleasure me, did I?

The other thorny issue is when these guys are rejected. Things can turn violent with all sorts of abuse being thrown at the girl’s end, when all that the girl has done has been a caring friend and actually perceived this other person as a decent, honest person. The hilarity.

Back when I used Tinder, sometimes a match would pop up on the chat complimenting me in some way or another. I was the worst replier so didn’t of course reply straightaway. Then soon enough the guy would put “f*ck you then you ugly b*tch” which I still can’t get my head around. I don’t think my lecturers would appreciate it if, upon them not responding to my email queries, I tell them “actually, you know what, I hate your journal articles”. It doesn’t really achieve a lot.

The friend zone doesn’t exist. Rejection is rejection. There’s absolutely no need to fake a friendship just for the possibility that the other will bend over backwards for you. Of course, if you do suspect such a fake friend pretending to be nice to you, you can always quote Trump and tell them they’re fake news. That’s one way of scaring them off.









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