In the Fall, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of… friendzoning? In September 2014, several other bloggers and I wound up in a dialogue about friendship, romance, and the very rickety bridge that connects them. We talked about the why of the frustration behind, “But I’m a Nice Guy!” (not to mention the frustration that girls feel when they get hit by that phrase) and the societal shifts that may make it a lot harder to date and discern marriage.
- “Why is it easier to ask out strangers than friends?” — A historical proposal for restoring low-stakes dating
- Meanwhile…“Radicalizing the Romanceless” at Slate Star Codex, upon which the next post riffs
- “Nice Guys and Failed Tries” — The “successful jerks” who get girls to go out/have sex with them may be failing differently than rather than triumphing over Nice Guys
- “Friendzones and Fairness” — Emphasizing an ineffable “spark” as key to attraction/romance leaves pretty much everyone frustrated with the absence of a rulebook
- Meanwhile… “Nice Guys — How Deep is Your Love?” at Shadows on the Road, upon which the next two riff
- “More Reasons to Encourage Casual Dating” — If it’s common to wait til you’re in love to ask people out, odds are, the person you’re surprising with your passion can’t match it
- “Nice Guys, Conjoined Twins, and Starving for Love” — The more that intimacy is limited to romantic/sexual relationships, the more horrible it is to be excluded from them
- “The Loves We Need from Other People” — Sublimation and substitution aren’t a realistic solution to the absence of intimacy
- “If Someone Put Me in Charge of Yenta-ing You All” — The dating website I would design, if I had a startup
The solution at the end of all this? Try to seek out exalted and intimate friendships, so romantic/sexual relationships aren’t the only way to wind up close to others, and… possibly pass your inamorata’s friend a note middle school style?
Ah well, in the words of the Muppets on rewriting social norms (or breaking into art galleries):
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: I suggest we jump.
Fozzie: Are you crazy? That’s at least a hundred feet!
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: I didn’t say it was a *good* suggestion.
Beauregard: Maybe we could jump part-way.