It all started with a tweet.
men are the reason men and women can never just be friends. — GigiEngle (@GigiEngle) March 15, 2016
I tweeted it and knew it couldn’t be enough. Someone had to say it, and more importantly, someone had to make the argument and face the music.
The reason I tweeted this seemingly innocuous sentence had to do with an ex-friendship I’d been mulling over. It was a male/female friendship, one that burned brightly for a few months before burning out.
He wanted to f*ck me, and I wanted literally nothing less.
I thought he and I had made it past it that “sexual undercurrent” phase. I thought I’d been clear about my feelings about it. I really believed we were just friends, and everything was fine. As it turned out, I grossly misinterpreted our friendship. His desire for sexual interaction was still there; it was just not taking place because I didn't want it.
Whenever I was wasted (This guy was a favored drinking buddy), I guess I "led him on" somehow by just being friendly, and he misinterpreted those signals as me wanting to hook up. And like many people, when I'm drunk, I'm easily coerced into a lot of stupid things, such as hooking up with someone I have no interest in. Always seems like a good idea under the influence.
In any case, I didn't actually have interest in him. But he wasted no time trying to jump at the opportunity to take advantage of my intoxicated poor decision-making. When you're under the influence, though, you are not in the right mind to give consent. My choice to drink and be friendly does not mean I made a choice to f*ck him.
My other friends saw this happening. They repeatedly told me my "friend" was being a goddamn creep to me whenever I was drunk. They told me to ditch him. So, after one-too many of these drunken occurrences, I decided I had enough. For a long time, I blamed myself for sending these so-called "mixed signals." I felt bad for him. And then I was like, Wait no. I ’m in no way obligated to f*ck a guy just because he is misinterpreting my drunken friendliness as sexual desire. Somehow, it became my fault for not wanting a sexual relationship, as opposed to his fault for not wanting a friendship with me.
As Scientific American so eloquently puts it, in male and female friendships, “the possibility remains that this apparently platonic co-existence is merely a facade, an elaborate dance covering up countless sexual impulses bubbling just beneath the surface.”
Looks like friendship is NEVER enough, is it? Friendships between men and women are possible almost entirely because women don't reciprocate their male friends' desires to f*ck.
Please, hear me out.
A man acts like he is "friend-zoned" if a woman doesn’t want to be more than friends. It's as if a woman’s friendship was an insult, as if it were some kind of distasteful consolation prize. If we don’t offer to f*ck a guy, or agree to f*ck a guy, we’re doing something wrong. We are the gatekeepers of the male libido.
When you’re in this awkward situation as a woman, suddenly everything you do becomes a series of “mixed signals,” and you’re being “unfair” when you’re just literally being yourself. F*ck, dude.
To want a friendship as opposed to a sexual relationship that a man would choose for the two of us makes women cruel bitches. We’re valued for sex over our personalities, and that, my friends, is truly disgraceful.
And this is why I need feminism. Because what the actual f*ck kind of world do we live in where this is the reality women face on a daily basis?
There is empirical evidence to prove my point here, people. In a 2012 study, researchers from the University Wisconsin-Eau Claire asked 88 pairs of opposite-sex friends about how they each perceived the friendship. The research concluded that the “perceived” possibility of sex was always on the back burner for the male counterparts.
According to Scientific American's analysis of the study, the male counterparts in the friendships were far more likely to find their female friends attractive than the other way around. Male counterparts were also more likely to think that their female friends returned these feelings of attraction.
The analysis states:
Men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt -- basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.
I’d like to talk about something else before my point is grossly misinterpreted.
I think it IS possible for guys and girls to be friends, but a vast majority of the time, the guy is totally in control of whether or not that’s true. For these friendships to work, guys have to not want to have sex with us. In order for a true platonic relationship to survive with any substance, a guy has to value a woman's friendship too much to want to have sex with her.
I think we’ve all met a guy or two who have felt this way. I happen to have a male friend who cares too much about me as a person to want romantic involvement with me. But don’t get me wrong: He still has the power. All it would take is him deciding that he wants to have sex with me for our friendship to become one-sided, tainted and broken.
That is really f*cking sad.
It’s the unicorn dudes who actually don’t see female friendships as conduits to get their dicks wet that serve as the reasoning behind trusting male friendships. These extreme outliers force our guards down. We want to believe in the good men out there. This is one of our greatest flaws as people.
This whole situation is really f*cking awful. It sucks for women. But it also sucks for the very rare, REAL nice guys because all these f*cking douchebags are posing as "nice guys" who want to be our friends so they can f*ck us.
The sheer stress of it all takes all the joy out of being friends. It makes it dirty and dishonest.
Men are the reason men and women can never be just friends. There I said it. Feel free to flip out, but deep down, you know it’s true.