The Lesbian Friendzone: Do You find Yourself Caught Too?

Jokes aside, I wonder whether Matt LeBlanc could have envisaged that his character’s quip about “The Friend Zone” from 1994 would evolve into this phenomenon of male-entitlement a decade later. Yes, it’s competing for the top-spot against stealthing and marital rape, y’all!

Artwork by Devrupa Rakshit

Have you ever been subjected to narcissistic rants by any self-proclaimed “nice boy” (a.k.a. moronic man-child) about how he was oh-so-unfairly friendzoned? At some point during the afore-mentioned tirade, the monikers “bitch” and/or “slut” may or may not have been bandied about casually to refer to the vile, savage perpetrator, who downright refused to honour his right to have his feelings reciprocated. Ring a bell?

Well, if you have managed to millennial your way into 2020, you know what I’m talking about. Unless you live under a rock, of course. No, I’m not talking about being under the Rock — you wish (don’t we all)! On a side note, did you totally picture Kartik Aaryan while reading the first paragraph about entitled dudebros? 

Jokes aside, I wonder whether Matt LeBlanc could have envisaged that his character’s quip about “The Friend Zone” from 1994 would evolve into this phenomenon of male-entitlement a decade later. Yes, it’s competing for the top-spot against stealthing and marital rape, y’all!

Besides being a spawn of the apparent birthright of the delusional man, friendzoning is predominantly heterosexist. But, that’s not what this article is about. Nonetheless, it helped me segue rather brilliantly (hey, I’m allowed to be delusional too) into my actual topic — the lesbian friendzone. Since it doesn’t involve men, and their default carry-on: toxic masculinity, it is far less cringe-worthy, but far too un-acknowledged and real!

Last January, I became friends with a woman, who wanted to learn more about my journey from bi-curious to bi-sexual. I remember telling her that my experiments with sexuality vis-à-vis women had been rather easy and chilled out — one could take their time to figure things out along the way since women weren’t half as entitled, or pushy, or egotistical, as their male counterparts; if things didn’t work out, one would’ve possibly made a friend, in the process, rather than dealing with bitterness, or nursing someone’s hurt ego.

And, I thought that was beautiful!

Until… she sent me an article she had read online, which said: “Are you approaching dating like you’re looking for friends? It’s a woman thing, I know, but it’s deadly in the long run.

It got me thinking! I had met women on dating apps too, and I had approached them in exactly the same manner predicted by Maya Malia: “You think, let’s be friends first and then we’ll be lovers, if I like you enough as a friend and if there’s chemistry.” Well, let me tell you, from personal experience, how those dates worked out — we found oh-so-many things in common, became almost-BFFs, and after a while, were too scared to make a move on each other worried that it might jeopardize this friendship we had suddenly begun to value more now.

And this, despite the fact that I’d met them on frickin’ dating apps! Imagine the agony of this phenomenon striking when even that basic degree of attraction, afforded by dating apps, is not established.

Now, I’m not saying that this happens to every bisexual/lesbian person every single time. But, it does happen a LOT more often than you’d like to believe, and that sucks!

Wait, before you get me wrong, I’m not referring to queerplatonic partnerships here. Nor am I claiming that a straight woman and a bisexual/lesbian woman cannot be friends. And, no, I’m not saying that two bisexual/lesbian women cannot be friends either.

The lesbian friendzone is very different, and also, very real. 

It arises out of an obsessive need some of us have to make friends with everyone — from our exes, to our exes’ exes. Well, to each his her own. But, when it spills over to people one is attracted to, it can do more harm than good. Remember: we are friends with our friends because we don’t want them as out lovers.

In addition, to approach a potential love-interest with friendship is to play it safe, and protect yourself from hurt and heartache. But, trust me, it’s a very myopic modus operandi. Why not lay your cards on the table after having established a certain degree of comfort — rather than agonizing yourself with “likes/loves me-likes/loves me not” for months, and/or creeping them out, eventually, when they learn that you were busy falling in love with them while they were functioning on a far more platonic sphere? I’ve had the latter happen to me as well, and it ain’t pleasant at all.

Looking back, I’m really glad she’d sent me that article. It prevented me from repeating the same cycle with her and we ended up dating for a few months that year. Evidently, I owe my first relationship with a woman to the author, Maya Malia. But, try as I might, I could not find a single Indian article on the topic (hardly shocking) — so I’m putting my story out there in the world hoping it inspires more women to find love, and go get it!

Okay, Imma leave you with that thought now, and go pour myself some good ol’ G&T as I crush on Leighton Meester while watching Life Partners.

About the guest author

Devrupa Rakshit

A writer by passion, lawyer by education, painter by shaukh, and poet by accident – Devrupa Rakshit is Calcutta-tempered and Bombay-based. An undercover Jedi Padawan, she is enthusiastic about all things fish and fishy. When she’s not binge-watching re-runs of Seinfeld, day-dreaming about settling down in a Hobbit-hole, or recording her podcast #DateNightsWithD on Spotify, you can find her millennial-ing on Instagram @devruparakshit.
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