This morning, over pecan and caramel french toast for me and the feta and spinach omelette for Hollypop, the topic du jour came up in conversation. My friend Paki-Masala came to brunch too, and had the french toast with strawberry compote. Amidst all that sugar, Hollypop solicited our opinions on a sticky situation of her own.
Hollypop has a friend, a male friend, who (she reckons) is not gay. He says he’s single and available. Before going to the symphony together, she made dinner and they had some wine, dinner and conversation at her place. After the symphony, he came back to her place for more wine, more conversation…and nothing more.
Paki-Masala jumped in with a story about her male friend. I’ve not seen Hollypop’s friend, but I met Paki’s — he’s nice-looking, has some style to himself, seemingly normal. Paki meets up with him often – for dinner, movies, or just to hang out. But they’re not dating. No, Paki’s friend has told her straight up that he just wants to be friends with her. Paki-Masala is quite attractive. He doesn’t want to be “friends with benefits” either. They’ve been not-dating on and off for over a year. This may sound strange, and indeed, one of Paki’s girl friends suspects that he may be gay. I don’t think so. I think he’s a man with 2 ladders.
Let me explain the Ladder Theory, as it was explained to me. Women have 2 “ladders”. Women, the theory goes, can be “just friends” with men because we have 2 ladders – one for dating/relationships, and one for “just friends.” This is how, in theory, a man can be condemned to spend an eternity in a woman’s Friend Zone. According to the theory men, on the other hand, have only one ladder – that ladder always leads to the bedroom, even if a woman is waaay down on that ladder (because he’s not that into her.)
I’m not totally diggin’ the Ladder Theory, though it may have some validity. I think that men and women can be platonic friends only under certain special and very limited circumstances, namely when they:
1) have never dated or had intimate moments together,
2) have never had a crush on one another EVER (whether unrequited or mutual, secret or well known, recent or in grade school),or
3) are related (“kinfolk” as we say in the South.)
That’s it. If 1 or 2 has ever happened, forget it. One day, someone is going to get some beer courage or some vodka balls and come chargin’ outta Friend Zone!
The only thing worse than a guns blazin’, prison break style FZ bust-out is a Shawshank style bust-out. The Shawshank style escape from Friend Zone often occurs when one “friend” is interested in the other (the unrequited crush). One “friend,” under the guise of friendship, is always “there for” the other person, “takes care” of the other person, and gives the other person “neutral advice.” The Shawshank bust out is a ruse that can take months or even years to come to fruition. This “friend” is actually lying in wait for the right opportunity to bust out of Friend Zone! That’s the Shawshank FZ bust out. Sneaky. Conniving. Patient. And very hurtful to the unsuspecting friend who didn’t see it coming.
I have a few male friends. I don’t usually talk to these friends on the phone. On the contrary, I usually only talk to them (or more often, text) to discuss going out to a happy hour, concert, or just meeting up somewhere. Many times, my guy friends bring their girlfriends. We (my group of girl friends) are also friends with the girlfriends of our guy friends. I also have (well, had) some male friends that I used to date. I tried re-routing them off of my Dating Ladder and into Friend Zone, but I’ve yet to successfully pull that one off. They all tried to bust out. 😦 But at least they used the old fashioned guns-blazin’ way.
So I’m curious – has anyone else heard of the Ladder Theory? I’m interested to know what you think about whether men and women can be friends. JUST FRIENDS.
Content and ideas copyright © Samee on Everything (2009).