You ought to remove the "How to Escape the Friend Zone" chart. It's complete and utter bullshit, and highly offensive. How on earth did you rationalize condoning what is essentially rape (sorry, but getting a girl drunk just to get into her pants is nothing more and should not be romanticized in any way, shape or form) and taking advantage of a woman's emotional instability? Seriously. What the fuck were you thinking?
Your message is the only thing I find highly offensive. I will respond only to address any potential offense caused others but I really do not want to given your lack of decorum and agressive sense of entitlement. I’m sorry, I’ve never responded like this before, but I’m frankly tired of running into this attitude (edit for clarity: this attitude regarding what constitutes reasonable criticism of the content I put up, not a concern about potentially insensitive material. I am always glad when people speak out when they have taken offense and have often retracted things that were offensive in ways I have overlooked). I work very hard to run a site that can be comfortably enjoyed by a great many people and that respects everybody’s right to be an individual equally. I judge only the ill-intentioned.
Regarding the chart: I do not think that talking about ways in which somebody (in this case a man courting a woman) attempts to “leave the friend zone” is condoning rape. While the phrase “sexy time” is clearly sexual, it is also vernacular and in this case I chose to see it not as a plan to “get into pants” and more as a desire be seen as somebody with romantic possibilities, a desire to let one’s amorous feelings be known. This seems to often be the case with people in the friend zone. I see the situations in the chart as clumsy attempts at romance, at trying to create conditions for chemistry with somebody that one cares about. It saddens me that the assumption is that a man’s only goal here is to get laid, though I admit that the cavalier usage of “sexy time” aids this read. When I look at the chart, I don’t see a devious, manipulative pervert, I see a common situation: love and frustration on the part of somebody who feels they have no chance of expressing it, or tools with which to be seen in the light they hope to be seen.
To say that the “manipulation” here is akin to rape strikes me as offensively hyperbolic. I understand that the societal understanding of rape conditions needs to be expanded and yes, there is a culture of tacit approval of predatory techniques in male courtship that I find disgusting (the approval and the techniques). This chart deals with neither of those things. Your criticism of this chart strips both the men and women involved of their agency and ignores the realities of courtship, which is absolutely 100% manipulation. Courtship is manipulating somebody into finding you desirable. That process is true no matter the genders involved, with friendships as well as romances. What matters is the intent and the methods. You have chosen to decide the intent and I do not agree with you. As for the method, if the plan is to create a romantic mood (I read red wine as red wine, not as “let’s get her plastered”), get loose, silly, have fun, engage in consensual sensual contact, you have basically described dating. And acknowledging timing and the relationship somebody’s thought process has with their surroundings is certainly not “a woman’s emotional instability.” There is where you most directly and offensively strip the woman of her agency. You’ve decided that because this woman’s surrounding have her thinking about commitment, she is unstable. I think she is expressing a natural reaction to that time in life and a suitor angling for commitment with the woman would do well to be especially present. Women aren’t always looking for love; men aren’t always looking for sex. There is a great deal of timing involved when people meet and make romantic decisions, which we ignore when we assume base manipulation for needs.
Let’s give people some credit. Men can be friends without devious motives, they can desire commitment, they can hope for romance and to be seen as romantic possibilities, they can be sad when the person for whom they harbor feelings doesn’t notice them in the same way, they can court without the endgame being some form of rape. Woman can drink red wine without getting black-out drunk and taken advantage of, they can be influenced by their friends without being labeled tools of their unstable emotions, they can desire commitment, they can recognize and enjoy well-intentioned courtship, they can reassess a man in their life without having been tricked into doing so. It’s simple, we will only live in a more thoughtful world once we learn to be more thoughtful.
Writing this made me feel very lonely. Have a nice weekend, everybody.
Edit made after I cooled down: I’m also entirely open to the possibility that I am wrong in my reading of this chart and am being naive. If you would like to talk with me in a reasonable manner and change my mind, I will listen to anybody who has anything to say here.