Today in bad advice: The ludicrous notion that $575 aviators and a $3,500 bomber jacket will make an otherwise meh dude suddenly fuckable to a woman who has decided she's not interested in him that way. Really Esquire, don't encourage them.
Over at The Men's Magazine of Wishful Thinking, we learn that not only are there surefire accessories you can don to have the woman who once ignored you suddenly telling her friends how polished you are, we learn that the friendzone is not only real but that, with money and taste, it is possible to transcend it with a few key looks. Writes Khalid Salaam:
Most guys, at one point or another, have ended up in the friend zone. You see her as your next girlfriend, she sees you as a nerdy cousin. It happens. If you want her to see you differently, think about how you're presenting yourself. Here are five things you can do to catch her eye, and five things to avoid. Good luck.
Here is the strategy, in a nutshell:
Purchase great shirt ($350)
Shave with a classic shaving kit ($485)
Douse yourself in Chanel cologne ($90)
Slide on some Rag & Bone $210 selvege jeans
Wear a Ralph Lauren bomber jacket ($3,495)
Accessorize with a flower lapel pin ($30)
Wear some Hudson boots ($153.13)
Wear a lambswool shawl-collar sweatshirt from J. Crew ($79.50)
Wear amazing Bottega Veneta shades ($575)
Wear a Bally multigray stripe wool and silk-blend scarf that you MUST CALL TO BUY
Total cost to exit friendzone in style minus the evasively priced scarf: $5467.63.
Hey look, there's nothing inherently wrong with harboring feelings for a friend. That's bound to happen at some point in your life. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good, either. There's also nothing wrong with telling guys how to go from schlubby to more put-together if they are so inclined. We all want to put the goods in the best possible light.
However, all of this could've been accomplished without referencing the dreaded friendzone, the terribly sexist trope of male whining and entitlement that suggests that being friends with women is a game you play that waits on a payoff of sex, one you expect to get because you've been so nice and available and sweet and attentive for sooooo long. This is not how romance works — slowly wearing someone down over time with the sheer relentlessness of your nice fake presence as a pretend BFF.
As some brilliant Internet commenter named hexjackal once wrote:
Friendzoning is bullshit because girls are not machines that you put Kindness Coins into until sex falls out.
What's more, it's deceitful. If you like someone, you should probably let them know. If your feelings prevent you from being "just friends" because you want more, move on. Be nice but acknowledge being friends is too difficult for you. Sidling up and weaseling in as a friend is a betrayal because it all ultimately hinges on the hope that you'll eventually get what you really want. And what happens when you realize you won't? Not such great friends anymore, huh?
Plus, it's a sexist. In a terrific essay at Feminists-At-Large, Erin Riordan writes:
That women should in any way be obligated to reciprocate sexual or romantic interest completely undermines the notion of women as autonomous people with the right to make their own decisions, and especially the right to make their own decisions about romantic relationships and sex.
No person is ever obligated to return romantic interest. That we penalize and antagonize women who reject men interested in them is sexist, and, to beat a dead horse, stands against the idea that women are equal.
Further proof of the innate sexism in the concept is the fact that it's a term almost universally applied to men. In a Salon piece from last year about why the friendzone must die, EJ Dickson writes:
Although the term "friend zone" is ostensibly gender-neutral, it is used most often to describe male-female relationships, where the male is the friend-zonee and the female the object of unrequited desire (in fact, when I conducted an informal straw poll among my friends to see if we could find examples of the reverse, the only ones we could come up with were Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and an episode of the Disney Channel series "Even Stevens"). This is not because women are "friend-zoned" less frequently than men are, but because women are conditioned to be less vocal about their sexual desires. "As a girl, if you are friend-zoned, you don't come out and say, 'Oh, that guy is such an asshole, he's putting me in the friend zone,'" says Star, the co-author of "How To Get Out of the Friend Zone." "You internalize it a little and say, 'Oh I must be doing something wrong.'"
Of course, men in the "friend zone" have no such compunctions. On Reddit, Yahoo! Ask forums and YouTube comment threads, they share their experiences with being "friend zoned," all in the same clinical, vaguely corporate vernacular, complaining about having done all the "work" or "investing" time in the friendship without reaping any benefits. It's as if they were Goldman Sachs M&A guys lamenting the failure of some big corporate merger over beers, rather than some horny dudes who get pissed when an invitation to watch "Game of Thrones" on their female friend's laptop isn't code for "receiving an under-the-blanket hand job."
The message: If I'm nice or attentive to a woman, I should get sex. Period. Not getting it entitles me to whine.
But there are any number of reasons you're not getting sex, you know? They are identical to the same reasons you don't hit it off with certain women who might be interested in you. Not attracted, no chemistry, no good vibes, not funny, not nice, total douche, and so on.
Pretty much nowhere on the list of why a woman is not interested in you is "denim not $210 Rag & Bone" or "multigray stripe wool and silk-blend scarf priced too evasively." I mean, sure, some woman out there hates your style and won't bother, but this on the whole is not the reason you're not getting laid, and everyone eliminates on something shallow in the dating game.
If you are an actually nice, good-person dude who is friends with a woman you would like to date, tell her. If she says she doesn't think of you that way, save your $5k on any number of experiences that might make you a more interesting, well-rounded person. And if you're just a sadsack, sure, what the hell, buy those $575 shades! Congratulations: Now you're a sadsack wearing Bottega Veneta.