Leigh Tauss is a junior studying English and creative writing. This piece was originally posted on her blog, Mere Trickery.

Boozed up “bros” at the watering hole are quick to label any sexual rejection as “friendzoning.” The term has become so popular there is even an MTV show dedicated to liberating the hopelessly friendzoned.

We’ve all heard the narrative before: poor wretched libido writhes miserably as sexual urges toward a platonic friend go unrequited. The person remains close to the sexual rejector in hopes of one day fulfilling carnal desires. These desires usually remain secret, as does an underlying contempt for their so-called friend.

I’m here to tell a different story though, because what happens to women is much, much worse.

We get f***zoned.

While the friendzone represents a friendship in pursuit of the dangling promise of sexual gratification, the f***zone functions as the commencement of a sexual relationship with the hopes of achieving a romantic one.

The 3 a.m. booty call responded because maybe tonight is the night his heart starts beating: If only you can look pretty enough, his love for your reproductive organs will spread to your personality and he will finally ask you to join him for breakfast at Barone.

Miraculously, though, he always seems to have practice, or is studying or has plans with the boys, and is just too busy to see you during daylight hours. Or sober, for that matter. And somehow he never gets around to meeting your friends, most of whom tell you he’s not worth it.

“Hold on, Dr. Killjoy, sex is fun! Everyone hooks up in college.”

What differentiates f***zoning from a regular old meaningless sexcapade is that while both participants in a one-night stand couldn’t care less about the other person, there is an inherent emotional imbalance in the f***zone. One person always cares more.

One person gets hurt.

The friendzone and the f**zone actually have more similarities than they do differences. Both are located in the dense center of the Bro-zone layer, a place of magical thinking where the archive of sexual partners is a trophy case and Saturday night blueballs, a fate worse than death.

There is a reason the roles in both scenarios are rigidly gendered. Of course there are always instances where the male and female roles are reversed, however this is rare to say the least. 99% of the time we hear about a guy in the friendzone or a girl getting f***zoned.

What allows both of these zones to exist allows one the ostensibility of a syndicated television spot and buries the other in hearts of women conditioned to believe that their unrealistic expectations merit a walk of shame.

This amorphous force is none other than male privilege: the presumption in both scenarios being a sense of entitlement to access to women’s bodies.

While the friendzoned guy assumes a right to sex because he has valiantly fulfilled the duties of friendship, such as offering to be a study buddy or pretending to enjoy her favorite band, in the f***zone he is aware of the girl’s romantic aspirations yet is able to hide under the guise of keeping things casual. He gets exactly what he wants and usually is asked for nothing in return.

Both zones regard women as a mere means to an end.

I’m not trying to say that every guy who has sex with a girl he doesn’t want a relationship with is a misogynist. Certainly women carry much of the blame because our silence is what allows the f***zone to perpetuate.

We ask ourselves: Are our very dreams poison? Disney taught us one day our prince would come along if only we kissed enough toads. Has an idealistic view of romance set women up for repeated disappointment?
Or has a cultural entitlement assuming male access to women’s bodies solidified gendered hierarchy of our society?

The answer isn’t 42.

Healthy relationships of all varieties – true friendships, flings, matrimony, etc. – require equal expectations, communication and respect. The absence of all three of these factors allows for the perpetuation of the friendzone and f***zone.

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