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Geek to Geek

Wow.  Today, while not bad, has not gone at all as I planned.  I find myself a tad frazzled and scatterbrained, but I wanted to say this anyway.  Bear with me if it don’ make no sense nohow.

My beloved friend FellowNerd ended up emailing me late Monday night to ask for some romantic advice.  And hoo boy, did I have some advice for him.  Y’all know me by now; if you ask a short question you’d best be prepared for a long-assed answer.  FN asked a LONG question.  Open-ended, yet.  And I gave him a LOOOOOONG answer.

Not only that, but he said I was welcome to ask Dys’s opinion as well, and so I did, and that led to about a two-hour debate in my living room last night.  We agreed on the “what” part of our advice, but we differed rather substantially in the “how.”  The interesting part was that we agreed in principle on many things, but in such different ways and with differing reasonings that we took a good long while hammering it out between us.

This was amusing to me in many respects, because Dys and I have wildly different romantic histories (put simply:  she has one) and therefore different experiences to bring to bear.  And also because FellowNerd was specifically referencing how Dys and I came to be together, and that whole How I Met Your Mother story is crazy enough on its face without the two of us sitting down and hashing out in a more-or-less detached fashion what was going through each of our brains at the time.

One of the coolest things to come out of the evening was Dys’s pause to say, “You know, we really do have some awesome discussions about stuff like this.  Maybe you are right, we should do a radio show together sometime.”

So, there’s hope for that yet, radio fans!

The line of the night, though, still belonged to me.  It was stunning proof of my geekitude (and that of FellowNerd):

“I need to just tell him that he should think of his true obstacle as a non-Newtonian fluid.”

Does that tell you something about us poor ‘Hoos, or what?


Seriously, though, I also made an attempt to succinctly define The Friend Zone:  “a truly intimate relationship characterized by an utter lack of sexual tension.”  What say ye, people?  Good description, bad description?  Opinions?


11 Responses

  1. Oooh, you’ve touched upon (pardon pun) one of my favorite topics!
    I’d say that’s a good definition of the friend zone. I also think there might be some variables that lend themselves to explaining exactly what kind of “friend zone” we’re talking about here, because I think there are many different types of friendships, whether you’re talking same sex or different sex friends.
    I’ve had guy friends who are single while I’ve been married and I’ve also had ones who are married. Though neither had any sexual overtones, it still seemed as though a different dynamic was flying around. Almost as though maybe my friendship with the married guy might not exist without the friendship with his wife too? I don’t know and I don’t want to start babbling too much (too late?)
    Either way, very interesting subject!

    Heheh, you said “touch.”

    You kinda throw out several different variables, particularly the relative relationship status of the parties involved, that I think complicate the matter but don’t really change it overall. I’ve got female friends that are single and/or married but there is SOME sexual tension in all of those, even if by “sexual tension” you mean “this is a professional relationship and so sex is not something we talk about at all except in the most broad, joking sense.” But I freely admit that I could be wrong.

  2. I haven’t had many friendships with males that there still wasn’t some sort of sexual tension on the part of someone (usually them).

    Because even though you’re JUST FRIENDS one of ’em always gotta TRY to get ya nekkid. 😉

    Yep, I thought at the time that this was the most obvious criticism of the theory: that sexual tension might exist for one half of the pair but not the other. I got around that by saying to myself that if it doesn’t exist for both of you then it’s not really “sexual tension” but rather the tension you feel when you want to take it to the next level but are afraid to make the move.

    Still, this is a great criticism.

  3. More comment than this, but swamped at work – just have to clarify:

    I never, EVER said anything remotely akin to “maybe you [i]are[/i] right.” My God. They’d take my Bad Ass Wife business cards for that; are you nuts??

    • I just got a disembodied flip-off from around the corner for that one! Twice!


      I still say that she didn’t use those exact words but said something REALLY similar. She denies it.

      I ain’t backin’ down!

  4. I’m working on a work laptop which is why I can’t sign into my email and write this to you like a normal person but I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to let you know I got a happy happy package in the mail today!!! Brian was grinning hugely as he read the song list of the cd I’m sure is going to be headed straight to his truck tomorrow morning and I am so excited to have a soundtrack to listen to in my office all day, as the forecast is calling for rain for most of the day.
    What a timely and thoughtful surprise – thank you, sir! I also feel justified in having “Winter” and “Summer” cd mixes I’ve made myself over the years.

    Awesomeness. That’s two of four I’ve heard from this morning. 😀

  5. I’ve had many female friends which has annoyed many girlfriends and confounded many guys over the years. I totally agree with iamheatherjo about the level of ‘attraction.’ It’s usually surprising to one of the parties.

    The issue is many men (and some women) see any interaction with the opposite sex as sign of interest. A comedian said something like, “A female friend is someone you have slept with. . .yet.”

    I had a female ‘friend’ tell me if we were ever single at the same time she’d make a play for me. I told her if we were ever single at the same time I’d hobble her to allow me to make a clean get-away.

    It’s not that she’s not attractive, smart, and all that stuff. The point came down to my knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it would be a disaster. Which is why, I feel, many opposite sex friendships happen. You have that moment when you flash forward and say,

    “I don’t think standing on a roof with an assault rifle is love!”

    It’s like the line between a friend and acquaintance. A friend is someone you like to see arrive, an acquaintance is someone you like to see leave. They may both be fun and you like them both but there’s that one extra gear that separates them. It’s sort of the same thing with opposite sex friends that, if you’re smart, keeps you away from the crotch cram.

    Now, fuck buddies on the other hand. . .

    I have an odd geek story from last night. I’m out after a show with five friends. All of them have worked for some of the best computer industry companies in the world. One of them was talking about how their home network was all FUBAR’d so they started discussing solutions when a guy from another table stood up and said,

    “Have you defragged?”

    The conversation stopped. First of all, no one knew what the hell he was saying. In this bar it’s best to check because we could have misheard and he was talking about fragging someone’s ass.

    But no, he went on to tell this assembled group, who’ve worked closely with people you read about in books, that she should really look into defragging her computer because he finds it helps him.

    It is a testament to these fine folks that none of them burst of laughing (until later. They are, besides being only human, friends of mine). I would have laughed but felt it was best to pay very close attention to the Red Sox game instead.

    Good point. There is sexual tension, don’t get me wrong, but the thing that is common among all my opposite-sex friendships is this: In each of them, it is obviously apparent to any observer who “the sane one” is. And I don’t mean in a cute way.

    Let’s face it, you gotta settle down within your own crazy bracket.

  6. I’m kind of with Heather – boys and girls can be friends, but one or the other eventually starts thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to shag him/her.”

    Now. I have a great friend of mine, who is a boy, and whom I would never, ever sleep with (my marriage notwithstanding – I knew him when I was single, too). Never crossed my mind to be anything other than buds, but one day a mutual friend told me that he thought I was Practically Perfect in Every Way, and that threw me. Now, he’s married with three kids (and his wife hates me for no particularly good reason) and we see each other at work and he likes Calvin and we’ve hung out and grabbed a beer before, etc. And I think we’re both on the same page, nothing but a really good friendship.

    Feh. My point is, I think it’s possible for feelings to be had on one side of the friendship that the other side doesn’t share, and those feelings can be gotten beyond so they both can get back to just being friends.

    Or something. What the heck. I can’t articulate worth a crap this morning.

    By “threw me” what did you mean? I’m assuming “whoa, I never considered that, too bad!” but it could also be construed to mean “oh RLY? hmm!” and so I hereby ask for clarification.

    I agree that those feelings can be gotten beyond. I don’t think sexual tension is necessarily an indicator of “would I, if given the opportunity, oh hells yes I would” sentiment. I think it’s just a matter of your neurons knowing something’s going on, even when you consciously don’t know or you consciously choose not to acknowledge it.

    I say that the Friend Zone is where you reach the point that those neurons are so acclimated to the other person that they no longer know (or care) what’s up.


    That’s right, all caps. I mean bidness.

    Thank you, I need reinforcements!

    • Nope, not teasing, but you have no idea what you’re in for. Me and this muhfugga here can talk FO-EVAH. Or at least until we want to beat the shit out of each other.

      Ah, love. 😉

      And yet this topic had us talking for an hour or two without coming to blows. Wow! New record!

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