#TFZ- all caps (Guest blog by Zoë Ngombane)

The Friend Zone
noun

a metaphorical place that two people are in when there is no possibility of romance between them.

Nah, there’s no chance. We’re in the friend zone.

verb – transitive

to inform or show another person that they’re such a good friend that there is no possibility of romance.

She friend zoned me.

I have seen, for years now, a lot of this word on the World Wide Web and it always expresses one thing, a complaint from those in this supposed friend zone. Some are funny and some are actually really sad, much like the friend zone itself. Here’s a blow-by-blow of how I think this thing works in the victims’ minds:

 

1. The beginning. Welcome to the friend zone.

The person – the evil user, tells you everything, including stories about other people of your sex. Gives you bear hugs ONLY. Goes on and on about how you’re the nicest person in the world and sometimes maybe throws in, just to torture you, that you’d be perfect for a certain friend. Calls you over when in need of a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, then sends you on your way afterwards because alone time is needed to just sit and think, but thanks for being such a great person. Guess what? Yes, you guessed it. Welcome to the friend zone.

2. It’s a cold dark room. Brace yourself.

Yep. It’s like limbo and you aren’t even dead – although it’s arguable in this situation that you are a poor lost soul. Everything becomes related to it; it’s all you think about. It finds you at the movies, in class, while you’re listening to music… “Next up, we give you Michael Jackson in his suave hit, You Rock My Friend Zone”. That bad.

 

3. Keep telling yourself its better than nothing.

You have options. There are always options. You could choose to stay in the friend zone, wait it out or concede defeat. Eek. You could tell yourself that having her as a friend is better than nothing. But be warned, the friend zone is not for the faint hearted. In two words, pain and awkwardness. You’re bound to slip up. You’ll be fooled into answering when she says something stupid like “Oh, I wish there were more nice guys like you…” with a “But, I’m a nice guy like me…”. AWKWARD. Does the friend zone have any perks? Yeah, sure, absolutely. If you have no intention of indulging in sexual intercourse with that person. Ever. What do you think this is? You know each other too well now, genius. Weaknesses, sensitivities, seen each other at your worst… there’s no way you can date now, buddy. That’s not how those heartbreakingly heart-warming things we call relationships start. That is how they end. 

 

4. Girls get friend zoned too

 

It happens a lot actually. Women have BEEN in the friend zone. It’s more indirect for us, more of a late reaction. We get into the friend zone and realise two years down the line that, ‘Wait I don’t belong here!’. And then we’re doomed because we’re strong enough to carry the burden of friend to lover. Especially given the fact that we can’t explicitly express our eagerness to leave the zone. We’re stuck with coy hints like, “Oh wow, that was nice. We should have dinner out more. Maybe just the two of us next time.” Instead of bold statements like, “Oh wow, this was cool. The two of us should have dinner out more. Or in, it doesn’t matter. Then proceed to make babies, minus the actual babies,” while using your sexy power stare. This is because we know that with the latter you might end up in the pain and awkwardness zone. The former is as forward as it is safe to go. 

 

5. And the sad part. You can’t just snap your fingers and be rid of the ‘friend zone’.

 

Buckle up. You might be stuck here for a while. Or be the clever jackal and remove yourself from the situation. People that friend zone other people are somewhat serial sadists, and having a person at their beck and call just feeds their god complex. You can’t drive an hour to go take someone ice-cream, come on. You’ve already been compromised, soldier. Abort. Leave. It maybe just work in your favour. Or not. You might just lose someone that might have really been an awesome friend for years to come to the greed of your carnal cravings. Because people aren’t just things you can put kindness/niceguy coins in and get a shag in return. See? You’re stuck.

6. Or you probably put yourself there so, only you can take you out.

 

I have one thing to say about this… You know the friend zone exists. You know what gets you in there. If you know what’s good for you and you feel uncomfortable about being platonic friends with the opposite sex, keep your distance.

That said, the friend zone – whether in reality or in your head – can never be defeated. It was there before you were born, it will be there long after you’re dead so happy friend zoning boys and girls.
If you’re trying to get friendly with Zoë here is where you can find her: Thefunimalscribe.wordpress.com

Naivety and Light (by Awa Gabrielle Magagula)

The valley that we met inDid the water flow?

Did every particle drift towards 

Each other

Always bumping shoulders 

Destined to collide 

Like I smashed into you? 

The valley we met in

Was the grass greener on the other side? 

I can’t recall

All I have is the image of your brown specked eyes, turned hazel in the sunlight. 

All I remember is your about to be kissed lips, turned the color pink from you licking your lips. 
The valley we met in

Did the air have static electricity? 

Because the moment you touched me 

I became a flame 

Suddenly on fire 

Soul an inferno 
The valley we met in….

Can we go back? 

Because I find myself in the river now

Unable to breathe 

Drowning in an us 

That never should have been an us 

We should have stayed 

In the valley we met in.

Alcohol colored glasses 

Stained with the intent 

To see me as yours

So you lead me on

And I follow 

Trip, slip, dip

Straight into your trap
Usually I don’t fall 

I stand tall 

I’m a warrior 

A beast 

Confident in my roar 

Confident in my strut 

My tempting lips curled into a smile 

Boy, you know I’m confident 
But then you walk in

Color black draping your body 

Color black draping your spirit 

Color black stealing my light 

Color black stealing my confidence 

Stealing my essence 

Stealing my curled lip smile 

Stealing me 

Stealing me 

Stealing me
I lose myself in you

In your darkness 

Your undecidedness 

I’m blind 

In the dark 

Stuck in the crooks of your soul
Naive 
Basically unborn 

You trapped me 

And I find myself 

Becoming 

The color black.

That’s it…

Patience: The IG Paradigm

imagesGood Evening to all you wonderful people out there, living chaotic lives which you ever so desperately try to structure

Hello to the women out there whose hearts were given away at dinner

What’s up to boys acting like pros but constantly exposing themselves as beginners

I say good evening to each and every one of you looking for love and to each one of you feeling betrayed by the various institutions you ever so desperately longed to join. I have very little to say to those with rings on: they’re doing far better than me, simply because they had the conviction to pick a person to spend their life with and did something about it. Regardless of whether you ended up a divorcee (forgive the lack of the accent aigu, the keyboard and I are at odds these days), I commend your ability to act on your impulses (after significant thought has turned them to strategic decisions), pair them with discipline (because you must have plenty of that to manage yourself and another person) and finally your forgiving heart (for not murdering or leaving your partner after you caught them straying, or killing them over more minor irritations and general emotional maladies which plague those within relationships).

I have decided I desire to one day join this class of everyday heroes: see, I am no longer as jaded by the experiences I have gained from the “dating game”  and this is not due to a desire to marry the fictional character ( I say this as my perception of the people around me deviates quite intensely from who people tend to attempt to present over a time span: ultimately resulting in a fictional character as the go-between) I am currently infatuated with. I want to be married to truly acquire patience, understanding, discipline and selflessness. I am beginning to think, more and more, that the reason why these beautiful character traits and these old school institutions are disappearing are tied to the “IG” tendencies we are surrounded by. I do not mean the social network, I mean Instant Gratification. This is the disease that plagues us, the epidemic that has been filtered into daily life and has jumped the pace and pressure in our lives up by a thousand notches.

So now imagine if I said IG, FB and all the other acronyms had contributed to this degeneration? The question would have to be: How does he blame instant messaging and social media for something so unrelated to the institution of marriage? Well mainly by admitting that the ways of social media have helped lessen the integrity of the social fabric which each and every one of us is swaddled in. We grew up without having to exercise much patience, in fact the older we get the faster our transactions become, so why on earth would we need any patience? And as a result we haven’t the patience to get to know our partners anymore, we haven’t got the patience to wait for letters declaring our interest in a female to be delivered and most of all we haven’t got the time to waste writing one or waiting for a reply. We truly lack patience and by the same sad extension of ideas that means we have pretty much lost romance.

When, guys, was the last time you took a woman to coffee rather than drinks simply because you wanted to see her and chat and enjoy her company without any expectation you might get to tap in the immediate future? Ladies when was the last time a man truly chased you? I’m not talking about flattery and a date or two; I’m not talking about a drink and longing stares; I mean when was the last time a man cooked you a meal or packed you a picnic and made you feel loved through all the little things?

I think though the best question is, how many of us have the time or the patience for such things any more? Are we not so consumed by the 9-5 that we get home too exhausted to even begin focusing on something other than ourselves, before attempting to put something that can just barely qualify as food on the table and giving those around us the bare minimum amount of attention they need to know we are even there… well that is all before we either slink into studies to finish the fiscal projections, complete the near overdue academic assignments or maybe climb the, everlastingly long, staircase, standing between you and the bed, in order to catch the first real shut-eye you’ve seen in weeks. Whose lives are these? Who ever dreamt of being chained to a desk, driving the corporate machine from a dead end job? Who ever wanted not to be free to attend ballet recitals, their daughters and sons had been training for all year? Who ever wanted the strain of their absence to break their relationship? Very few of us can answer the in the affirmative, however, the capitalist dream requires this of us, social media spurs us forwards on this materialistic dream chase; using the very things we are likely to lose as the motivation for our progress down that very road. We seek to provide an amazing standard of living for our loved ones yet it ultimately results in us balancing on a knife’s edge, hardly living, merely existing. For what? to reach forty and suffer a midlife crisis after a panic attack brought on by an existential episode and look back at all you’ve done and realize you missed your children growing up?

I think ultimately what I mean to say is, nothing is worth missing the moments that count, no amount of life experience should spoil your prospects for the future, and impatience and other such vices are never worth their negative effects. So then why do we let such be part of our social fabric? Why do we let ourselves get sucked into a lifestyle we cannot afford to try live with our short life spans? I think I want to reach ninety knowing the person I love is next to me and we lived full lives and our children had all that they needed, even if we weren’t the most wealthy family (as long as we didn’t struggle too much, poverty is another struggle altogether).

Grab Each Every Moment

Love: in stereo

Girlfriend sitting on the couch with her head in her hand… Turn around and walk away, close the door before the fight starts because on that couch, friend, are all your troubles; real and fake coalescing.

Because the words “We need to talk…” Have never gone well for the one hearing them. No guy, girl, parent or child ever thinks of good things on hearing the words, in fact quite the opposite. I’m sure we are all familiar with the terror those words strike into the hearts of warriors and glamazons alike.

Hearing those words you think the following things in order of relevance: she’s pregnant; she’s dying; she’s breaking up with me; she wants to move our relationship a step further; they’re getting married; they’re getting divorced. They’re applied as needed, kinda like pain tablets, except that these would be what you would take in order to cause the pain not cure it. The degree of course would be according to your personal worst nightmare of the moment.

Those smitten with their current partners but have the recurring nightmare of their significant other confessing the cheating, or the unplanned and pregnancy scare, the sudden break up or even the coming move to a foreign country. So you are quaking right, you haven’t even thought as far as the end of the convo yet, oh scratch that, you just saw it, the signs of it that you had missed in the past few days, the drifting apart, the throwing up, lack of signs from your girl, now you feel like a retard. In fact you just felt retarded for feeling retarded.

Luckily you are not alone! I feel that way too, looking back at it… Girls know all about what I’m talking about when I talk about looking back at it. Sadly, I know how it feels to look at it, and to see it walking away (for those incapable of extrapolation I’m referring to the magnificent figures girls parade around, both in their mirrors, out of your door and out of your life).

I feel obligated to say I’ve been that guy, you know that blubbering guy begging their girlfriend to take them back? However, I’ve been the other guy too. You know the “thank-god-she-finally-realized-i’m-breaking-up-with-her” I’ve also watched girls wait me out.

I’ve been the “Kids-sit-down-we-need-to-talk” son and the received both talks from Dad; not the birds and the bees, Dad figured I knew all about that. All I’m trying to get at is: it sucks, it’s a shitty feeling to hear those words; no matter what they’re attached to.

As human beings we clearly need to realize certain things are guaranteed: death, taxes, change and pain. But pain and change, unlike death and taxes can be pleasant. So let’s try reduce the effects of what we get conditioned to think at the sight of specific images, specific words and the stereotypes we have thrown at us. I guess in a convoluted way a I was trying to get you to pay attention to how you responded in a prejudiced manner and how crappy it makes us feel.

What’s worse though is the way we make the other person feel when we adhere to stereotypes. I’d be pissed to hear words like “It’s not you, it’s me…” especially after months of effort, not catching the prey that threw itself in my path gagged and tied, meeting your parents, gosh so much effort. If you dropped me with that line I’d lose it; same way if I heard the words “you’re not like the rest of them/the others” in reference to a whole race, tribal group, country or class. No two people are alike so by doing or saying such you are turning people into a number in a system or a gear in a clock. Yet everyday we wake up, strike out, trying obstinately to forge a legacy and a niche for yourself.

So I just want to say: let’s get creative about bad news, avoid prejudices and stereotypical thinking.

Relationchip

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I won’t ever claim to be a serial dater, have commitment issues, intimacy issues, excessive familiarity or an addiction to intimacy. What I will admit to, however, is that I love to watch those that do… and I may on occasion attempt to tame Dragons… But I digress.

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Before I begin, I’d like everyone to note: this will probably hit too close to home for most… But don’t Punk out, read it, be honest with yourself, resolve it or accept it. Our deficiencies don’t make us any less but denial is pretty much hitting yourself in the head with a sledge hammer, going out into the world and seeing everyone else with stab wounds, blunt force trauma and missing limb then saying since everyone else is ignoring, or trying to ignore their issues, that you aren’t injured either.

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Shout out to nedesem.deviantart.com

We watch movies and can pick out character flaws, let’s do it here with ourselves and Improve. Hi, I’m Mpumelelo (Mpumi for Short) and I am (a frequent) Dragon-tamer. That’s my dating dysfunction. I often just coast by sleeping in flower beds, running through poppy fields. However I’m often deluded, on occasion I see footprint and chase a mythical creature… and like all mythical creatures; they’re based on real women, I mean creatures. We, Dragon tamers, get sucked into naïve hope she’s the one mode. Relationships that shouldn’t be, become reality, women that are impossible become our all consuming desire. Luckily for us, all it ends in is making memories with people we normally see through too quickly to go near, not a bad looking suit case, but it’s baggage nonetheless.

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Have you ever seen the girl that used to move around a lot, changed schools half a billion times, has no close female friends and is probably called really unnecessary names like ‘hoe’ or ‘slut’ because her interest is fleeting and so everyone thinks that she’s easy? Yeah, that isn’t the case. She has commitment issues, having never really had to settle in one place her mind wonders, her spirit is filled with wanderlust and she can usually show you a thing or too about living. These girls/guys (guys for some odd reason get away from the name calling, which I think is wrong, cause if the shoe fits.) have a reckless approach to life and will probably be the “you know, back in my day” grandparents if they ever find someone worth settling for.

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Then we have the chip thief, the serial dater that is never on their on for longer than a few days at a stretch. Guys who are thinking about their other prospects soon as the first fight is had, now to compare people to monkeys is usually offensive but these guys have vine swinging abilities that primates would envy. They never let go of the branch behind them till they have their hands on the next one! This is the person that needs someone else to go out with usually because being alone isn’t fun, they also like the benefit of having someone to steal chips from… and it’s probably great for them because no relationship makes it far past the honeymoon stage.

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The girl that’s saving it… if this is you and you are sensitive; please divert your attention further on. These are the girls that date a guy love him to bits and then stick to their guns on the “no sex” rule. That is admirable it’s the next part they don’t need to see or hear if they’re sensitive. They break up with said loving boyfriend and start to have a fling. I don’t know the details, never been this guy, but the guy manages to convince her that she loves him. Following the loss of so dear a loving relationship, she, in her vulnerability (see relationsh*t for more), gives the fling guy everything she’s got. And when I say everything I mean it, she vents years of sexual frustration and unleashes a libido unlike any you’ve seen on this man… Thing is usually, that’s all the relationship is based on, so when the passion has burnt out and just the husk is left, she sits there being cradled by her best friend crying about how used she feels (the male equivalent is sitting in a bar, slandering exs and looking for women. Women that you usually won’t find because you’re too busy venting about the ex).

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I figured I’d just talk a little more about this because really we all have our own issues and I mean only to shed some light on it. Don’t feel bad about being in any one of these categories, you are your own person so you are guaranteed your own sub-genre, with your own personal compartment therein. Let’s not make the people we date feel bad for their dating dysfunctions; let’s try and help the person next to us move through their’s. Whether you are on a bus, in a car (not driving, I hope), plane, on a couch, lying in bed or even sitting in a toilet stall. Reach out to the people around you and make them feel less judged and more understood, that’s the purpose of these articles… Except you toilet guys, reach for nothing until you’ve washed those hands.

Vodka and Distances

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“Long distance relationships don’t work, especially when you are in Scotland, surrounded by gingers.”

-Deone van Riet (geneticvalentine.wordpress.com)

Now, I personally do not abide the unnecessary prejudice against gingers; most gingers are hot- okay some gingers are hot. Okay, seriously, there are hot gingers out there, but that’s not the point. Long distance relationships are some of the most difficult things to be part of, and usually end in complete and utter misery for the participants, which in turn is utter misery for us because they won’t stop whining. It’s like, “God! Get over it already! We are tired of hearing you complain: “I miss my boyfriend.” “I wish I could cuddle him right now.” Oh, and the classic, “I haven’t had sex in (insert an unreasonable number of months).” (In addition, the typist adds, “I am hoping for an earthquake or really any vibration”).

Now, I personally have taken part in such misery inducing situations. Much to my later regret and through expressly effective emotional blackmail I stayed that that was a bad decision for me and for her, because I was doing that thing that all guys do when they want to break up. I stopped being a good boyfriend, and prayed to God that she would break up with me (the typist says “amen”).

How do women (place emphasis on the fact that I didn’t say “you women”) get into relationships, start seeing them head toward the super apocalyptic ending, and stick around in hopes of fixing it? That’s the naval equivalent of the whole crew staying on the ship, despite it being three quarters under the water, and hoping that if they try to bail water out of it fast enough, they will make it to their destination. You might as well take a mass suicide pact, because rather than just the captain going down with his ship (by the way, there is a romantic movie playing in the background) you are all going to die!

imageIn addition, guys, when we have had enough, we should probably start saying something, I mean this is like us sitting in a restaurant that serves terrible food, has terrible service and ordering second and third helpings! Either send the food back to the manager; tell him how terrible you think the food is, and that you refuse to pay the bill. After all of that, throw a huge tantrum at the centre of the restaurant, jump up and down and wave your arms frantically like a lunatic, screaming, “This service is unacceptable,” putting emphasis on weird words in the sentence.

Anyway, back to the topic, we need to ban friends from complaining about long distance relationships, if you’re in it, you had better be in it to make it work. It needs dedication. Serious dedication. Like really. Serious. It should be like going out for drinks, no matter how many you have, you don’t complain until you are hungover the next morning. So, your relationship in this case is the uncontrollable alcoholism that seems to have possessed you… and the hangover- the heartbreak afterwards… see what I did there? Because, we all know that after heartbreak, alcoholism is usually what people indulge in, “Vodka for the pain…” And, I am, in no way, advocating alcoholism, but drinking is fun… and as I say that, the protagonist in the movie Kotches all over the host after having too many beers in quick succession. I am talking PROJECTILE VOMIT.

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The long and short of it is that not all of us are built to drink (extended metaphor but also very true).

Relationsh*t

So, yesterday, I’m talking to my boy Thembi, and I kid you not he says “Haha nah, dawg, u should post on relationships. You’ll destroy the 5 year ones as well”

So now I’m sitting here wondering, what could I possibly say that could destroy a five year relationship? now It IS NOT my aim to destroy your, my or anyone else’s relationship… Yet I have come to notice a growing trend of this happening around me.

So I decided to step back and look at the possible reasons. The main one I see: WES.

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It’s the Wondering Eye Syndrome. That thing that guys and girls alike both despise and indulge. This whole age of instant messaging, speedy downloads and one click living have created a need for instant gratification that is slowly eroding away our ability as people to interact. We often see something we like and, as if we are standing in a shop with our credit cards hanging out, we swipe.

For guys it’s usually a vulnerability in women, that open and honest moment of emotion that leads to us thinking the thought I’m just going to comfort her, my girlfriend knows I’m a caring guy; she wouldn’t take it the wrong way. Well, that, my friend,is the wrong answer because as a guy you know that when you’re in a relationship suddenly the number of women trying to get in your pants increases EXPONENTIALLY. See you just fell in the trap! You’re ensnared now, she has you where she wants you.

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You won’t be able to distance yourself because she needs you (and who doesn’t want to be needed?) but you’ll feel guilty for every moment you spend with her because she’s not your girlfriend. If you do distance yourself you’ll feel bad for not being there for her, and then you’ll feel guilty for living your (seemingly) perfect life with your girlfriend. You want to gratify all the different parts of you, yet the conflict won’t resolve itself… So you start spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about one person while with the other: the kicker is you aren’t sleeping with that vulnerable young miss. I mean you aren’t cheating right? But maybe you shouldn’t tell your girlfriend about her lest she think you are. I mean you’re just being her friend so you shouldn’t feel this way right? You are doing the right thing aren’t you? But she is pretty hot isn’t she? And her smile makes you smile, doesn’t it?

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And there you begin your descent into a hell of your own personal making; your girlfriend starts asking “who is she? Why do you spend so much time talking to her? Doesn’t she have friends she can talk to?” Or the alternative is Ms Vulnerable starts saying things like “I wish I had someone as wonderful/caring/fun/any other ego inflating word as you” or “Your girlfriend is really lucky to have someone like you” And you are now in a corner. You start hiding the time you spend with Ms Vulnerable or the thoughts your girlfriend interrupts because it’s almost like she can read your mind.

And when you are in the bedroom with your girlfriend it’s amazing ( I hope for both your sakes), she knows what you like, you know wat she likes, you feel no need to indulge in the sexual conquest of Ms Vulnerable. That is until you suddenly realize you just pictured her naked, and it all starts with the two of you talking and next thing she’s seducing you, you’re seducing her, and wham bam thank you ma’am, she is in your head superimposed where your girlfriend is now.

You run to the boys to discuss how you are not cheating, yet somehow you feel like you’re in a dilemma. You love your girlfriend, you really do. At which point one of your friends points out that you seem to have feelings for Ms Vulnerable, which you adamantly deny… in the presence of your friends, because really in your heart, at the back of your mind or at the base or your loins, you know you do.

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You are spending time with Ms Vulnerable telling her about how insecure your girlfriend is about the amount of time you spend with her, or how she constantly accuses you of cheating or even (and if you do this one you really are asking for it) how you’ve started realizing you feel about her, she says something encouraging puts her hand on your thigh affectionately, or on your chest, or anywhere really and boom you get hit by a ton of bricks which have sexual tension written all over them. And then one of you does something stupid like kiss the other one or lead them to the bedroom. There’s a moment of doubt the thought I can’t do this comes to mind but her soft lips, her passionate embrace, her warmth all scream you can; you are a teaspoon of blood short to the brain and suddenly another appendage is screaming “Show her this in Sparta!” Or “Are you threatening this guy with a good time? You gon’ learn today!” And Hey Presto your cheating.

Or you aren’t let’s say you do manage to get away and crawl back to your girlfriend and beg her forgiveness, which she gives, reluctantly; you now have a recession on your hands, the Bank of Good Sex is closed to loans, or just to you (bad credit record remember?) and you spend months getting yourself in good standing again. Thing you don’t realize is that somewhere out there to some other guy, your girlfriend just became Ms Vulnerable and buddy you better hope she has better life skills than you did!

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