Men fear and hate it. They see it as a torture device invented by women.
If someone harbors any hostility toward you for “only” wanting to be his friend, he’s probably not the best friend or boyfriend. Your friendship is not a consolation prize – and the idea of being relegated to friend status hinges on the notion that he was expecting more in the first place.
Sadly, there is an even worse response than “sex or nothing.” This is what’s known as the “beta male” movement. According to the Urban Dictionary, a beta male is “an unremarkable, careful man who avoids risk and confrontation. Beta males lack the physical presence, charisma and confidence of the Alpha male.” Beta males see themselves as the “nice guys” that women are never attracted to sexually because they are all pursuing “bad boys” who are obviously wrong for them, if only they could see it.
This reaction turns toxic when it leads to anger at the women doing the overlooking of the betas. The “beta uprising” is a (we hope) theoretical rebellion of the supposedly second-class males in order to – I’m not sure what. Eliminate the alpha males so there’ll be less competition? Punish the women who’ve not had sex with the betas?
Some people claim that the threats of violence that can ensue are fantasies, pranks, or posturing. But Reddit, 4chan, and other anonymous groups and sites perpetuate the concept and provide places for the betas to egg each other on. The Colorado theater shooting and the Umpqua College incident have been claimed as part of the uprising. Even if these claims are untrue, I’ve read the threads on 4chan. They’re truly terrifying and appalling.
So what’s the solution? Remove the term “Friend Zone” from our collective vocabulary? Socialize women so that they become the willing sex partner of anyone who asks? Or how about socializing men so that they understand that sex is a mutual choice, not a male entitlement? Socializing everyone to realize that friendship – between partners of any gender or gender identity – is a good thing?
I’m dubious, but it’s worth a try.