The Friend Zone
(Twilight Zone music: Di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di, di-di-di-di-di-di-di) There is a relationship dimension beyond that which is known to men. It is a dimension of dumbfounding and senseless scenarios. It is the middle ground between a man’s happiness and despair, between his hope and hopelessness and it lies between the pit of his fears and the summit of his desperation. This is a dimension of ignorance and nonsense. It is an area which we call…the Friend Zone. (buhd-oo-bud-up!)
By: Michael Hempen
Brought to you by: Cous’n Hemp’n Entertainment
Featuring: The Ghost of Rod Serling
Ghost of Rod Serling: Quitting time for loneliness. Time for romance now. Time for love. Time for a cool drink on a porch with the object of that love. Time to kiss her under the quiet rustle of leaf-laden trees that screen out the moon. And underneath your newfound devotion, behind the worshipful eyes of passion, hanging invisible over the summer night, is a horror without words. For this is the stillness before the storm. This is the eve of the end; and unbeknownst to you…this is The Friend Zone.
As time passed, I held out hope that Sofia would text me during the week; but she didn’t. What did it matter, I asked myself. I didn’t really know know her that well any damned way. Big whup; so a hundred and five pound Ukrainian blonde gave me a hand-job in the passenger seat of her Eastern European Mobster husband’s silver Mercedes SLS? (That may be the SECOND most amazing sentence I’ve ever composed.) I was over it.
I always feel like I should be a ‘chaser’. I mean, no romantic comedy film would EVER work out if some dude didn’t chase a woman who said ‘no’. Not in a rapey way, don’t get reactionary; you know what I mean. I just always feel like I was lucky to make it to the theater, I’m not gonna start jostling for front row seats. I see guys who do this and they look like assholes; so a woman tells me she’s out, well then I guess I’m out too. But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.
And then, a few weeks later when I’d gotten used to the idea that I wouldn’t hear from her again…it happened. I got the text. “Can we please be going back to the way it was?” I wanted SO desperately to ignore that text, to let sleeping dogs lie and NOT dig my emotions farther into the trench…but I’m weak people…WEAK I tell ya, you gotta help me!
Secretly though…(Whispering) between you me and Rod Serling over here…I KNEW that girl was gonna call me! You can’t RESIST the Hempen, ladies! I am everything and anything! I’m a baaaaaaaaad mutha “SHUTCHOMOUF!” (endzone dance, backflip, car explosion, fireworks).
I told Sofia to call me; when she did, I asked her what she meant by that. The way it was when she gave me a handjob? YES; we can DEFINITELY go back to the way that was. I realized that I was beginning to miss the symphony of her accent, where before I couldn’t stand an accent. She told me that she came over that night, with the intention of sleeping with me; she wanted for it to just be a booty call. She liked it when I told her to come over and fuck me (phrased demurely: “I like when you tell me to come fuck you, Michael.” oofa), it turned her on. But when she got to my place, she realized that she wanted more than just fucking, and that confused her. “I am very satisfy in my life right now and not looking to be committed into a relationship, we could be physical and only friend but you are already more to me.” Fuck, the Friend Zone is truly a GLOBAL phenomenon. Hell, it’s probably Universal. I imagine that somewhere out there, some space lady is telling a space guy: “I really like you as a FRIEND, Cokulon”
“So, I still have a chance?” I said, shoving my foot in my mouth until it came out my ass and wiggled its toes at me. “Yes, you have always had chance. Stop being so nice to me Michael, and we could be being good friends with all the benefits.” I love it when she says my name like that.
So I thought to myself “You’re an adult Mike, people have relationships like this all the time…Can you live with it?”
The answer? No. But in this instance? I was gonna try like hell to live with it. I mean, this would be a sexual boon on par with men landing on the moon, the invention of the microchip, or the Berlin wall coming down. This was a moment in vaginal history which would firmly cement my penis in the annals of ugly man greatness. This would be a story that my ugly grandchildren would someday tell THEIR ugly grandchildren and so on throughout the future. Friend Zone? Here I come!
As we talked on into the night, Sofia told me that besides not liking condoms, she can no longer get pregnant. Wait, WHAT? If I wasn’t sure before, I was damned well sure now. This woman is TINY, I think I’m being generous when I say 5’0”, which is great because her small hands made my average dork look like a fucking softball bat, and I gotta admit…that’s part of the attraction. Couple that with NO condom and the possibility of her pulling me close to her at some point and whispering heavily into my ear “cum inside me”, and fuggetaboutit! I’ve never wanted to have sex with a woman more in my life; but the thing about desire is that it can be wholly selfish, and I often find that in my selfishness; there’s always a cummupence.
Sofia and I made tentative plans to go out the next Thursday. I agonized throughout the week as to what we’d do. I wanted to get her flowers and take her someplace nice for our 3rd outing; and THIS is why it’s difficult for me to be in the friend zone. I’m ALWAYS looking to, not so much impress a woman, as show her a good time. I want a woman to go out with me and think “shit, I wasn’t expecting THAT.” When I called her on Wednesday to ask her what time she’d like to go out on Thursday, she told me “This is why I am not having a boyfriend. I don’t like to making plan, I will call you tomorrow when I am ready.”
Geez, wanna throw THAT in my face again? I wasn’t calling to ask her which banquet hall we should have our wedding reception in for fucks sake, I just wanted to know if I should eat dinner after work or would we be going OUT for dinner? Throwing a time stamp on the beginning of our evening would just be a nicety. After not hearing from her all day on Thursday, I cleaned the apartment when I got home and got myself ready for when and IF she would call…although not with NEARLY the amount of enthusiasm I did on previous evenings; but still dancing to the Thong Song as I showered.
She called me at 9:30 and asked if I’d still like to go out, and of course, I was like “Yeah…I guess. Have a few…y’know…IMORTANT things to do…but I guess that could be maybe ok.” Although I should have had my head examined. In my mind, all day, I pictured the two of us going out to dinner; talking, and then coming back to my place to watch a movie, during which I would eventually yawn while stretching, surreptitiously putting my arm around her. Man, do I have an ancient view of what a date should be or what? Next I’ll be asking her to wear my letter and eventually getting us separate beds like Lucy and Ricky.
Anyway, that fantasy was dashed when she told me she wanted to get high and stay in her neighborhood. She told me to meet her at a bar in Elmwood Park. Now, without pulling out and unfolding a map in front of you like a lost tourist, it would be hard to illustrate to you just how far that would be. I mean, it’s easy enough to get to, as It’s right off of Harlem Avenue, which I live 2 blocks away from. The problem is that it’s 40 minutes down Harlem Avenue.
But as I’ve said before, I’m always down to try something new, and although I would be shocked and disappointed at one point in the evening…the evening itself didn’t disappoint at all.
This parts gonna get a little heavy, just a warning.
I drove down Harlem and parked near a Latino nightclub on Grand Avenue, where she asked me to meet her. Like on our previous date, I went in and had a drink. At this point I just didn’t give a fuck if she was drinking or not…I NEEDED a drink. This nightclub was beautiful but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it. There were deep black sofa chairs set up in circles around dark mahogany wood tables. The lights were dim and an 8 person salsa band was setting up on a small stage to the right of the entrance. Hispanic men wearing silk shirts and brimmed hats talked with beautiful Hispanic women in tight dresses, ready to dance the night away.
I sat at the bar watching what looked like a Miami nightclub in the ‘80s unfold before me…when Sofia walked in.
I want you to forget, for a moment, ALL of the ass kissing I seem to have done in these tales about Sofia. Forget if you will the beauty I’ve described in her body…her face…and how her outfits complimented those features; forget it all and marvel for the first time at what I saw that Thursday night at 10:32 PM at this nightclub in Elmwood Park.
Sofia came in, gliding elegantly 5 inches above the floor as she walked effortlessly on high heels. She wore the tiniest denim mini skirt I’d ever seen, which was more of a belt than a skirt. Above it, a tight white sleeveless silk shirt clung to her perfect figure, and a white and purple scarf adorned her neck, wrapped around it several times and hanging low to cover her breasts. It was a perfect mixture of shocking exposure and withheld delights. She wore no hat this night, exposing the black roots on her hair that flowed down into the most beautiful blonde hair I’ve ever seen, which was lightly curled. Every eye in the club turned to her, including the band. Is there ANY place I could go with this woman in which she wouldn’t be the most beautiful woman there?
I turned into a cartoon wolf of desire as she walked across the dance floor to meet me at the bar; a desire that threatened to expose itself like an old man, naked but for a trench coat on a subway car. On what planet is THIS woman walking towards ME. My years of lovelorn misfortune evaporated as my winning lottery ticket came blowing in on a breeze. Usually I can curb my desire, tell myself “she’s just a woman”, but in this case I wanted her so bad that I could feel my stomach doing summersaults, I could hear my heart quickening in my chest as every other sound in the room faded out and Sofia came towards me in slow motion; my mind capturing that image to compare all future dates to.
She flowed into my arms, and looked up at me with that smile “Are they watching?” she melodied. I nodded my head and kissed her, right there in front of everyone. I. did. not. give. a. fuck. who. saw. it. I’m being serious folks: audible gasps. Sofia slowly brought her mouth to my ear; goosebumps formed on my neck as her hot breath whispered “I’m going to fuck you tonight, Michael.” I was speechless, once again.
There was no doubt, no hesitation and no need to speak. I would fuck Sofia in the bathroom of this nightclub if I could, in an alley outside the bar, in my car, hers, I didn’t care…all I knew is that I wanted her in that moment more than I wanted anything in any moment throughout my time on this planet. Friend zone, fuck zone, girlfriend or just a friend; tonight, I was willing to be that man outside of Exit with a cigarette in his mouth if it meant getting closer to Sofia.
The salsa band started to play and the club went back to business. I took Sofia’s hand and led her to a chair at the bar, and when she crossed her legs on the bar stool, about 90 percent of her ass was exposed to the dance floor in front of us. Heads snapped as men AND women did double takes, not quite believing the ferocity and boldness in which she carried herself, even while sitting. She was high, which just made it easier to make her laugh; “Joke, joke, self deprecation, joke…COMPLIMENT!” I told myself….”Stick to the formula.”
I ordered her a drink and we laughed for the next hour. The band was great with the bongos and the cow bell and the what not; and Sofia fit in perfectly to the atmosphere and ambiance of the bar. Her laughter filled the air like pixy dust between songs. She made sexual overtures to me and at one point even showed me the tiny pink underwear she was wearing just underneath that tiny skirt. People…believe me when I tell you I was ready to fuck her ON the bar. This was in the bag, a sure thing. I just needed to make sure I didn’t fuck it up. I forced myself to say all the right things, to SHOW her how much I was enjoying her company, to not think about being in the friend zone. I stayed IN the moment; future be damned. I wanted this woman and tonight I would give her not just the best of me…but ALL of me.
After watching the movements of people mambo-ing it up, and feeling the beat in my soul, I led Sofia to the dance floor where we dance-fucked and laughed until the sweat glistened on our brows. Slow songs, Salsa, Labamba, we were all over that shit and it was great.
3 songs in, Sofia told me that she wanted to go outside and smoke a cigarette. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and asked her to wait for me as I strapped my hulking boner down to my left leg, which forced me to goose step as I came back into the bar like John Cleese in the Institute of Silly Walks. We smoked outside, and Sofia moved her body to the sound of the music coming from inside the bar. I couldn’t help but admire her; not just her beauty but her spirit, her freedom of expression, and as always…her laughter. How much longer must I continue this farce? To pretend my longing to feel her against me wasn’t a lecherous pervert standing between us? My desire to bed this woman threatened to explode like a volcano. Trying to stop objectifying her, I brought myself back down to earth by asking her questions. When we talked on the phone earlier, she told me that she was having a bad day, and as we talked outside the nightclub; my desire nearly bursting through me, I asked her if her day had gotten better.
“This is wonderful, Michael.” she told me, coming close to me, putting her hand on my chest, and balancing herself on one leg with the other playfully kicked back like a nurse kissing a soldier in old post World War II ticker tape parade photo. “My morning was SO bad; I had bang-over…” I didn’t really pay attention to what she said after that, as I cocked my head to the side wondering if I heard her correctly. When she stopped talking, I asked “Bang-over? Surely you mean HANG-over?” Sofia laughed again and marijuanaly turned around in a circle, as she came around to face me, she said, VERY non-chalantly “No, is bang-over. This is where I am very tired from fuck all night.” At least that’s how I heard the definition; and then she strutted back towards the bar.
The bouncer opened the door for her and as she walked back in, I stood outside with awe rippling across my slack jawed face; I looked up into the unforgiving night sky and screamed “KHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! (khhaaannn! Khhhhaaan!)” while shaking my fists in the air.
WHY did you have to tell me that? My once proud boner disintegrated and turtled itself up inside of me. I can’t fuck her now! I JUST CAN’T! I couldn’t shake the image of some unibrowed Ukrainian calling card salesman fucking her the night before; his red adidas track suit crumpled up on the floor near her bed. PLUS she doesn’t like condoms and sperm stays inside of a woman for up to 5 days! Call it OCD, but I wasn’t gonna fuck her using some other guy’s Ukrainian semen as a lubricant. AHHHHHH! My dreams were dashed. I thought about a scenario in which Sophia slept with other men, but never thought I’d hear about it and especially not that she would do it JUST the night before.
How many times had she USED that term, I kept wondering to myself. And how prolific in her ‘bang overs’ must she be if I’VE never heard of it? I have my OWN dictionary of terms with words like this in it, I’ve researched and travelled the globe to come up with funny and unique sexual plays on common words and in ALL my travels, in all my communications with communist dictators and terror cells TRYING to get them to open up some of their unique brand of sexual humor, I’ve never come across ‘Bang-over’. The only explanation had to be that she fucked SO much, that she had to coin a term to describe how she felt in the morning. I’d not only been out-vocabularized by her, but outwitted, humiliated, and dejected all in the same moment.
Part of me was relieved that she told me because if she hadn’t? I might have been down there lapping up sperm like a kitten with a bowl of milk. Part of me was horrified that she told me…because I SO wanted to fuck her…oh God, I SO wanted to…(head hung low in hands sobbing)… somebody, please help me.
Well, we went back inside and I turned off the desire like a light switch, looking upon Sofia as just some hot chick in a bar, like I would have if I didn’t know her, instead of the hottest chick to ever walk up to me in a bar. Of COURSE something had to be wrong with this. Fuck. I stopped drinking and I walked her to her car at around 1:00. She smiled, flirted, played with her hair, and showed me her underwear again as I made uncomfortable small talk with her. She asked if I’d like to follow her back to her place, or if I’d like to ride with her. I told her I wasn’t feeling well and should probably go home. After five minutes of pleasantries, I said fair well. I showed Sophia how to fist bump because frankly, unless I had a gallon of Purell, I didn’t even wanna touch her. Then I went home to beat my dick like it owed me money.
Sofia NEVER said to me that she hadn’t fucked anyone since her husband left, I just assumed (Or heard what I wanted to hear) that, as I tried to interpret her jumbled vocabulary. She was NOTHING if not incredibly honest with me from the beginning about NOT wanting to be in a relationship, and I understood that as my penis frothed at the mouth. Now that I look back on it, what I think she said was “I no longer being the way I was” which must mean that she used to sleep with a lot of guys, but she didn’t want to do that anymore…I don’t know; I’m not an interpreter.
This is the problem with the friend zone; when a man is interested in a woman who puts him in there, he will spend countless hours, even days, trying to decipher the meanings behind her terms and phrases. We’ll try to reason with ourselves that an innocuous statement means more than it actually does or that a meaningful and straight forward statement like “I have bang-over” isn’t as bad as it sounds. We do this even with women who speak perfect English.
So that was it. Sofia texted me a few times; said she was kidding about the bang-over, said that she could feel me go cold toward her after she told me that, and then tried reasoning with me that in Europe this in no big deal. Well, you’re in America now honey, and I have a modicum of penile integrity.
Every time she sent a text, I deleted her number from my text and call history. Why bother? I wasn’t mad, but I just reasoned that it couldn’t go any further in any case. I’m not really into being with someone who fucks around. That’s great for people who are into it, and I hold no harsh feelings towards Sofia, but her being married, AND sleeping with other guys just wasn’t going to lead to a place where I wanted to be with a woman. So, better to put this out of my mind and chalk it up to another funny story for YOU to read about, and another dreadful experience of missed opportunity for ME to live with.
Ghost of Rod Serling: Mr. Michael Hempen, a romantic in a world of fast food sex; a product of a bygone era in which men were men and treating a woman with respect was the honorable thing to do. Mr. Michael Hempen who has found out through trial and error –mostly error- that with all its sexual ambiguity, with all of its devotional deprivation, it may well be that this is as good as it’s going to get. Love notwithstanding, sex has much to offer. Tonight’s case in point…in The Friend Zone.
Deleted Scene 1
After an hour…there’s nothing sadder than a flaccid penis at the bottom of a popcorn box. That’s the first thing they teach you at clown college, in fact I think that’s the clown college motto which adorns their hallowed gates on a bronze plaque: “There’s nothing sadder than a flaccid penis at the bottom of a popcorn box” – Yukko The Clown.
Deleted Scene 2
However, a woman who SAIS she’ll fuck me, but just wants to be my friend gives me hope because I have to think that if I bring the ruckus to that ass…she’ll stick around.
Deleted Scene 3
I mean hell, Jesus was the friendliest mother fucker EVER according to Catholics, but he wasn’t JUST FRIENDS with Mary Magdolin…he was fucking her.
Deleted Scene 4
if I were to fuck a woman as a ‘friend’, I have a fear that I’m going to whisper in her ear as I’m kissing her neck “I can’t imagine wanting a woman more than I want you right now”, and she’s gonna put her hand on my chest, push me back and say with her brows furrowed: “whoa buddy, just friends; remember?” I mean, where’s the line?