"Queen of the Friendzone"

This post was originally shared on November 4, 2014.

Let me paint you a picture... Grab your discman, a copy of Teenbeat and travel back in time with me.

A chilly fall evening in late 2004, the backseat of the Hudson's Chevy Trailblazer. Dad's driving, Mom's sitting shotgun, I'm in the back seat squished up against the passenger side window, gasping for a breath of fresh air while the boy of my dreams, who also happened to be one of my close friends, and one of my "he's so not my type" friends go 50 shades of not cool in well more than their share of the seat. On the 45 minute drive home from a ski and snowboard preview and swap event, I had the ultimate pleasure of making awkward small talk with my parents to cover over the sounds of smacking lips and raging teenage hormones  just inches from their backs. Moment by moment, tongue lashing after another, my heart slowly drained of all hope and filled with titanium. 

Of course, after 24 hrs of Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" album on repeat, I signed on to AIM, put up the original status update. 
"here i am, once again
i'm torn into pieces.
can't deny it, can't pretend
just thought you were the one.
broken up, deep inside
but you won't get to see the tears I cry
behind these hazel eyes"

Teenage angst in lyrics...nailed it! Great job, Kelly! That'll show him that we don't need him!

We "showed him" for a good afternoon until a "hey" message popped onto the screen. And just like that, things were back to where they were. Comfortable in our friendship, me on the sidelines, coaching him on how to win the girl of his dreams as he was the boy in mine. With each move, I'd hope that one day he would realize, in a When Harry Met Sally kind of way, that I was the one he was really meant for. 

Damn you, Nora Ephron and your cinematic brilliance.

I'd like to say that 10 years later, if I were to run into this man...guy...boy, I'd have the courage to admit said childhood crush, we could laugh and say adulty things like "oh, those were the days" and "kids these days!" However, if I'm being honest, I'd probably turn to mush, start singing Nickelback (it was the ONE summer they were popular!) and feel my heart explode with lust in my chest. Now, I realize with posting this out there in the internet "cloud", just like celebrity tit pics, this could essentially get passed around to this boy/guy/man. Eh, not the worst story I could share about him, so you're welcome? 

Ten years later, as I sit writing this, my life's stories since then have all been pretty similar, just change the guy. They've always been the boy friend, I've always been the friend who was a girl. Whenever the thought of expressing my feelings came up, I hid behind the thought of ruining the friendship but looking back I just have regrets and questions of what if in the place of those friendships. 

So now, where do I turn? When assigning blame for this conundrum, I'd like to reference every healthy marriage ever...you all have ruined LOVE. Every couple's answer to the trick of a happy marriage is "I married my best friend!" Well then can someone please explain to me what the hell I'm doing wrong? 

How do men differentiate between friend and more? And duh, it's sex. Right, but while many would like to believe that's the number one thing that brings a couple together or the thing that they spend the most time doing, I'd like to seriously question that. 
A) Nice try
B) There's no, literally, effin' way
C) There's still another 23 hours and 45 minutes left in the day

I may be a virgin, but I'm not stupid. So now, what's left? 

Of course I have my fabulous girlfriends who've helped me get over Marisa Cooper's lifeless body in Ryan's arms on The OC, talked me out of going full on Keri Russell perm, and encouraged me to "put yourself out there" with online dating. Even after rounds of Fantasy Bachelor and boxes of Franzia, my friendships with men are different. 

With a brain that's about 85% dude and 15% middle school Jimmy Fallon's EW! character Sara (no h, cus h's are EW!) I enjoy the ease of talking sports or making jokes compared to the gossip of who's doing who or what Kardashian has had her butt dimples removed. I can't keep up with what Real Housewives are actually "real" versus which ones I should shun on Twitter. But here's the problem with this brain of mine, once feelings are involved I can no longer be "cool Marge, the friend". I get all "OMG is he looking at me? He totally is! Wait, I have something in my teeth. Ugh we blew it!" Resulting in the Kelly Clarkson playlist, hours of Gilmore Girl-ing and Pinterest. 

While flirting is awkward and completely embarrassing, but normal as per several Buzzfeed posts, I will continue to put myself out there while also enjoying the friendships that I have. And hell, if one day down the line, I happen to fall in love with a man of my past, I promise to apologize to Nora and sell the rights to my story to Mindy Kaling to write a movie about it.