Our guy friends are probably some of the most useful people in our lives. They're always up for a good time when your bae'd up gal pals are busy because they're well... bae'd up.
They send you unsolicited hilarious memes and gifs on whatsapp. They often see your makeup-free face and wig-free mane. They pretend to be your boyfriend when drunk guys in the club try their luck with you.
They're featured regularly on your Instagram stories.
And they're always there to give you their brutally honest two cents' worth about that guy who seldom responds to your texts, yet you keep lying to yourself about him.
For some of us a close guy friend is like that twin brother we never had.
So it's super creepy when people ask if we're dating, have slept together or if we're planning on doing so.
Perhaps the thought of sleeping with a girl friend has crossed a few guys' minds (and vice versa), but surely there's so much more to our friendships than this kind of wishful thinking.
Besides, asking this question plays into the false notion that the default position for any male-female interaction is sexual attraction. The notion that men and women cannot coexist without eventually wanting to jump each other's bones.
This is why the concept of the 'friend zone' is also a fallacy. The friend zone is just an imaginary place people put themselves in because they can't fathom how we can literally just want to be friends and nothing more with people of the opposite sex.
Okay, but before it comes across as though I am completely dismissive of people who genuinely feel that they have been friend zoned, let's unpack this term.
So initially the friend zone mostly applied to men since the daunting task of making a move has always been theirs to carry through (because silly and archaic gender roles).
And what this meant is that some guys would often come at you from that "we should totally hang out this Friday" angle without ever explicitly calling it a date in the hope that a girl will eventually realise that they actually like the guy. And live happily ever after and whatnot.
However, these feelings sometimes just don't develop. It does also happen the other way around too, but either way, whoever was doing the pursuing often finds themselves settling for friendship.
Sidebar: I hate that I used the word "settling" as if friendship is not good enough, but that's just how this theory works.
The problem with this whole 'friend zone' phenomenon is that it perpetuates a culture of entitlement to feelings or sexual relations, which in turn feeds the assumption that platonic male/female relationships are just a facade.
Why can't friendships just be the beginning and the end of it? Why do we assume that one of the two parties involved must have romantic or sexual interest in the other?
It's probably thanks to movies like Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, When Harry Met Sally and Just Friends, where in some of these movies childhood friendships ultimately blossomed into marriage.
And there was no mention of the friend zone in these movies by the way - just genuine friendship.
And while this does indeed happen in real life, it does not necessarily make it the archetype for all friendships between heterosexual men and women.
According to the Telegraph, the fact that what they refer to as "cross-sex friendships" are a relatively new (I know, right) phenomenon makes the authenticity of these friendships quite questionable.
This is due to several studies revealing that "emerging adult males reported more attraction to their friend... regardless of their own or their friend's relationship status."
Be that as it may, we really can just be mates with peeps of the opposite gender, (although I do think Jonathan Cheban is secretly in love with Kim K).
I guess I just find it tiring that society continues to normalise this mindset of men not being able to see us beyond what we can offer them sexually or romantically.
Yes, such problematic men exist, but genuine male friends are also not mythical creatures.