The friend zone

You’re a cunt. That’s what she told me the first time she met me.

It was after a few hours, and a few beers, sure. And we had discussed how Australians are possibly the only people who use the word as a term of affection, but you don’t often hear women use it.

Why did she call me a cunt?

It was apparently because I had friend zoned her. I said it was ok to be friends with a girl, and she called me a cunt.

We met on Tinder, a dating app which needs no introduction. It’s trashy, but I’ve never met a trashy girl on it. She shared a picture of Charles Bukowski and I had no choice but to talk to her.

The bar in Soho where we met was called the French House and it only served half pints. We sat a a wooden table upstairs, which had a tabletop which rocked back and forth between us.

‘A woman could not get away with writing stuff like Bukowski’, she told me.

‘You’re right, there would be so much more judgement, but Bukowski was an ugly human, there’s no doubt.’

This pretty and petite brunette from Slovakia was six years in London and about to embark on a five year post graduate course in coupling psychotherapy. She likes literature, I like literature. She likes beer, I like beer. She likes indie rock, I like indie rock. She likes motorbikes, it like motorbikes – but I didn’t get a chance to tell her that last one.

The novel she was carrying was about Ginsberg and his beat generation pals living in a hotel in Paris, doing nothing but drinking, socialising and being creative.

‘You could never do that today,’ she said, ‘it’s too expensive.’

‘I know, it’s shit isn’t it, romance is dead. How do literary heroes survive these days?’

‘Let’s start up our own hotel.’

‘I’m in.’

Things were going ok, but this is where I may have moved into her friend zone. I smoke, she doesn’t. I take drugs, she doesn’t. What else can you add to this list? Probably a few more things.

Soon we moved to another bar deeper in Soho, the Toucan, and sat downstairs. The bar ran along one wall and there was room for just two other tables apart from the bar stools. It had a bohemian feel.

She told me about her Aussie bogan friends and about some guys she dated. There was the budding rock star she became tired of, the Jew who wanted to marry a Jew, but wanted her for the time being, the loud and overconfident midget and the guy who hadn’t kissed her after six dates.

She asked me about my Tinder experience and I tried to play it cool, but the sad little tale of heartbreak I had been carrying around for months blurted out. I’d drunk too much.

‘You just friend zoned me,’ she said. ‘but I’m going to help you get her back. I’ll be your emotional support.’

‘I’m never getting her back, and I don’t want to be in your friend zone.’

This was an infinitely unfair situation, considering she had just told me about the guys she dated, but I dug myself into a bigger hole by unloading my Notting Hill Carnival experience from two days earlier, when I picked up a girl.

Yep, in the friend zone now, which is a deep shame. This city is filled with millions of women, but few like this one.

‘There is nothing wrong with being friends with women,’ I said, and meant it.

‘You’re a cunt,’ she replied.

We exited the bar, and as we did I was suddenly very glad I was in London, and glad I ended up on a date with this girl.

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