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People often talk about the “friend-box”. The idea being that men fall into two simple categories those you’d date, and those you are friends with. I think things are slightly more complicated than that. For me all men full into five simple categories (or boxes).

1. The “I’d go there” Box

Sub-boxes: “Currently going there”, “Went there, wish I was still going there”, “Haven’t been there, but I’d really like to”

It’s very easy to understand who fits into this group. All the men that I’d like to shag (or date). It also includes men that I have shagged, and wish to go there with again.

Examples from my life include the Flying Englishman, the cute IT guy from my old work, my high school crush, the Kid, the teacher (he’s the latest one. Not my teacher, he’s a teacher by profession).

2. The “I’ve already been there, and have no intention of returning.” Box

Sub-boxes: “Highly Recommended that other girls should go there”, “Don’t go near them with a ten-foot poll”

Again it’s simple. This is the group of men that I’ve already been there with, but no-longer understand their appeal. But I live with the strange knowledge that I once (or repeatedly) saw them naked.

This is the smallest category, and only has a few members.

Examples in my life include: The Ex, Birthday Sex Boy, the mountain man I once had sex with on a exotic holiday.

3. The “I’m not digging it, but I totally understand why another girl would” Box 

Sub-boxes: “I wish I could be into him, but I’m just not”, “If it weren’t for my friend/sister, I’d be there”, “Your lovely, but it’d never work”, “I’ve never seen him like that”, “I’ve never seen him like that and I’m sure the feeling is mutual”

This is by far the largest group, and contains the majority of my male acquaintance. Basically all the men that I’m personally not into. However if someone else wanted to go there, I’d totally understand their desire. This is the category where the majority of my friends boyfriends are placed, and most importantly the majority of my close male friends.

When men are “Friend-boxed” this is most likely where they have been placed.

4. The “Cannot understand someone’s desire to go there” Box

Sub-boxes: “Indifference”, “physically unattractive”, “active dislike”, “Why did she go there?”

Probably the most unfortunate category for a man to full in. This category is for men I find actively repulsive, or simply cannot see anything sexually appealing about them what so ever. This repulsion may be due to physical appearance, but is also often brought on by personality. Men that are overly manipulative or abusive are extreme examples. Could also just be that acquaintance that is overly overly awkward. Sometimes I have shallow reasons like a guy I knew with the worst case of eczema I’ve seen in my life (I do feel guilty when my reasons are that shallow, but I can’t help it).

When these men enter relationships I’m usually left in shock. Sometimes upon entering a relationship I am able to see their merits as a boyfriend, and they may leave the category. These have usually been misplaced  in this box because I’d previously (at my own error) over-looked their merits.

For others, it simply reinforces my lack of understanding as to why someone would go there. This usually happens in the case of men who have been placed in this box because of an active dislike. An example is the boyfriend of an ex-flatmate, who I like to call the “pompous-wanker”. Now the pompous-wanker is one of those people who always puts himself up at the expense of the truth. If he was Pinocchio, his nose would be so long, he could start a business selling the excess wood to make paper (and in his estimation the paper would be only of the finest quality and be in use creating reading resources for impoverished children in the remotest villages of The Democratic Republic of the Congo). Unfortunately my friend has never seemed to realize the tall-tales he tells about his brilliance aren’t anything but the absolute truth. My inability to accept her boyfriend has lead to a rift in our friendship, and to this day I do not understand why she wanted to go there. The pompous-wanker sits in the very center of this box.

This box is not a friend box.

5. The “Men without penises” Box  

Sub boxes: “Too-lovely to exist”, “Like a Brother”, “you are so lovely do you have a drop of testosterone in your body

This is a group of men who I simply forget have penises. Men I see so platonically they are become like brothers. Furthermore the whole idea of them being sexual beings becomes rather alarming. The classic example of this is a friend of mine I will call Mr Lovely. I’ve been close friends with Mr Lovely since we were 12. We’ve been thru so much together, that I simply can no-longer fathom the existence of his penis. What’s more, as his name suggests, he is the loveliest person I’ve ever met. So lovely, that I’m sure he doesn’t have the necessary testosterone required for male genitalia.

When “men without penises” enter relationships, I am genuinely happy for them. They are some of the men that I hold dearest and love the most. I’m sure that they would make any girl happy. However, when it comes to anything nasty I’m sure that they only ever cuddle and nothing more.

You could say that the “men without penises” box is the “friend box” in it’s most pure form.

“Can I move category, or am I stuck there for life?” I hear men asking. 

The categories aren’t restricting and at different phases in my life men can jump between them.

Here are some examples of how the categories function dynamically:

the Ex obviously used to be in “I’d go there” box and is now solidly in the “I’ve already been there, and have no intention of returning” box.

Birthday Sex boy once sat in the largest box, the “I’m not digging it, but I totally understand why another girl would” box. Through his advances he manage to wiggle his way into “I’d go there” box, for an evening. Then he was quickly being placed into the I’ve already been there, and have no intention of returning” box.

Friend-Box Boy is a good friend of mine, who I love dearly, but he didn’t luck out in terms of physical appearance. I simple struggle to see how any girl could find him even remotely physically attractive. Therefore when we met he was sitting right in the middle of the “Cannot understand someone’s desire to go there” box. Upon discovering he was the biggest sweetie ever, he moved into the “men without penises” box. Because I don’t like to think of lovely people as repulsive (I know, so nice of me).

My sister’s boyfriend is a man who for me would probably quickly fall into the “cannot understand someone’s desire to go there” box. However, observing the way he makes my sister happy he moved into the “I’m not digging it, but I totally understand why another girl would” box.

The Sexy Brit was a very sexy brit (and friend of the Flying Englishman). Because he is a very sexy brit he naturally immediately fell into the “I’d go there” box. Later I realised that he was keen on Addison. As he hadn’t made any advances on me and I was happy for Addison, he had moved his way from the “I’d go there” box to the “I’m not digging it, but would totally understand why another girl would” box. This is a special subcategory of this box. Men I find attractive, but I’m not digging because I want my friends too instead.

The Spit-y Brit (another friend of the Flying Englishman) has a problem where when intoxicated he spits on people when he talks. When the girls and I first met him he was drunk and spit-y (hence the name). So you guessed it, he was quickly placed in the  “cannot understand someone’s desire to go there” box (by all of us). Because he lives with the Flying Englishman, I’ve since met him on several sober occasions. Turns out, when he’s not drunk and spit-y, he’s absolutely lovely.  So I now place him in the “I’m not digging it, but I totally understand why another girl would” box.

Obviously some categories are easier to move between. It’s unlikely someone from “Cannot understand someone’s desire to go there” will ever be moved into “I’d go there”. But upon discovering some terrible personality trait someone could be moved from “I’d go there” to “Cannot  understand someone’s desire to go there”.

Sometimes we have another problem. When a man (boy) falls into a box, and we know that he’d be better off in another box. But try and you might you can’t move him.

As I explained above Birthday Sex Boy is in the  “I’ve already been there, and have no intention of returning” box, but I can’t help but think he should be in the “I’d go there” box because he is absolutely lovely, caring, and clearly still into me. On the other hand The Flying Englishman (a man I recently dated, who decided to ghost me) is still sitting firmly in the “I’d go there box”, when he should have been ousted into the “I’ve already been there and have no intention of returning” box (It’d save me some emotional turmoil).

– Lillian