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The Friend Ladder

A Poem by Travis Cottreau

She starts with, "I think we should just be friends."
I raise an eyebrow a little too quickly
And then lower it a little too slowly
Before I think of how to make amends
She asks, "What? What are you thinking?"
What the hell, I'll try honesty and see how it ends
Single guys and single girls can NOT be friends
The whole concept is a bit crazy
It's a bit like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
It's all explained by Ladder Theory
Look it up at
For politeness, I will summarize quickly
Imagine a glowing ladder floating by a guy's head
each girl ranked by how much he wants her in bed.

"Don't be silly!", she says, "I have lots of guy friends who are single."
But I shake my head at her naive little jingle
You're on all their ladders, it's just not outright stated
Believe me when I say, they've all pictured you naked.

Now, here's the kicker, it's different with women
They have two ladders, of course, both are hidden
There's the "good ladder" and the "friend ladder"
Now, you want me on your friend ladder
I don't want to walk that street
I would rather we go our separate ways
Or, before I know it, when next we meet
You'll give me the kiss of death
Like calling me "cute" or "sweet"
I'm sure you think that "sweet" and "cute"
Are fine compliments for a guy, worthy of a life-long bond
But it's just a rotten piece of fruit
In no time, it will all go wrong
And you'll be giving him the boot
Or maybe singing him this very same song

And then some bad boy would pique your interest
Or maybe riches make your heart race quickest
And all your guy friends are cursed to damnation
The fact that you think it works differently,
That it's all friendships and chivalry
Just twists the knife on an already bad situation

The pause is short, only a few seconds
Then a sign that I've wasted my breath,
That this conversation has died a painful death
She ends with, "I STILL think we should just be friends."

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