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July 6, 1996

The Friends Zone is something that has been a part of my life for well over a year now. It was born out of some random silliness on the Friends Mailing List in February 1995. The story goes something like this...

I asked the question "If the fans of the X-Files are X-Philes and the fans of Star Trek are Trekkers then what are Friends fans called?

After much discussion, we finally settled on three names: Crapweasels (referring to a name Ross calls Paolo in one episode), Frienatics (a combining of Friends and Fanatics) and The Friends Zone (referring to a quote from "The One with the Blackout" in which Joey tells Ross he cannot ask Rachel out because he has waited to long and is now in the "Friend Zone." "I'm not in the Zone!" "You are the Mayor of the zone!"

Once the Crapweasels and Frienatics in the Friends Zone were settled with their names, someone suggested that I, as the curator of the Friends Web Site and the FAQ and Episode guide, etc., should be the Mayor of the Friends Zone. On the heels of that statement other people began declaring their positions in the Friends Zone. Then it took off.

Now we have a Zone filled with all kinds of people who run shops, take care of other people, sing, write poetry, and just about anything else you can imagine. Hard to believe that a TV Sitcom would spawn such a bizarre virtual world, but it did.

Fast forward to July 1996:

When Lisa invited me and Ann to a gathering of zoners in the DC area (and told me that my best friend from High School, who she went to college with, would also be there) I decided to finally go and meet some of these people. I had known them electronically but had not really gotten "into" the zone as much. It was something seperate from my life. A thing on the side. Something interesting.

I was very surprised. These people are wonderfully friendly, warm, and welcoming. After some hesitant first steps, I have begun forging strong ties with a number of new, close friends.

The best of the four days, for me, was the pool party. Just hanging around talking and splashing with people and slowly lifting the veils we hide ourselves behind was a truly magical experience.