Over the years, women in Japan have used a lot of terms to categorize their male friends. Back in the ’90s, for example, if a woman wanted to go on a driving date, she’d contact her asshii-kun, so called because he’d have the “automative” to help her get around, and for those times when she wanted to go out for a meal, she’d call up her messhi-kun (“meal guy”) to wine and dine her.
Like dating and relationships, though, language evolves, and now there’s a new set of terms for characterizing the men in women’s lives. Even for Japanese people it can be hard to keep up with the new terminology, and that’s exactly what happened recently, following a segment that appeared on a Japanese TV program.
The tweet above shows terms used for five different types of “friends” — in situations where you’re more than friends but not seriously dating — characterized by the level of intimacy you’re able to have with them. Let’s take a look at the five categories below.
Hafure (“Hug Friend”)
This term is used for people you can hug, which may sound a little odd to the rest of the world, but here in Japan, it’s not customary to hug family and friends, so a hug can be quite an intimate act.
Kisufure (“Kiss Friend”)
This term is for people you can kiss, which is another level-up on the scale of intimacy in a world where friends and family generally don’t even peck one another on the cheek.
Sofure (”Soine Friend”)
This refers to people you can soine, or sleep next to (without engaging in sexual activity). According to pundits, this act is something you can enjoy on special occasions like birthdays, as it gives people a similar level of intimacy as a post-coital lie-down, but without the feelings of guilt that may come after doing the deed, potentially ruining the friendship for good.
Kamofure (“Camouflage Friend”)
This describes those you can pretend to date, under the guise of friendship as a camouflage. The merits for this type of relationship include the fact that you can go out on dates that aren’t officially discussed as being dates, and even hold hands, hug, or kiss, without having to deal with the pressure of officially dating. However, this can lead to confusion for a lot of men.
Sanfure (“Sandbag Friend”)
“Sandbag” is the Japanese word for punching bag, and as such, this term is reserved for people you can use as a punching bag — mentally, not physically. This is great for women who want someone to listen as they unload all their stresses on them, but many say this is the worst category for men to be in, as they do all the giving and get nothing in return.
There are a number of other “friends” that don’t appear on the televised list above, including “Birifure” (“Rehabilitation Friend“), who helps you rehabilitate after a breakup, and “Sefure” (“Sex Friend“), a friend with all-the-way benefits. And though some people will be more familiar with these terms than others, there was one term discussed on the TV Program that puzzled a number of people online.
▼ That term is “Ofure“
Ofure stands for “Ofuro Friend”, meaning a friend you take baths with. And that’s not necessarily referring to mixed-gender public bathing, but private bathing, like the type you take at home.
As soon as people online heard about “Ofure”, they were quick to express their exhaustion at having to keep up with all these confusing terms, while others pointed out that if you’re getting naked with your “ofure“, chances are it’s a term that’s simply a euphemism for “sefure“.
Despite “Ofure” being a term that those in the know have been using for a while, people online were surprised to hear about it, and even more surprised to see that one in five women surveyed have a male friend that they take baths with.
While 49 percent of respondents said they didn’t have an “ofure”, another 31 percent had no idea what an “ofure” was, and this was echoed in a separate Twitter user’s survey on the topic, which showed that even more people – 75 percent at time of writing – didn’t know what a “bath friend” was.
The journey from friends to lovers can be a tricky road to navigate, and while terms like these can be hard to keep up with, at least they act like a marker by the side of the road to clarify where you’re at in the dating game.
If you prefer to ride in the fast lane, though, you can always try marriage without dating, where Japanese women who can’t be bothered with the hassle of dating simply tie the knot with a friend or acquaintance.
Source: My Game News Flash
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