I've been a lurker for a while, but I'm posting this thread to get some outside perspectives on a particular situation (and to provide insight into the friendzone for those of you trying to escape it).
THIS IS LONG SO FAIR WARNING
I'm a rising senior in a four year university and I took a class this spring where there was a prof who taught the lecture and TAs who taught the recitation sections. I noticed my TA was a looker on day 1 and casually developed some rapport with her over the course of the semester. I've found ladies love my cooking/baking so I made her a pie at the end of the semester as a gift for being a good TA. She responded well in person (body language, flirty discussions, etc) when I brought it/came and got the dish/saw her around the department. We emailed back and forth throughout this period, with a lot of teasing involved from both of us. Since she was my TA/is a grad student, and she's 3 years older than me, I knew I had to slowly break down the social barriers and her wariness of students hitting on her...so I didn't go for a date early on because it wouldn't have worked.
Then I asked her if she wanted a tour of my home city, which is 45 minutes from the college town, where she was teaching over the summer (because she's from elsewhere). She accepted and I took her on a tour/out to dinner. It went well and both of us were flirty throughout the evening, though it wasn't what I'd call a full-on date. I had her number by this point and after that night, we were texting daily. She came to my dad's house the next week, randomly with an hour warning, and brought us cobbler. I watched a show with her and the flirting continued, but no Kino because I sensed there were still barriers. I went over to her apartment later that week and chilled with her a bit. After, I decided to test her with an aggressive set of texts and she friendzoned me.
Now this is when most stories typically end, but I'd been in this situation before and I knew what to do. I played it down and said that I was fine with being friends and responded, still lightly flirting, as if that wasn't my concern in those aggressive texts. She said OK, cool. She texted me that night saying that one of her friends flaked on going to see fireworks with her. I was at a party and I texted her back with a short text saying that I was at party (aka busy) and trying to dodge an ex. She responded with a long text about how she's on good terms with her ex's and how she found something to do instead of fireworks. I didn't respond. I went out of town the next day and she texted me daily with me responding once per day with sh1tty responses. When I got back in town, she demanded that we hang out and watch her favorite show. I told her I had a date early that week, which I did (a girl I met at that party), and that it'd have to be midweek.
She came over midweek, dressed nicely with makeup carefully applied, and we chilled, watched a movie, etc. She was very flirty and touchy throughout. On the couch, she began cuddling with me as the night went on so I started not-just-friends kino. She not only let it happen, but got closer and didn't leave until 1:30 AM. We texted throughout the week and then I went and hung out with her at her apartment later that week. She did the same thing and I was even more aggressive with the kino, with no negative response from her.
Given her body language, her response to my response to her friendzoning ("haha I'm not jelly about this date you're going on but I clearly am"), and her acceptance of increasingly aggressive kino, I think that the friendzone has been escaped. So, I think the lesson is: play friendzoning cool, play the jealousy card carefully, gauge response, elevate flirting/kino, gauge response. If it works, you're golden.
Problem is that right as this happens, she went to Europe and she's going to be out of town until Aug 20th ish. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but that's a long damn trip. I can't text her either since it's Europe and I'm in the US. So, I emailed her after a week of her being gone and just teased her with a statement, no questions. She responded with a longish email about what she's doing and asking what I've been up to. We went back and forth twice, with her excitedly writing more than me and telling me what she's seen in Europe. I haven't responded to the latest one, but I have told her I'm going out of town for a few days this week (I am, and all of next week/weekend on another trip). My plan is to not email her again unless she emails me again (that would be two emails with no response from me). And probably wait a week even then. My thought is that though she has indicated that I am out of the friendzone (her initiation of kino and acceptance of my increasingly more aggressive kino is proof enough I think), the trip is a problem and I need to play it cool. And when she returns, make it be her who initiates relations via text/initiates a meeting or date.