I would like to speak on something near and dear and confusing and frustrating and familiar to my heart since about the tender age of 12. Something that has baffled more than one female throughout time and surely will continue to do so for all of eternity. Something that never ends and yet is always beginning, that there are no written rules for and even if there were, they would continually change so memorizing them would be futile. Something that both excites and disappoints and somehow manages to always be the answer but still leave you with a zillion questions.
Guessed it yet?
… THE GAME.
Yup. Who’s played it? Answer: everyone.
If you say you haven’t you are either:
or c) so awkward that you have no idea you were a participant.
Let’s start with the players shall we?
Well, typically you need ONE guy and ONE girl to play THE GAME. Yep, that’s all. However, depending on sexual orientation these gender roles can be reversed and doubled several times over but for the sake of this particular post– and my knowledge that hales only from my own heterosexuality, let’s go with the basic one girl, one guy combo.
Eh, yeah. About that? Well here’s how it SHOULD work. Hypothetical situation #1:
Betty and Johnny have developed romantic feelings toward eachother (they also live in 1955). Johnny tells Betty he likes her. Betty giggles and says she likes him too. Then they skip off holding hands together in the sunset and live happily ever after. THE END
….And here’s how it actually works.
Disclaimer: don’t try to take this out of context. This is for once, a hypothetical situation that is not based on my life.. but a montage of several individuals:
Betty likes Johnny. Johnny likes Betty. Johnny pretends that Betty doesn’t exist. Betty calls Johnny an asshole. Johnny gets Betty’s number. Johnny never calls. Betty sees Johnny out and flirts blatantly with every guy within a 21-25 year old age range in a 500 foot radius. Johnny acts like he could care less. Betty and Johnny drunkenly makeout at a bar. Betty and Johnny go several weeks without contact. Betty breaks the silence. Betty texts Johnny, “What are you doing tonight?” Johnny responds with a smiley face. Betty throws her phone out the window. Betty retrieves phone to delete Johnnys number. Johnny sees Betty out and asks her out. Betty calls Johnny an asshole.. then says yes. Betty and Johnny go out on a date.
(…let’s not say there’s a happy ever after here.. jumping to conclusions is a rookie game-playing mistake numero uno)
Here’s what I think. I think you read that and thought of several different scenarios in which you were either Betty or Johnny in hypothetical situation #2. And that’s because hypothetical situation #1 doesn’t exist. Sure, it would be nice if things were that simple. If people were honest and forthright and just put it all out on the table from the get go.. but you are kidding yourself if you think things are ever going to go that straightforward.
And here is why:
The logic behind THE GAME:
1– Some people like it. I mean they really genuinely enjoy the F’ed up lack of rules, of the chase, of playing several different players, of just being a general huge pain in the ass for the opposing players who just get dropped into The Game with little to no experience and no desire to play and no skill to keep up. In truth, they are evil and should be kept in a metaphorical Monopoly Jail. And not allowed to pass Go. And not allowed to collect 200 dollars in fake relationship money. But that’s not how The Game works. These players own the board. They kill it. They will tear a lesser participant apart heart string by heart string. And It’s both horrifying and fascinating to watch. Because… they are brilliant. In their own way. A truly skilled player is a force to observe. AS LONG AS you are on the sidelines. Otherwise, good freaking luck champ. Because if you are on the opposing end with someone who truly loves The Game, there really isn’t any winning involved.
2– I’ve come to the conclusion (without any degree to back this up.. so this is my own opinion, which makes it fact) that it is human nature when it comes to potential relationships, to take the longest route ever in the means of saying how you really feel. No one wants to be the first to come out and say, “Hey. I like you. Even when I’m sober. We should eat food together at a public place.” I mean understandably, those are big words! That’s a big commitment! And who wants to be the first to admit such honesty? Answer: no one. Which is why the game exists in the first place.
3– It’s fun… sometimes. Ok admitedly, the wait is fun. As long as the wait is going somewhere right?
“Ahh, Johnny asked for my number! This is so exciting. I can’t wait until he calls. I’m going to go shopping.”
*3 days pass*
“Ok… ummm why hasn’t he called yet? This is like so NOT cool! Why did he ask for my number if he wasn’t going to call? Do you think he forgot my number? O my god, what if I gave him the wrong number? No.. that’s the only number I know. That can’t be it. What if he’s hurt? What if he died? Do you think he’s actually just gay and being nice? Is something wrong with my phone?? Quick. Someone call me. Maybe I should call him. Maybe I should text him. Ugh WHATEVER!!!!! .. I’m going shopping.”
*one week passes*
” Johnny is like the biggest asshole in the world. I am so deleting his number. What. A. Jerk. Ugh. I hate guys. They are all the same. I need new shoes. OMG!!!!! HES CALLING ME!!!!!!”
The wait is worth it. As long as Johnny actually calls. As long as Betty is actually interested. It makes the logistics of The Game actually worth an individuals time. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple still. Sometimes, Johnny never calls and sometimes Betty only wanted a free drink. Hey, I never said The Game was fair. I just said it was inevitable.
In honesty, there are a thousand things I could speak on about The Relationship Game we all put ourselves through in an effort to get closer to someone. But similar to the particular recreation I currently speak of, if I wrote about everything I needed to say.. you would eventually get bored and go read something else.
Mostly, I guess I find myself constantly wondering why with each new player, with each new scenario, with each new start to each new scheme.. why we all continue to play sometimes. I’m sure it ends in more heartbreak than happily ever afters but yet, every single day, there we all are again. On the court. Because we really just can’t stop. Even with the knowledge that you will never ever completely understand the opposite sex and you will never ever win a never ending game, we just can’t stop participating. Why? Because it’s fun? Because we’re lonely? Because it’s human nature? Because we’re just really screwed up like that?
So I suppose….. with no real answers, I will leave you with the immortal lyrics of Ice T, from his rapping sensational hit, Hate the Playa:
“I don’t know why a player wanna hate T
I didn’t choose the game, the game chose me”
Translation? According to Urban Dictionary, this particular lyric comes from the origin of a quote from Ghandi who said, “Don’t hate the sinner. Hate the sin.”
And in modern terminology we may take this as such:
don’t hate the player (whoever they may be), hate the stupid, stupid game.