Let the GAMES begin.
I’d like to chime in on (as in – critique, judge and assert my superiority over) some of the most common phrases I read in men’s online profiles. These catch my eye because a. I don’t think they’re honest, and b. they’re just no FUN! Sheesh…
The first in this series is one I see all the time – as in, probably 50% of the online profiles that come across my inbox. And it brings up all kinds of questions and philosophies of dating:
“No games.” Or
“I’m not into playing games.”
Really? I’ll bet you are. I’ll bet you play them more than women do…
Now, let’s just assume they’re not talking about board games (e.g. Settlers of Catan, Scrabble), social family games (e.g. Taboo, Guesstures), or card games. (Though, …ahem….find me a guy who can sit at a coffeehouse and play endless rounds of crossword game, SET, or some other two-player nerdy game, and I am IN. So in.)
And I KNOW they’re not talking about video games… I think the percentage of men who don’t play video games is so small that it’s not even considered part of the normal bell curve anymore…. Sigh…
No, they mean the “games” of dating. Ah…here we go.
(cracks knuckles as if to say, “let’s get down to BIDness up in this plizzace!”)
We all know this stuff, we all play along to some degree, and yet – people are always saying that they don’t like it or do it.
I call BS.
This MAY be one of the most infuriating parts of dating – knowing when to “play” and when to just be yourself. It’s an intricate dance, I’m here to tell you. You have to know your audience (the guy in question), know yourself, and be making split-second decisions with each sentence that comes out of your mouth, each flirty smile or glance, each text you do or don’t send, each crossing or uncrossing of your legs or fiddling with your napkin or eating while looking sexy (pshyah…. as if.), each moment of time you let pass between any of various forms of communication…all the time. It’s exhausting!
EVERYONE DOES THIS. Guys are not exempt.
I talked at length about this with my last boyfriend. He was surprised (I think possibly a bit uncomfortably at the very beginning when he didn’t know how to read it), but then ENJOYED the fact that I’m the kind of girl who just – says what she means. As in – really. Here’s a tiny example: If I have JUST gotten off the phone with someone and all I can do is grin and think how much I like him, I’m not going to follow the rules of conduct about death-by-over-communication, I’m going to send him a text, saying, “I can’t stop thinking about you…” (or something along those lines).
What that MEANS is:
– I’m not going to be overwhelmed when a guy speaks HIS mind and is honest/authentic about his thoughts feelings…this is freeing! (It also rarely happens…. cue the sad trombone…)
– But, I’m also going to lose lots of potential suitors who get weirded out by my approach.
I should tell you – I’m known to tip my hand. (And yes, I see the redundancy of me telling you that I tip my hand… I’ve essentially tipped my hand that I’m tipping my hand…lotta tipping going on… but the sign at my salon says “tipping makes you pretty,” so…I’m just gonna go with it.) Yes, I will SAY when I like someone – which freaks people out.
What? Since when? If someone who had just spent time with me told me s/he really liked me – I would love it!
Why are we supposed to pretend like we don’t…. is that somehow going to manipulate the other person into pursuing you more, I suppose? Oy…I can’t keep up!
I heard a quote in a sad movie the other night, as this girl watched her best friend steal the love of her life away, “It never occured to me that Ruth would like him…she was always so mean to him. I guess perhaps I should have been mean to him too.” Man! Break my heart, why don’t you? Is this how to get guys? Be sufficiently wenchy?
I think guys are taught (at SOME level) to trick girls into liking them. Either by being distant and unapproachable, or never tipping their hand about their level of excitement/attraction. This keeps all the power on their side, with the woman questioning where she stands. Is this not a game? Sounds gamey to me…
Here are some of the “games” that are put upon the single/dating community:
– How and when to give out your number. Too soon is slutty/needy, too late is prudeish/boring/hard-to-get.
– Giving and receiving compliments (I’m going to do another post on this where I go more into depth on my hypothesis about why men complimenting women is a dying art). But – how to give out a compliment to a man is a whole KINDA song-and-dance…
be sure to make it sound organic, don’t be TOO flattering – it’ll seem desperate, don’t be TOO coy – it’ll seem fake, don’t pick something that will come off sounding overly sexual, but also don’t choose something that he won’t take any real pride in (nice socks…that sort of thing). I’ve gotta go have a bit of a lie down, just THINKING about it.
– How long to wait after meeting someone, to call or text. One of the sweetest things I ever heard in this regard, was from my best friend. She’d just gone out on a blind date, and as she was driving home (so…only moments after), she received a text saying, “I know it’s against ‘the rules’ to text so soon, but I couldn’t help it. I had a great time and can’t wait to see you again.” C’mon…that’s just honey right there…
But, even in just the last week, I had two first dates – one, where, at the end, the guy said, in a seemingly genuinely excited way, “I’ll definitely be calling you soon!”…and haven’t heard from him yet; and another who was also excited about getting together again, but has only texted/called….zero invitation or allusion to meeting up again. I was talking with a friend this morning who said – “I think a week is a normal turn-around time.” For rizzle? A WEEK? If I’m excited about someone, I’m hardly going to be able to make it back to my HOUSE without wanting to figure out when we can see each other again… if you can go a whole week, …doesn’t seem like you’re really that excited?
– What KIND of meeting/date to set up – Coffee? Wine? Daytime? Evening? Don’t pick a place too romantic, or it’ll make you look skeezy, don’t pick a place too pricey or he’ll think you’re a gold-digger, but if you pick something too casual, it may send the vibe that you’re cheap or don’t expend effort, don’t pick a place too loud where you can’t hear each other, but don’t pick someplace so quiet that there are those uncomfortably disconcerting cricket chirps between sentences,….. dizzying, I tell you!
– What to wear. This is SO a ‘game.’ Wear something that shows off your…assets, but not too much. Don’t look like you’re trying too hard (even though, of course, you are), but don’t underdress and look like a scrub. Heels? What if he’s short? (Doesn’t matter what the online profile says…they lie)
– How long to text before meeting…because some guys will text indefinitely. I’ve literally texted, “So. Are we gonna meet up or what?” I mean, let’s DO this thing, men! Cowboy up!
– And then, there’s HOW to text before meeting… You have to ride that delicate balance of flirty and winsome, without seeming anxious. You can’t go into too much personal detail or it sounds like you’re husband-shopping (which…c’mon…ULTIMATELY …you are…right?). Don’t be too distant, though, or he’ll think you’re inaccessible.
Does anyone else feel a nap coming on?
This is some tricksy stuff. And…the saddest part about it is…. if only you could skip ahead to the part where he KNOWS you – the part where you can be your true self – comfy pjs, undone hair and a movie with an embarrassing number of Disney Channel tween actors in it – the part where you can be goofy – the part where he knows the HEART of who you are, and how amazing you are, and how much real love (not fakey-fake-fakerson 1st date enamorement (yup – made that up)) you have to offer him….. if you could see ahead to that future, you’d probably find that you’re happier than any game-playing makes you.
I guess what I’m saying is…. “I’m just a girl. Standing in front of a boy. Asking him if he wants to watch the Leighton Meester box office hit, ‘Monte Carlo’.”