You start to learn this idea of how things work when you’re in middle school. You go on that first date, with an awkward lanky boy from science class.
It’s not really even a date.
Your mom drives the two of you to the movies and you get picked up promptly at the end time. Something happens and things take a turn. Next thing you know you’re talking to your friends about this guy or girl and why things didn’t work out.
“You were too honest with him.”
“You should have played it cool.”
“Next time be more distant and act uninterested.”
“Ok, so when they call, don’t pick up and call them back a day later and act like you don’t care.”
We’ve all heard many lines like these before; your friends coaxing you through a breakup and trying to play mind games with the person of interest. We all think that if we had just acted a little less “in it” or if we hadn’t opened up so much, then things would have been different.
It got me thinking, when did we start playing all these dating games and does it get us anywhere?
One of my best friends dated a guy that did nothing but play games. He would call her all the time for a few days. Be a great boyfriend and then on the fifth day he wouldn’t call. He’d become illusive and unavailable. It was a never-ending cycle.
At first she didn’t think much of it. She tried to talk it out and see what was going on. Eventually she started playing games too. We’d be watching a movie. He’d call and she would look at her phone, “It’s HIM! I’ll call him back tomorrow.”
The next day would come around and she didn’t need to call him. The second he didn’t get a response from her, he would blow up her phone like Hiroshima, asking where she was and what she was doing. It was all a game to them, and not just a game, but a game of wits and power. Who had the upper hand and how long could they hold the deck?
I’ve never been one to play poker with dates. I think it’s a waste of time. You can ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I am nothing if not straightforward. I don’t like to play games and if things aren’t going well, then we’ll have a conversation about it. And rest assured, at the first sign of games from any prospect, I’m done. I just don’t like it. Am I better off for it? I’m not sure.
One thing I am sure of is that I cut a lot of time out of dating this way.
Justin is a 23 year old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is working on his bachelors in English and looking for Mr. Right. You can read more about his escapades in dating at his personal blog, "A Gay College Guy in Virginia".