[One of these days I'll find a tougher letter. On to the subject at hand! As hinted to above, this is a little more serious. I still plan to be lighthearted and fun, but this is a slightly more adult topic today.]
Hey little girl, I wanna be your boyfriend
Ramones, I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
over heard at the game store:
Gamer 1- “So, after 9 months of dating, I finally told my girlfriend I played [insert game title here]”
Gamer 2- “What was her response?”
Gamer 1- “ I still have a girlfriend.”
[remainder of conversation irrelevant]
Seen at the game store:
Gamer C brought his girlfriend to a MtG event. By all accounts, she wanted to play and was hanging out with C's friends A & K. C generously and willingly paid for her entry. A & K teased C mercilessly for paying and being a gentleman, but in a gentle, chiding sort of way.
Girlfriends. While as a rule, gamers seem to want them (a few notable exceptions come to mind); they seem to be a strange and compelling quandary for the men I know.
I've seen a lot of girlfriends- been the participant (unwilling) of a spectacular breakup; seen a few eruptions and dramatic explosions; and seen the group's reaction to all the shenanigans. I've also seen some relationships get beyond the 'girlfriend' stage and turn into great marriages. I've witnessed the evolution of gaming groups around stable, committed deals, many times for the better. Girlfriends tend to bring about
a pretty standard set of reactions- at least from my vantage point- and I think those reactions are fairly telling with gentle examination.
These particular outcomes are likely to be co-morbid, and do not always appear in specific order. They're also more than a little bit reactive, and change or reflect other responses quite fluidly. Lastly, all of these
behavioral tendencies are based on my observations; I'll gladly allow there may be others I've not witnessed or some I've overlooked. My observations:
FEAR- As seen in the first example above; Gamer 1 felt a great deal of trepidation at telling his girlfriend he gamed. The response by Gamer 2 is equally telling: there was concern on how the lady in question would respond.
Some of this comes from genuine fear (or failure to understand, if you will) of the female kind. I've witnessed countless occasions where a fellow blows a perfectly good relationship all to pieces simply due to a lack of
confidence or knowledge of the gender.
Girls seem a mystery; a puzzle; and in many cases almost alien to the males in the midst of the dating ritual. The inability to understand or even fathom the female mind causes more than a few dudes to lose their cool and hang motives and intentions on their lady friends without any real evidence, often to a bad result.
I've spoken on this subject before and likely will again. Girls aren't so hard to understand; they're people with feelings, concerns and lives just like the guys. Talking to them and getting to know them on more than a
'wow, she looks great' level can change the dynamic entirely and even get you some unintended and possibly very pleasant benefits.
There is also a correlated apprehension that shows itself in this almost dumbfounded stage of the game; fear of change. This alarm at the unknown and the idea of 'losing' gaming buddies can (and has) made more than one gent behave like a genuine idiot and blow his chances with a gal just as quickly as bad manners.
This fear is dual in nature and comes from outside forces as well. The gang the guy hangs with can (and often do) react with a bizarre mix of pull-in/push-away behavior aimed at the girl in question. The trepidation and alarm at the idea of one of the fold entering into anything deeper and more meaningful than a short term fling brings about the specter of marriage, and with it, wives. That wives are both revered and revolting to those of the gamer stripe is another post entirely; but it brings about a definite style of action from most guys. This behavior is pushing the friend forward and keeping him from the danger ahead all at the same time.
ACCEPTANCE- The gamers I know are pretty welcoming folks. They're members of a strange and widely unknown subgroup of culture, and have gotten pretty accustomed to admitting whatever strays come their way for lack of other more regularly feasible options. When a new person enters the midst of a group of gamers, there's usually a bit of introductions, a short “testing” phase, and then usually a level of inclusion.
lady will be at first. I mention 'at first' because there is a definite exception to how well or
widely a girl will be included; and it has to do with how the guy acts after he's been around her a while.
OUTRIGHT HATRED- It happens on occasion that the gaming group will simply hate a girl being dated by one of their friends. This is usually due to fear; or idiocy by the guy in question.
NGA (No Girls Allowed)- This is almost always due in some part to a guy in the group who behaved abominably regarding his girlfriend. Often, it's due to more than one fellow being a fool or fuck-up and the group getting soured on girls in general.
successfully with any witty and knowledgeable woman. A few have tried it with me, and most fail- it falls back to a badly behaved boor or a bitch. In over 25 years of gaming, I have only seen this beast be a genuine gentleman's club one time.