Hate It Or Love It, You Have To Play 'The Game' If You Want The Guy

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When young singletons brave the dating world, we basically have to amp up, suit up and prepare to take the gridiron. Dating today is a game, and it's a fierce one at that. You risk getting stomped on, sacked and tackled, all for the slight chance you could get a free breakaway to the end zone, ultimately scoring a touchdown (aka, finding the love of your life).

It is not news to anyone that the dating world is a game. Why else would the common reaction to receiving a text message from a crush be, "I'll wait, like, three hours to respond?" Dating is a game with ever-changing rules that are universally familiar to us all.

We know to not respond immediately. We know to not follow someone “too soon” on social media. We ignore people we actually really like for days. We are told not to double blow up a crush. We would never ever actually pick up the phone and call a crush. The list goes on and on.

I, for one, hate the game. I personally think it is immature, and I'm flat-out over it. I'm over pretending I don't care. I'm over the insecurities and the power struggles involved in the game. I yearn for simplicity in the dating world.

The topic of “the game” came up just the other night over dinner with two of my best guy friends. Among the two of them, one is essentially the male version of myself and also despises the game of dating, while the other is the polar opposite. This friend is someone who epitomizes the dating game. He runs the show. In fact, he basically holds the rule book. On this night in particular, he was my and my fellow dating rookie's coach. We sat on the bench (our bar stools) with baited breath, ready to take instruction and quite literally run with it.

While hashing through a dating dilemma, our coach bluntly stated (in a Southern accent), "Y'all can hate on the game all you want, but it ain't going anywhere." His words struck a nerve in me. The concept of what he said was so simple, yet no truer words had ever been spoken. I hated what he said so much because it was the inevitable truth I had been denying my whole dating-game-hating life. That truth is simple. When it comes to dating, play by the rules, or you're not going to score in any way, shape or form.

Sure, I might be the game's biggest hater. I can hate all I want, and I can even band together with a fellow dating game hater. But really, has hating it ever helped my dating life? Absolutely not. Whenever I've had a love interest, I've operated under an attitude of, "F*ck the game, I'm going to text anyway." All of these times, it has never worked out for me and the guy I had my eye on. Every. Single. Time.

If you're reading this and mentally backtracking to the times you thought, “F*ck the game” and are now realizing it didn't work out for you, cheers to you. I feel you. So, what's a single-but-hating-the-game chick supposed to do?

Based on the wise words of my “coach,” I feel I have no choice but to suit up and hit the field. The dating game is filled with rules, spin moves and roundabout victories. But if everyone else can handle it, I sure as hell can, too. I may get a few bumps and bruises along the way, but hell, if I can hit that breakaway and finish my “game” on a high note, I'll have the wise words of my coach to thank.