Scrabble, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Twister, Jenga, Monopoly.
These are games. These have a clear winner and a clear loser. These have rules, directions. For years, everyone has been playing them the exact same way. They have boxes, sets and pieces. They are taken down when both players are in the mood and cleaned up when it’s all over. They are fun to play and easy to put away.
Although they say these games are for all ages, they most definitely stop at a certain age as we take up another type of game… The mind games.
Now, these games have no rules. These games are different for every player and while there is definitely a clear winner and a clear loser, most of the time, you have absolutely no idea if you’re ahead or behind. Because, unlike our favorite board games, there are no instructions, no re-dos and definitely no round twos.
There’s no consulting the instructions or Googling the answer. There’s no limit to the amount of players or a stipulation that makes them tell you who they’re also playing with. Cheating, leaving and creating your own rules is allowed, and the loser leaves with much more than a bad score.
Personally, I’m tired of these games. I’m actually so goddamn sick of them, I wish I could chuck the hypothetical board and watch the pieces go flying. I wish I could just quit, forfeit or at least give my chips to someone who could take my spot.
But quitting the game, like in the board games of our adolescence, means losing. Showing your hand means giving up, folding and dooming yourself to the inevitable loss that comes with being too obvious.
Because in the game of love, everyone’s trying to play, but we’re all playing by different rules. We’re following rules made up by ourselves and hoping the other person understands.
Receive text, don’t respond for two days, miss your turn. Receive text, respond right away, go to uninterested jail. Text first, look desperate. Don’t text, miss your turn. It’s like the rules don’t make sense. Either way, you’re losing.
Proponents of the love game think that it adds mystery, excitement and pizzaz to our dull lives. They think it’s what gives the relationships that first spark, that mystery, that edge.
What they don’t realize is that it makes the already fragile beginning smash into a million tiny pieces similar to all those Monopoly houses that go flying with one accidental step on the board.
Because you can’t play Scrabble while following the rules of Jenga and you can’t play Monopoly with the instructions for Apples to Apples. It just doesn’t work and you end up quitting in a fit of rage.
You end up losing before you even begin and wishing you never started with the game in the first place. You wish you could just stop playing and, for once, throw away the millions of sets of instructions and advice everyone gives you on how to win and just say how you really feel.
In a somewhat futile attempt, I’d like to propose a new type of game. If it had a name, this game would be called HONESTY. It’s as simple as Twister, yet less entangling and will give you more of a rush than winning at Monopoly.
So let’s throw away all the confusing instructions we think we’re following and moves we think will get us further and just stop playing the game altogether. Let’s refuse to take down the box and refuse to play by the so-called rules invented by people who don’t even know what game they’re trying to play.
Imagine if we all just stopped playing the games and got real with one another? Wouldn’t it work out so much better? Wouldn’t we stop ending things because we felt hurt and betrayed when really we were just the outcome of a bad move on their part?
Wouldn’t it be easier to build relationships on trust and honesty if we stopped with all the bullsh*t?
It’s like cutting out the middleman. Refusing to pay him for a service you can do yourself. It’s liberating and refreshing and that, in itself, is exciting.
Receiving a text from the guy you like telling you that he’s into you and would like to take you out will give you way more of a rush than an unanswered text or an ambiguous, “What’s up?”
Waiting two hours to respond to his “Hi” is boring, fruitless and, in the end, won’t keep you in the game much longer than laying all your cards on the table from the beginning. Because playing games may get you a few dates, but it will never get you the cash prize.
So let's just stop pretending we're uninterested and say how we feel. Let's stop with the mind tricks and the subtle hints and be upfront for once.
Aren’t we a bit old for games now, anyway?
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It