Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Certain games require partners, a team of two while other games are played one on one. Both women and men play games in life and relationships whether they are aware of it or not. So why is it we tend to play one on one in relationships when our goal is to end in partners? ? In 7th grade I learned that ‘All the world’s a stage’, so let’s play, eight years later I started dating an actor. Shaun and I never seemed to leave work, or at least it seemed to me that he never left. The name of this game: fetch. Subconsciously I let Shaun go in hopes he’d give me more. Hoping he’d see what we could be. A week later on a typical Thursday night, as feelings lingered, we headed to the bar for some drinks and laughs. After a few pours from the bartender the conversation got serious. Leaning against the bar, smiling that dangerous grin, he asked “Don’t you think maybe I’m worth waiting for?” All I wanted to say was ‘Don’t you think I’m worth taking a chance with?’ But I didn’t. Perhaps I was too afraid of the answer. Maybe I thought I already knew what he’d say. Now, I can’t help but wonder, was I playing games this whole time? Why let him go if feelings were still there? ?And if he wasn’t giving me what I wanted, why not just tell him?

As the weeks went on, I distanced myself from speaking with a man I’ve previously been intimate with. They say if you truly care about someone you must let them go, so I did. I know you can’t change a man, and I know there is no changing a man like Shaun. But I needed something to change. I played a game of Risk and lost.

While I lost in love, Amber won in sex. Amber never had a problem getting a man to sleep with her, she always knew what to say, what to do, how to dress, how to tease. She met her newest fling at Jake’s Bar on that same Thursday. His name was Joseph Rich, a mechanical engineer from Philadelphia. For one hot week, Amber played into Joseph’s games; however she won every night, sometimes twice. Shortly enough their game ended on Amber’s terms and the following week she was up to her usual hop scotching to bars and beds.

With the weekend at an end Noel and I grabbed a light lunch after a lap around the Exton Square. Noel, a firm believer of game playing shared her weekend spent in King of Prussia with the newest man in her life. She met Mark at The Note, several weeks prior. Mark taught her how to play guitar and in exchange she let him. I left thinking about what she said and couldn’t help but agree, no matter how much people say they hate games, that’s all dating is.

?Why do we feel that we have to play games in order to win at Life? As children we played games and enjoyed then-now as we get older these games tend to be a lot less fun.

Is it fear that keeps us playing these games? Like Twister. Where you could take a chance on a spin, end up on your back or flat on your face. Michelle spent a week trying to escape a clinger named Jerry Collins, a former Ram who began playing that childish game shadow. No fan of games- if Michelle felt something, she said it. So when Jerry kept calling, showing up, and demanding possession, Michelle quickly told him where he can play his next round. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s safer not to date. Like the game Operation: You’re laying there, heart exposed and someone else controls the pain, the pleasure, the buzzed that ends the game and the relationship. Why risk and play a game if there is a chance of losing everything. So here’s an alarming thought; the only way to win this game is to not play.

After a strange week, I decided to take a look at the closet full of games I once played as a child, interested to see the relevance to the games I now play as an adult. With a little help from my friends we decided to look into our black books. It soon became clear the games that were played by both opponents. And then there are Battleships, the new kind of relationship when two people fight and argue as if they’re on opposing teams. Is fighting with someone all day worth the hour of make up and make out at the end of the evening? Or does a significant other really have the power to sink us?

While certain games are full of color, excitement and adventure my relationship that was the biggest challenge was always Grae. It was like the game Don’t Wake Daddy, the object: to tip toe across in hopes that nothing will jump out and scare you, and the only way to make it successfully is to have good timing.

I started to wonder, is that all it takes for a great relationship, great timing? Robert Grae and I had the worst timing- but did we have the worst relationship? And if the timing is wrong, but the feeling is right, is that enough to get you to the other side?

Time. So I guess that’s a big factor in this game. We must make sure we have enough of it, space to wiggle with it, and most importantly have each other invested time. For if not, then the game is lost before it begins.

The weekend rolled around and to my liking I had a visitor from the Big Apple. By midnight it seemed as if we were back to the way things were-comfortable silence as the tv glowed into the night. 1:00 a.m. came faster then he did, and the conversation turned from hot to cold.

After he left me so early I got out of bed and ran at 2am, sure running that late was stupid and dangerous, or perhaps the visit was as well. Having returned an hour later rather sweaty I hoped in the shower. There as I lathered up, I really started to get lathered up. It wasn’t me playing games. Sadly, I played by his rules for too long. Who did he think he was? Life is full of decisions and if they’re not made fast enough you may lose everything that’s on the table. Grae lost this hand- for to break the rules is one thing, but to break a heart is another. The unfortunate thing about being a writer when you have no pen to write is sometimes your thoughts disappear before you can get to your computer. However this thought couldn’t escape if it tried.

Irony: that seems to be the name of this game. If I have great friends, a loving family and a fabulous career do I need a man to win the game of Life? Now, single again it’s my turn to pick up the die and roll. The bigger question: Am I ready to gamble again?

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