When you go online today, it is almost inevitable that you will find an article written about how today’s young adults are killing the dating culture. According to these articles, we are replacing it with the hookup culture, a nonchalant, emotionless based physical culture that allows men and women to be totally self centered in what they want. We get slammed as a generation for losing the morals and values of dating and relationships.
The summer going into my senior year of high school, I was introduced to The Game. No, it’s not that trick game where you have to announce that you lost “the game” if you think about the game. The Game is a complex theory based out of the hookup culture. In my experience, there are two sides to it:
1) You pretend like you don’t care in order to mask the fact that you truly do care - to win at this route, you have to be the one in the relationship that shows they care the less because for some reason men (and women) think that the best way to hook someone is to act like they don’t care. You lose if you prove to be the one who cares more.
2) You pretend like you do care while putting your interests first (without the other person’s knowledge) – in my opinion, this is the cruelest of the two routes. To pretend like you care about someone and make them believe that they are important to you when in reality they’re only there to fulfill your “needs” is stooping pretty damn low. The way you win is if that person never figures out your true intentions. Alternatively, you lose if they do.
The Game is all about finding a balance between the ability to show interest while keeping the target as far away as possible. It works well with our “hookup culture”, especially when both parties involved have a mutual understanding that nothing will come of their rendezvous. However, The Game has also proven to be detrimental to those who are being played. When they lose The Game, those playing it take a moment to wipe themselves off, sometimes admitting the defeat, then quickly moving on to their next target. On the other end, upon winning The Game, those being played can be left hurt and confused.
I have been played by The Game. In fact, I still may be participating in it. Now, I’m very aware of what I’m experiencing, which has proven to be frustrating the more I come into understanding it. The other player involved is a true master of The Game – he’s almost perfected the occasional showing of interest but keeping all possible space between us. He’s confusing and frustrating, but at this point he might be putting in more effort than I am.
However, there is good news. I think I know how to win The Game, even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be being played. I’m just waiting for the right time to make my move.