Screw the rules: why playing games is the biggest sign that he isn't the one for you.
- Kristen McGuiness, BettyConfidential.com
Years ago, I worked in a bookstore in Manhattan. I happened to be on board the summer the mega-bestseller, The Rules, hit. I was still in college at the time, so dating to me meant hooking up with a friend after a party and then continuing to hook up until you both decided to call it a relationship. This was also 1996 - we didn't have cell phones (unless you were a drug dealer and had a pager) and the internet still sounded pretty sci-fi. Plus, it was a small campus. Good luck avoiding the awkward fallout from any romantic games that one might have tried to play.
But then, I joined the real world. And I remembered back to that atrocious little book that all the young women on the Upper East Side bought in droves that summer. The Rules. How to be coy, how to be cunning, how to play the game right so you could score yourself a man: whereas I was merely confused by it as a coed, I became sickened by it as a yuppie. And yet, I couldn't help but feel that the girls who got the guys somehow knew something I didn't, and I feared it was those stupid rules.
After five years of being single, I had gone from flipping the bird at game-playing, to awkwardly joining in, to giving up altogether, because what I found out, is that games aren't the preludes to a relationship… ever. In fact, they are the biggest sign that a relationship ain't gonna happen.
Three years ago, I found myself in a brief but passionate relationship with a man whose moniker was Jimmy Voltage, and I thought I would try my hand at these mysterious games. He would call, I would wait to respond. He would text and based on the length of his texts, I would write less. And yet somehow, my standoffishness just wasn't authentic enough. He could tell I liked him, and he began to use it against me.
"You've read the book, right?" my friend Natalie asked after I complained to her that I was no good at these hard to get tricks.
"He's Just Not That Into You - no, but I read the intro," I tried.
"No, not that one. That one just tells you when you've lost. You have to read the one that tells you how to win."
I braced myself for The Rules.
"It's called Why Men Love Bitches," Natalie offered. "I'll bring it to you tomorrow. It's how I got Reggie."
Reggie was Nat's fiancé at the time. He is now her soon-to-be ex-husband. And though I didn't have a crystal ball to give me that info in advance, as I read through Nat's worn copy of why men do indeed love bitches, I realized, I did not want to find the love of my life by being a b---- .
I didn't want to find him by well-crafted text messages, and by purposely failing to call back. I didn't want to attract someone because I was submissive and sweet or cold and calculating. I did not want love to be a game. I wanted it to be something beautiful and kind and natural.
Last spring, I met someone. Actually, we had been friends for years, but then one fateful night, he came over to give me a blowout, as in one for my hair. He was in hair school and I needed to look good for a photography session. And that night, we hooked up. And then we continued to hook up until we decided to call it a relationship. I asked him that first night to call me the next day so I didn't have to worry about what any of it meant. And he agreed. And then he called the day after that and the day after that.
I text him way more than he texts me but he tells me he loves my long rambling messages. And I never doubt that he is going to call because we now live together and I can find him pretty easily. And the thing is there were no games, there has only been love. Because the minute I start wondering what I am supposed to do or how I am supposed to act, I stop being myself. And if someone doesn't love me for my long rambling texts or my inability to be anything close to coy, submissive or a calculating b---- , then it's probably best for both of us if they go play games with someone else.
Kristen McGuiness will be signing her latest book, 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life in Los Angeles at Barnes and Noble in the Grove this Thursday, October 21.To read more from BettyConfidential:
Ask Your Friend ... Ask Your Shrink: I'm in Love With Another Man
First Dates Guys Thought Up But Would Be Scared to Try Out
- Oral Sex and Stripper Blogs: What We Learned About Men in October
- 5 Ways to Make That Cheater Pay
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