It’s all in the game…

This keeps coming up. When we speak to each other. When we speak to our friends. Guys. Girls. No one seems to get it. The games people play. Or the games we think they’re playing. Or the games we play when we think we’re in a game even though we might not actually be in a game we think we might be in. Or something. Ugh.


When I found myself single for the first time in a long time 18 months ago, my big Sis told me to Play it cool. “Play it cool, you have to play it cool, don’t act too keen PLAY IT COOL”

I did not agree though, surely if you like someone then it’s ok to show it. Why play games, just put it out there and if they like you back then BINGO!

So I marched into the dating world with my new philosophy of no game playing and well I got fucked (NOT LITERALLY) I’d go on a date it would go really well so I’d text or email first and then nothing, they ran away like I was dripping with genital warts (I WASN’T) I’d call my Sis and once again she would offer me her wise words “Play it cool you over keen tart” (or something like that)

So I did, I would back off and you know what it worked, but then I’d show interest again and they’d fuck off and OH OH OH It was fucking exhausting. When does this stop, I didn’t get it. I came to the conclusion that in order to be a PLAYER you had to be a cold bitch and really not give a shit about the person you were perusing but then WHAT’S THE POINT???

Cool As.

This is a drawing of a CUCUMBER. Shut up. Yes it is.

So I decided I was not a player even after all the heartbreak and making a tit of myself I was no different. I hadn’t become some jilted Miss Haversham type cold fish. I still believed that if the right person came along you wouldn’t need to play games. You just had to like each other exactly the same amount and above all else you had to be brave.

So I carried on with my one woman crusade to find someone as spazzy and open with their feelings as me, and I found him. It was at this point though, you know when I met someone who was clearly into me as much as I was them, someone who was ruddy bloody lovely and clearly was NOT a fucktard, that I decided to play it cool.

Sporadically though, like a game of BuckerRoo when you don’t know when it’s gonna kick off. I’d have these massive panics that I was being too keen so I wouldn’t text back for ages or I’d say Oh I can’t call you tonight now because I’ve got shit loads of work to do. Then I’d sit there miserable all night because all I wanted to do was talk to him.

I think this was the shock of not having to play games that set me off into some sort of mad frenzy. Thankfully after my spacky incidences I’d fess up and explain my mental and even more thankfully he got it. So after a while if I slipped and spazzed out he’d call anyway and tell me to stop being a dick.

I guess it comes down to what you’re looking for, the thrill of the chase never really took my fancy. I’m far too lazy for that. If I was a lion I’d demand fresh zebra be bought to my door step every morning. I’d be a morbidly obese Lion obviously.

Playing it cool, playing the game, being a PLAYER MUTHA FUDGER! What’s it all mean? What’s the prize? A bloke you only got because you appeared disinterested. How long do you have to keep that up for?

If you like someone go in guns blazing (Not Glen Close guns blazing but you get what I mean) If you wanna call them then bloody call them and if they like you back then they’ll be glad you did. Be brave with your feelings because the right one will be just as brave back and then you get to go off and fight the world together!**

** Stay in bed eating trifle and watching Spartacus.


I’m not sporty. I’m not really competitive. Or good at games in general. The 12 people currently beating me at Words With Friends will happily vouch for that, I’m sure. I like stuff to be easy and for people to know all the stuff. Which might be why I never keep my mouth shut and tell everyone everything (I’m good with YOUR secrets, just so you know, just not with my own).

Boys, girls, people in relationships, single folks and everyone in between – a whole bunch of these people at some point or another have said SOMETHING ‘helpful’ to me at some point about ‘playing the game’ when it comes to the opposite sex.

But it’s not a GAME, is it? Games indicate winners, losers, rules… sets of cards with complicated instructions and dares on them… and a tiny hourglass timer that gets lost or stepped on. And one of those little red Monopoly houses that always seem to end up in the boxes of other games.

Whatever level of involvement you have with someone of the opposite sex, there’s always a bit of a game, isn’t there? Even if you don’t LIKE ‘games’ or understand them or believe in them or aaaaany of that bullshit denial – there’s always something going on. For girls, at least. OK – for ME, at least. And the couple of people I spoke to when writing this. And the person who asked me about it in the first place who told me I should write this (thanks). They’re completely subconscious, on the most part, but they’re there. When you haven’t heard from someone for a while, but decide you’ll keep leaving it and not be the first to cave. Or instinctively saying you’re busy on the first day someone asks to see you to make them have to ‘work for it a bit’.

Games. Confusing n shit.

Games. Confusing n shit.

Playing hard to get. Is that a thing? Does it work? Is it just a thing from films? I’m completely incapable of pulling this off. I’ve barely tried it, really. My belief, as regular readers will know, is that boys, quite frankly, are a little bit daft, and things need to be quite easy and explained for them and so on. So, playing some sort of “I’m not going to text him until he texts me first” game doesn’t really work, in my brain. If you want to hear from someone, get in touch with them. If you want to see someone, ask them. You’re not proving anything to yourself or anyone by waiting or ‘playing’ hard to get. If you ARE hard to get – what does that even mean? You’re not all that interested? You’re unavailable? I know boys like a bit of sport, the conquest, the chase… but they’re not COMPLETE idiots, either. If you act not interested, that’s exactly how you’ll appear. If that spurs someone on to pursue you – doesn’t that actually end up feeling a bit creepy and forceful or desperate? I’m conscious of appearing confused and contradictory – but that’s sort of the point I think. Do boys even know about this? Have girls just made it all up in our brains and now we drive OURSELVES mental about it whilst the real reason he’s not texting is because the thoughts of you are just innocently floating around at way lower priority levels than the thoughts about food and football and other girls’ boobs and beer and work? Hmm. I don’t know the rules. I’ve never known the rules. I’ve never properly tried ‘playing hard to get’. I’ve given it a go but get bored after, like, 4 hours, and just get in touch and say “Hello. I thought it would be nice to hear from you. But I hadn’t heard from you. So you’re hearing from me first. Hi”.

Which is probably why I’m writing this sitting in my pyjamas, on my own, with a stuffed toy cat on my lap.

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8 Responses to It’s all in the game…

  1. Gerlin says:

    Once again I couldn’t agree more. So many people have also told me to ‘play the game’ and ‘be cool’ and I constantly worried I might be too keen but then I decided FUCK THAT. I can’t do it. I’m an enthusiastic person so I guess I’m like that when it comes to love too. Who invented all these rules anyway? They make zero sense. And surely they must confuse boys too?
    The last time I was really, very in love with a guy it was very obvious it was reciprocal and, maybe cause it was a long distance thing and there was no point in wasting time on games, I just wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how great I thought he was ALL THE TIME. Which I did after he’d said similar things. Anyway, I don’t know if that’s the perfect scenario cause it never worked out between us and I was totally heartbroken but then guys just never change. And the long distance thing didn’t help either.

    Looking back now, I guess there must just be someone else perfect for me out there. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself haha.

  2. lilmissmosher says:

    i dont play The Game in terms of just agreeing with what a boy likes when on a first date, or just talking about things you already know you agree on. i’m more likely to say “oh you dont like Band/actor/film/tv show XXX, do you? oh dear. they are rubbish” hence most of my dates turn into a heated debate. also HATE the “i must wait x number of hours/days till i text them back” ugh. last time a guy did that to me (he took THREE days to reply to my first and only post-first-date text) – i didnt reply. the old me would have, being so grateful for the delayed disinterested attention…oh well. which is probably why I too often sit at home with a real-and-not-stuffed cat. which , i must say, 99% of the time, suits me just fine! so nerr. x

  3. Janeface says:

    ** or Stay in bed, eat Romantica, play Resident Evil *snigger*

  4. Helen says:


    I spent a LONG time playing The Game, I had a 5 year “relationship” which was basically all Game and – because The Game feeds you false rewards as much as it kicks you in the fanny – I pretty much lived for The Game. And it was ORRIBLE.

    For me though, because I was so full of misery and pain and all sorts of other nasty crap, it was a perfect push-me-pull-you. I could spend half my life being all cool and throwing all my energies into making someone love me so that “everything” would be “ok” and, when the inevitable rejection came, I could spend the other half hating myself. For a bag full of confuseled misery it was perfect, perfect torture. In retrospect it was just torture, torture that pushed me further and further away from having to deal with the misery.

    And then I kicked the misery right back in ITS fanny and all of a sudden The Game didn’t work any more, it just hurt.

    So there you go, it’s a pretty trite idea but my experience says that happy people shouldn’t need to play games. Maybe that’s not true for everyone but getting happy worked for me 🙂

  5. xatczik says:

    Games-playing is stupid. After my last, disastrous relationship, I put my heart on my sleeve. No more BS–and I found my Awesome Husband of Awesomeness. Who knew that communication and honesty would work?!

    We’re told to play it cool, but be ourselves. It’s another bill of goods like be sexy, but not too sexy. I cry bullshit! and grant everyone carteblanche to point and laugh.

    Happier people don’t play games. Unhappy, insecure people do. They need the rush of winning, because that’s all they’ve got–poor things.

  6. The Tank Gyrl says:

    SO agreed… if a boy has to play games, chances are he’s got issues and isn’t worth it. Have said it before and will say it again, there is nothing sexier than a man who is sure of himself enough to ask directly for what he wants. And that man will find the same trait in a woman sexy as hell too.

  7. pandacrumpet says:

    One of the things we most like about doing this blog is reading your experiences and the fact you want to share them with us. So big thanks and hugs to all your little faces for that. xxx (and the fact you all agree with us OBV)

  8. Danielle says:

    Thanks for writing this! I’m still trying to figure out all of this stuff and I’m grateful to read your perspectives.

    Its weird how playing games is supposed to be fun, but then again, it is quite serious too isn’t? I’m a listener to the Savage Lovecast and Dan suggests that the idea of “the game” isn’t so much a literal thing as it is a social practice used to evaluate a potential mate. His argument is well reasoned:

    Perhaps the problem is that we no longer have established courtship rituals, so no one knows what the rules are anymore.

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