The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Understanding the dating game

Valentine’s Day is a reminder for most of us that dating or any real relationships are scarce in college. Scientists and doctors have been studying this unnerving trend for years-slaving away for hours in labs trying to figure out what happened to traditional couples.

Before our generation, the dating scene was quite simple. There was a straightforward formula that everyone followed:

1. Boy meets girl. 2. Boy likes girl. 3. Boy takes girl out. 4. Boy kisses girl. 5. Boy becomes girl’s boyfriend.

Today those numbers have been jumbled into a random order, leaving some steps out and adding others to the mix. Step four usually comes first, and then everything after that is a complicated math problem where none of the numbers match up.

I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor and I’m definitely not a numbers girl. But I’m going to take a shot at this age-old problem that keeps girls up at night and lets guys get away with it.

Maybe love isn’t a math problem. Maybe love is a game. A twisted, sick, tear-your-heart-out-and-throw-it-in-a-blender game.

People who say they don’t play games are lying. I’ve said it myself in those magical first few weeks of dating. That’s the first game we play: pretending that we don’t play games at all. It’s like make believe: I’ll make you believe I don’t play games so that you’ll think I’m different from every other drama queen.

The truth is, we unconsciously play games in our relationships-or whatever it is you have going on with that person who calls at 11 p.m. every weekend. It’s an instinct that is programmed in us.

Maybe we can blame it on our childhoods; we grew up playing games to pass the time. Now our hearts have become little metal game pieces rolling across a board.

A relationship begins as a sort of guessing game, just like Clue. Does he like me? Who should I like this month? Who has he hooked up with? After days of background checking and Facebook stalking, you find out that it was Mr. Right in the bedroom with a Budweiser and a freshman girl. Ok, you win. You never let him out of that little envelope.

But some of you decided to give him a chance anyway. Besides, two can play that game. Then we play an adult version of hide-and-seek, which I call hard-to-get.

You don’t want to seem too eager so you act uninterested and make him wonder if you really like him. When he calls, you act bored and pretend you have things to do so you can’t come over. All the while you’re jumping up and down and drawing hearts all over the place because you’re in love. Of course, you hide from him and keep him seeking you out each weekend, and when you finally let him “find” you, the roles reverse and suddenly you’re the desperate seeker.

Say you get past the peek-a-boo stage. It’s the real deal from there, right? Wrong.

Next comes Monopoly. Maybe your boy isn’t buying real estate, but surely after all those red roses, chocolates, dinners at Abacus, Tiffany boxes and cosmopolitans he expects to sort of “own” you. Your relationship becomes its own little monopoly where the single seller (him) dominates the market (you). Or he takes you off the market while he still dabbles in other “real estate” ventures.

After breaking up for a day, you quickly present him the “Get Out of Jail Free” card because he’ll never do it again, he promises with his fingers crossed.

Maybe you think the ball is in your court now. Well, if you’ve ever tried dating an athlete, you’ll know that they are some who like to control the ball. I don’t care if it’s soccer, basketball, football or tennis: it’s all one big competition. One person gets to score all the time while the other always plays defense. Your best friend plays the ref, but you never really listen to her anyway. It’s just the way of the game.

Remember Kobe Bryant? He stayed in the game by playing a little Monopoly on the side and bought his wife a four-million-dollar ring to get out of jail for cheating. He may have bought his win, but nonetheless, scored again.

If you think your partner is getting ahead of you or getting closer to winning, you’re playing a game of Sorry! You’ve used all the pieces trying to make the relationship work, but in no time he is coming up behind you and knocking you off the board. Sorry! He’s the red player and now you’re just plain blue.

But it’s not over yet. You find yourself on the Operation table: that poor little naked man with the big red nose. You’ve got a broken heart for sure, your wishbone is all out of wishes, the butterflies in your stomach flew away and your liver is wasted from all the tequila shots. And your nose probably is big and red because you’ve been crying all week.

Now anytime someone gets close to your heart, an automatic buzzer sounds in your head to warn you of what games are yet to come.

You see, we are still playing our childhood games and using them to run our relationships.

It’s not one sex’s fault; both men and women are equal players in the game of love.

We’re at an age where the guys don’t know how to communicate, except through text messages, and the girls are too afraid to say what they really want. Games are our safety nets. If we don’t fully put ourselves out there and just hide behind a text message, then we won’t get hurt. We won’t lose.

One day we will take a risk, put the games away in the closet and learn to be real. No rules, no tricks, no competition. Just an honest, no-bull relationship.

Until then, anyone up for a round of Twister?

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