So today, as I contemplated topics to write this week’s column about whilst driving to university, I noticed a sign on the back of somebody’s yellow car. “I’m a witch, deal with it.” I realized I’ve avoided actually writing about these “Bridget J. style” situations that I run in to. Just how much should one reveal? I have nothing on the back of my car.

At the end of the day, tiredness is a fantastic excuse for deviating from the “social norm”. I’ll rely on that if I say the wrong thing. Genuinely though, I’m not making much sense this week. One thing that’s occurred to me a few times; I’m ballsy enough to write this column and apply to uni in the States. I’m an empowered, modern woman, exercising my rights and taking my opportunities. An empowered modern woman who seems to accidently ignore the guy she likes. This is not okay. In fact, it’s probably quite embarrassing and very un-ballsy. The crisis of the female undergraduate is that we have opportunities unlike previous generations, yet we are still experiencing the same old issues. Game-playing… who’s your opponent?

There are several dictionary definitions for the word “game”.

Noun:

  1. 1.       A form of competitive activity or sport played according to the rules.
  2. 2.       An activity that one engages in for amusement.

 

Adjective:

  1. 3.       Eager or willing to do something new or challenging.

 

Verb:

  1. 4.       Play at games for chance of money.
  2. 5.       Manipulate (a situation), typically in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous.

Whilst I’m preoccupied, mulling over the various implications of all but number 4, there are things worth noting. Games are not serious; based on competition; they are amusement, resulting in a winner and a loser. Occasionally, a draw; met your match? There are many contexts games occur in. Among these, psychological, political and romantic. Are they really that different? At first glance, you notice similar strategies and tactics, however all boil down to one thing; power. To enjoy power, you need to exercise a certain amount of control.

Game-playing should have come down with the Berlin Wall, it’s outdated. Unfortunately, in the modern day we’ve exerted ourselves further. It’s currently in fashion to not care. Apathy is the new weapon; remain silent and you’ll always win. Don’t make a move based on perception, instead act elsewhere. Use buffer states to exert your influence and whether or not you know it, the other side will judge you based on their perception. I’d like to suggest that game-playing is holding back modern notions of empowerment. In relationships, it leads people to believe they can’t be honest; they must be cool, and play hard to get. In politics, it is used to defer reactions from opponents, and to shape the way citizens think. Propaganda is a part of the game. The “Politics of Fear” ensures control.  There’s a kind of Cold War going on, but maybe I’m just being too much of a girl.*

Being too much of a girl? Romantic games involve a different assertion of control. In the “game”, you have “The rules”. Although it was published in 1995 and I haven’t read it, the concept of a book of rules for women who are dating? Bullshit. The extent of this bullshit ranges from “Always end phone calls first”, to “Don’t stare at men or talk too much.” Whoops. No but seriously…what? Now, I’m aware that this book isn’t the modern phenomenon, but I don’t think articles today have gone much further. I mean, sometimes they even tell us to f*** the rules and go for it. Crazy! Now I can stare at men. I’m sorry. Go for what? I think this is instilling a false sense of empowerment. In romance, no sex is really empowered. Imagine if everybody just went for it. Game-playing could be the strategy we’ve developed as humans to test things out. Weighing up the consequences of your actions and making some judgments is important; otherwise you’re acting on impulse. The problem here, is that if everybody is basing their actions on perceptions of what the other side is thinking… well? That’s a bit like politics.

So there we have it. Game-playing aside, slightly-ridiculous moment of the week would be when I heard the term “The Great Game” in my seminar. It’s a historical phrase used to describe the relationship between Russia and England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; both countries acting on perceptions of the other. In trying to ignore my metaphors of politics and romance, I managed to think out-loud an assumption that the countries were simply occupying Persia to test each other, establish control and thus build trust. Turns out countries are actually not in romantic relationships and consensus showed that Germany and WW1 were the reason they didn’t go to war. Definitely going to save the crude analysis for next week’s column and hit the books. I’m a writer, deal with it.

*For an insightful post on this visit: http://www.therulesrevisited.com/ “On being a Typical girl” – at least someone is acknowledging this issue.