Game. Set. Match.
I got played. I’ll say it again, because heaven help me even I don’t quite believe it. I. got. Played. I know what you’re thinking – erase, erase. The last thing you want to hear about is another girl bitching about men. Well, I’m pleased to inform you that this is not that. I’m not complaining, and I’m not here to spew forth some self-righteous spin on a very simple scenario. I’m just saying, you know. I got played like a blind sighted bloody fiddle.
Why is this significant, you ask? It is significant because it does not happen. I have been in the dating game for exactly 12 years 3 months and 13 days today and for all my sins, I have been blessed with the most acute of bullshit radars known to this world. It is my sixth sense. I can see through most people’s bullshit a mile away, and for the most part I know you’re bullshitting me before you even realise that it is what you’re doing. Survival of the fittest… The last man that had the poor sense to play me without consent was my very first boyfriend ever and I was 14 years old. Call me a liar for being naïve at that age. Since then, I cannot remember a single time I did not see it coming. BOHICA baby.
Now sure, I am only human, and all work and no play would make me a dull girl indeed. I figure that just because I can see game plan before the other player, it is no reason not to enjoy a good game every now and again. Besides, it is impolite to always be right. Therefore, recent events have left me unorthodoxly in awe.
How then, did this happen, you ask, and what makes this worthy of mention? This man (for he is no boy) is no flash-in-the-pan, dime a dozen player. In the interest of not keeping you here for much longer, I will merely give you the highlights. Of course, he had the good sense of placing himself quite strategically in that ‘I’m interested in you but will settle for being your friend if that’s what you want’ category. For months I was well aware of the fact that he was undoubtedly interested. He slowly won me over to the point where one fateful night, I caved as he offered his hand to hold.
Nothing fancy, no big gesture, but what it was followed by was that easy going beginning of the trappings of a relationship. I do believe he even used the word ‘smitten’. At the time, there was no doubt in my mind as to the sincerity of his actions, and even thought I wouldn’t classify it as a swept-off-my-feet event, it was something much more than that in many ways – It was a casual stroll down the street while holding hands after lunch with friends the day after the night before, it was the kiss softly planted on my lips in passing, the comfort of a heartfelt compliment, the pleasant surprise of easy-going conversation. Arriving home after the ‘first date’ of sorts, there was the normal good night text messages and after listening to Colbie Caillat’s Bubbly at least ten times, needing (as I always do) a song to capture the moment in that timeless fashion, I went to bed with that something-has-started feeling we all get.
And then? Then nothing. Sure, there was the awkward silence and the inevitable conversation about how my friendship is so great and all that, but by that point common sense had already klapped me awake from my momentary lapse in awareness. I remember sitting back and having the realisation wash over me. I got played. Being the cynic that I am, it didn’t really shock me. What did shock me, was the feeling that followed.
Yes, yes, I know, I was supposed to be all indignant and crying out for the shame that it was, but somehow, all I could think was – Man, that was well played! I almost felt like sending this man a bottle of champagne in congratulations of what is no small feat. It is somewhat special to have crossed paths with a worthy adversary.
I have hung up my hat in shame and retired a long time ago, but like any true professional, I still enjoy a friendly game from time to time, but in my real life, I have for some time declined to participate in these foolish games that we play, choosing rather to (I guess, also foolishly) give it all up and show my cards from the word go. So a part of me is feeling pretty nostalgic, a coy smile forms on my lips as I think back on it all, knowing that this memory, a great memory, has been etched into my life story. I wouldn’t say I miss the game, but it’s like anything, once you’re out, you’re out, and even though I’m content with my new seat on the sidelines, I cannot lie – it was bloody brilliant. In its own strange way, it was somewhat satisfying to be found worth the effort of such a scheme, misguided as it was.