As you get older, sometimes you have to start facing some truths about yourself. I guess I’ve always known it, but I’m 29 now and it really is time to just admit to myself and to the world...I don’t have game. Like, none. To remove any ambiguity here, I'll use the Urban Dictionary's definition: 'Game- a measure of smoothness with the opposite sex.' We've all seen one of these smooth operators out there, individuals with a natural gift for chatting people up. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) who has been proposed to THREE TIMES. She has a knack for making men feel special, even after only five minutes of conversation. Last time I was out with her, a guy actually gushed to me 'Your friend, she's just so...so...she's so great.' Then while I was rolling my eyes, he mumbled 'Oh, um...I mean, you are too.' Don't flatter me buddy, nobody believes that, not even my mother.
In most situations, I think people actually do find me charming. OK, so maybe charming is taking it a bit far. But friendly, funny, approachable, those are all words I would happily use to describe myself in social interactions. Your Mum will love me, and if I don't accidentally swear, so will your grandparents. People always stop me for directions (joke's on them...I'm like a pigeon, I can only find my way using obscure landmarks as reference points), I help elderly people with their bags, and if we're at the pub, by the end of the night I will have at least 3 new best drinking buddies. Sadly though, this kind of amiable banter does not extend to conversing with somebody I'm attracted to. If I don't want to get in your pants, we'll be fine. I'll tell some jokes, listen to you talk about your hobbies and before you know it, you'll feel so comfortable you're telling me about your deepest insecurities. (Yes, this has happened to me. By the end of one first date I knew the guy was plagued by a lack of direction and he couldn't read). If I actually think you might tick some of my boxes though, even just the physical ones, some part of my brain seeks to destroy my chances.
If you've never met me, you might be reading this thinking 'Oh I'm sure she's exaggerating.' I wish I was. Based on expert testimony by my friends, even I'm convinced my flirtations are about as enjoyable as being poked in the eye with a wasabi coated chopstick. Case in point, my friend Caroline informed me recently her go to sentence when I finish talking to strangers is 'What she means to say is...' I don't mean to be abrupt, it's just my nature. It might also be a defence mechanism. I'm not gonna start telling you my theories about emotionally stunting incidents from my childhood (my money is on some pretty bad haircuts), but let's just say we all have our foibles and I'm working on it.
When I'm not being overly defensive, you might also find me exhibiting courtship behaviour that would make Sheldon Cooper look like Casanova. The other day a guy I know stopped me to ask how I was. I could have replied 'Yeah, good thanks. How are you?' But did I? Of course not. I winked, gave him a two finger salute and said 'How you doin'?' in my best Joey Tribbiani voice. He just laughed in my face. I don't even know why I did it. Am I a drunk sea captain? It's this kind of behaviour that makes Soph regularly tell me to put my 'game face' on, which basically means 'shut up and repress all your natural urges'. She has a point, silent Ebony is definitely appealing. Some of my outfits are a little whacked out, but if you're not afraid to be seen with someone in cat leggings, there's definitely potential. I adhere to an excellent standard of basic hygiene, have all my own teeth and take regular exercise in the outdoors, which gives my skin a healthy glow. Imagine how amazing I'd be if I was a pony!
At this point I imagine the readers are divided. Some of you will be thinking 'Holy crap, sort yourself out before you die alone!', others 'Don't go changing just to find a man!', or maybe 'Cat leggings, where can I get some of those bad boys?' Let me meet you in the middle. I think part of being a good human being is acknowledging the things about yourself that could be better, and pledging to work on them. I've always been sarcastic and snarky and I think my Mum's actually pretty proud of my ability to defend myself. But I'm not a nerdy teenager fighting off bullies anymore, I'm a successful, well traveled woman. I know myself better now, I like myself more, I'll never wear boot cut jeans again. Ever.
My nerves might make me act a bit like I'm on crack sometimes, but I'm still being me on crack. There isn't really any point in making someone believe I'm sweet and demure, only to find him crying in the toilets on our third date because I said his shirt looked like the love child of a Ken Done painting and Liberace's underwear. Although I now see there's no point in being mean to someone because it's easier for them to think you're a bitch, than acknowledge there's a chance they might not fancy you.
So, I don't have game. I lack that elsusive degree of 'smoothness' with the opposite sex that would see men lined up outside my door with flowers and boom boxes and kittens in bow ties. What I do have is an awareness of who I am, friends and family who love me and a damn great life. I'm pretty sure I'll just keep rolling til I meet someone on my level who wants to share those things with me. For now, Pink Deer is choosing to misread Public Enemy's lyrics for her single lady purposes- damn the game if it don't mean nuttin.
Image- personal shot from Existential Animals