Inside Column: Un-funny games

Marian Daniells
Marian's Musings

by Marian Daniells, News Staff
Remember, back in the day, when a kiss was a big deal? When it wasn’t just an act of pity or sloppy drunkenness, but a mutual acknowledgment of feelings for each other? Somehow, everything in the dating arena got so complicated in the transition from child to adult.
I was walking the other day on campus and saw a couple holding hands. I stared for a while before I realized the reason I found their public display of affection so interesting is because there aren’t many people that I know in relationships on campus.
I’m not talking about the people still dating their high school sweethearts; they follow a completely different set of rules (and have a completely different set of issues). I’m referring to the single, dating population that I unofficially estimate accounts for 65 percent of the student body, given the number of green-clad boys and girls at stop light parties.
Why is Northeastern not a dating school? Is it the fact that we live in the city and have a seemingly endless supply of college students? Is it because co-op somehow makes us too busy to date? And why is dating in college so darn complicated?
I miss the simple days. Back in middle school, I didn’t have to worry about the subtext of a drunk text or the meaning of an unreturned phone call. Back in the day, the only cheating was in monopoly, when I would not-so-discreetly hide extra bills under the board.
Back in the day, relationships – if they can even be called that – were simple.
Consider Hypothetical Harry: I like Harry so I tell my friend who tells her friend to tell Harry’s friend that I like him. Then Harry’s friend would ask him if he liked me. If Harry did, his friend would tell my friend who would dare me to send Harry a note.
“Do you like me? check a box.” If and when Harry checked yes, my friend would ask his friend what his AIM screenname was. Then we’d chat for a couple nights over AIM and I’d put some song lyrics in my info that were just for him. Probably some Ashlee Simpson. My taste in middle school was questionable.
Then, over AIM, Harry would ask me out. And we’d be “going out” (not that we would actually “go”anywhere). We might smile in the hall.
A week later Harry’s friend would tell my friend to tell me that Harry wanted to hold my hand at recess. Then, another week later, our friends would dare us to kiss each other. They would stand in a circle guarding/watching while we snuck into the buses for a single peck.
A week later we’d be broken up over AIM. See? Simple.
Back in the day, nothing was more exciting than making out behind the school.
Nowadays the games and “rules” screw everything up. Dating leads to hookups and hookups lead to … well … hookups
Things just aren’t simple anymore. Boys (and, admittedly, many girls) seem to think that they just want to “have fun” and then settle down junior year. Last time I checked, being in a relationship IS fun. At least, more fun than the confusion, frustration and disappointment of dating.
By the way, Ashlee Simpson just started playing on iTunes. Go figure. “I’ve been waiting all my life to finally find you/ Just so I can push you away/ And when you’re crawling over broken glass to get to me/ that’s when I’ll let you stay [high pitched squeal].”
See? Even Ashlee Simpson plays games. Why are things so complicated, so ridden with riddles and rhymes? Pop culture tells us that the games and complications are supposed to be fun.
Case in point: Blair and Chuck (of “Gossip Girl”). Or Cappie and Casey (yes, I watch “Greek.” Moan and groan all you want). Or Carrie and Big (of “Sex and the City,” of course), who somehow manage to play games for more than a decade.
Even the script writers of “Sex and the City” recognized how mystified women are by relationships and games. Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s “He’s Just Not That into You” serves more like a guidebook for scaling the tumultuous landscape of relationships than an actual read. It even has fill-in-the-blanks like some sort of therapeutic workbook.
I realize I’m babbling on. But I guess I’m just too naive to understand why games are so much fun. Solitaire? Definitely. Monopoly? Yes. Call of Duty? I’ll leave that to the boys. But dating games? Stringing someone along just for the ego boost? That’s more than Monopoly money you’re messing with; it’s the vulnerable girl who didn’t read her guidebook. And that, dear gamers, should never be fun.

– Marian Daniells can be reached at inside@huntington–

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