A Boy Gamer's Guide to Dating Girls Without Being a Douchebag

I have a pathologically unhealthy obsession with misogynists in general and gamer misogynists in particular. I read their Reddit threads, click on their blogs, and just overall expose myself to such radioactive stupidity that I'm surprised I don't turn into one when the moon is full.

My favorite conceit out of all of this lunacy is this never-ending whine about how once upon a time girls made fun of guys for playing video games, and now want acceptance as gamers because gaming is "cool." I love this idea because it tells me everything I need to know about the person saying it, and it got me thinking that a lot of these people don't realize that being gamers is not what is causing women to throw things at them. To quote Captain Jack Sparrow, "The problem isn't the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem."

So me, in my eternal quest to try and bring the sexes together, I thought I would hand out some helpful advice gleaned from the many women I talked to on this subject recently. When you're a hardcore gamer dating a girl, here's some things you need to understand.

See also: Goodbye PS2, You Caused Me Much Grief

Yes, Some Girls Think That Gaming is Infantile and Stupid, and You Need to Get Over That: Let's set aside gaming for a moment to make a comparison. Remember when you were a teenager and some job wanted you to cut your hair, remove your nose ring, or wear a belt, and you stood up and screamed, "No one tells me how to be, The Man! You can't change who I am!"

That inherent belief that every single aspect of your life is sacred ground that must never be sullied is a hallmark of the last bit of psychopathy left over form being an infant. A woman that you're interested in is not required to consider gaming anything, be it a plus or a minus. Some people, men and women, just don't think highly of the pursuit, and you can either accept that and move on, or you can make someone's personal opinion about a hobby some grand (Read: stupid) sweeping statement on behalf of 50 percent of the population.

You Are Going to Have to Give Up Some Gaming Time: It seems so very, very simple, but a lot of people don't seem to realize what the point of being a couple actually is. The idea is that you spend time together doing things that involve one another because you like it. It's not because saying you're dating is cheaper than prostitutes and more fun than masturbating. There is another person you have to consider.

If you're not dating a gamer, you're not going to be able to pull marathon runs of play all the time now, and that is a perfectly reasonable request from someone that you've made an implicit promise to devote some considerable energy to. Even if she is a gamer...

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Monopolizing Entertainment Resources is Selfish: Both my wife and I are gamers. She likes handhelds and phone games, while I like consoles on the big screen. No problem, right? We can both play in the same room no problem.

Except sometimes she doesn't want to play. Sometimes she wants to watch Big Bang Theory, and that means that I can't play what I want to play. My options are simple. Ready?

1. Watch Big Bang Theory with her for a while because it's a measly half-hour show that is actually pretty funny when it isn't being ridiculously insulting.

2. Go do something else. Books are still a thing, as is exercise, bathing, playing with the cats, and the Internet.

3. Bitch and moan about what I want to do like a child that can't share.

That's the point I am trying to get across, here. You have to share in a relationship. That's what being a couple is. Nobody owes anybody anything, they just reciprocate respect and kindness.

See also: Goodbye PS2, A Non-Asshole Boyfriend's Remembrance

Do Not Game At Sexy Time: OK, let's say all this has gone right over your head, and you think the purpose of a girlfriend is merely to keep her vagina alive until you're ready to disappoint it for two minutes. Even you, good sir, I can help.

If you call a girl to come over to your house for what is obviously sex purposes, please resist the urge to fire up a game while you wait. Go take a shower, cut your nails, brush your teeth, get out the whips, and make sure the swing is secured. You laugh, but I have friends who made booty calls, started up a round of Starcraft and were completely puzzled when their girlfriend got fed up 15 minutes after getting there and took off. There is no raid in the world better than sex, OK? Just learn to wait.

Consider What You're Exposing Someone To: It's no secret that gaming has grown up in a big way, though oddly a lot of gamers haven't followed suit. While most of us wouldn't dream of hogging the TV to watch Hostel in the same room as another person who didn't like horror films, for some reason the fact that it's a game makes some people think that games are exempt from this rule.

I was enjoying Hitman: Absolution, but while my wife is a big crime drama fan she found it a little disturbing how gleefully I went about murdering people in a variety of inventive ways and asked if I could play something else. I said sure, because of course I can, and played the game while she was taking a bath or after she'd gone to bed.

Or consider my colleague Abby Koenig, who regaled us with the tale of an ex-boyfriend whose obsession with Tony Hawk games and their terrible soundtracks were one of the things that led to her kicking him to the curb. Is it really so much to ask that you turn the game down or put on head phones?

As I said in the beginning, gaming by itself is not a problem, and it's not standing between you and romantic love. Everything on this list applies just as equally to someone who is an avid golfer, who is really into the Texans, or otherwise has a passion in his or her life. A grown-up can pursue that passion while also considering the needs and wants of the people around him who he cares about. A child insists that he be catered to at every turn.

As for being made fun of in school by girls for playing games? If you're still holding onto that after graduation then frankly you're not ready for a girlfriend anyway.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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