My guildie Redhawks wrote a post about dating as a WoW player a few days ago. I’ve always found the stereotype of the WoW player who can’t find a girlfriend (or boyfriend! let us not be sexist or homophobic) to be silly in itself, because, as a singleton WoW player, I’ve encountered way, like WAAAY more players who are romantically committed than players who are single. The rare fellow singletons I’ve met tend to be either very young or, like me, too overwhelmed with life to have energy left over to give another person.
It’s been so long since I’ve had the urge to be completely silly. And what better way to be silly than to exaggerate one’s misadventures while exploring Western (and other) society’s 2vs2 team ideal. Smug marrieds (the term, as well as the term “singleton”, belongs to Helen Fielding but is so appropriate) can feel even more smug about having married their high school sweetheart at the age of 18 (because, you know, EVERYONE was attracted to other people and had a sweetheart in high school! …there were a total of 2 remotely attractive guys at my high school and I was too shy to talk to either of them) and other singletons can feel satisfaction in the fact that, no matter how hard they fail, there’s always someone failing harder.
The UI Theory
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty open about gaming. I’m just as open about my other hobbies. My rational is that we’re either compatible or we’re not. 98% of the time, I’m very satisfied with my IRL default UI. If I’m going to download an addon for it, it better meet my system requirements. No point in risking a wipe by teaming up with someone who’ll send my real life FPS through the roof.
And from what gamer guys say, you’d think that, as a girl, uttering the words World of Warcraft on a first date would equal instascore. To illustrate this, I’ve unscientifically guestimated the following statistics:
Yeah, you’d think that, as a girl, uttering the words World of Warcraft on a first date would equal instascore.
I won’t lie and say WoW’s never gotten me anywhere. There was that one time I crashed at a WoW friends’ house while on trip a few years ago…he offered to show me his WoW, I showed him my WoW, one thing led to another. What can I say? Neither of us could resist a well designed UI. I’ve also had a number on longstanding non-romantic friendships in real life! come from gaming discussions.
Buuuut, in general, WoW hasn’t gotten me very far.
This summer, it dawned on me that I was about to turn 26. I had a couple of collegues who were 26. They often talked about their husband, their children (yes, with a ren on the end), their permanent residence and their year-round job. Forgetting for a moment that I don’t even want any of that (ok, I do I want children, but pregnancy is NOT my thing, I’ll adopt, tyvm…and a year-round job would be pretty nice eventually, I am sometimes curious as to what it’s like to live above the poverty line), I panicked: “Oh noes! I haven’t even dated in years! I should give it a try again!“
You’d be amazed what you can find on Craigslist.
Next thing I knew, I was face to face with someone who was slightly too young for me, but not enough for it to be creepy. He was cute, we had mountain biking and hiking in common and we were both casual about other outdoorsy sports. Then I cleverly brought up WoW.
Me: I saw the Prince of Persia movie last week. It actually reminded me a lot of the game.
Him: Yeah, movies based off of video games are pretty cool.
Me: I wonder how the World of Warcraft movie will turn out.
Him: My buddy had a girlfriend once who used to play World of Warcraft for like 9 hours a day. All she did all day was was play the game.
We awkwardly stared at each other for moment as we watched our rep with other person go down.
He did send me an email that night, but I never heard from him after that. I suspect he found my Twitter account and subsequently, my blog. (If you’re reading, hi!)
Of course, not everyone associates WoW with “crippling time wasting addiction”. Sometimes, the opposite happens.
Me: I play video games.
Him: Me too. I mostly play WoW.
Me: Awesome! I play a pal-
Him: I don’t really have a main though. I raid with one of my hunters, with my shaman and with two of my druids.
Me: Oh, I just raid with my pal-
Him: I’m not finished. I also have a level 80 rogue I used for pvp, and an 80 shadow priest, dual specced warrior, DK-
Me: Oh, I-
Him: and a 78 mage, and two warlocks that I’m levelling through LFD.
Jerk didn’t let me talk AND HE DIDNT HAVE A PALADIN. Like WTF.
The Geekier-Than-Thou Attitude
Sometimes it’s also hard to have both WoW AND other hobbies in common.
Me: That’s so cool that we both play WoW! What else are you into?
Him: I deeply appreciate extreme left wing eastern european cinematography.
Me: That’s interesting! I love learning about new cultures and languages.
Him: Negative, I possess no desire to aquire such knowledge, my primary concern is despair determined from the failings of our unscrupulous and inadequate politicians. I firmly believe in the revolutionary power of anarchy…
Ok, he used way more words than that, but I kinda fail at bullshit speech. Besides, I lied in that description. My game crashed (read: I fell asleep) way earlier on. (I can’t be too critical though, I talk boys to sleep fairly often too.)
There’s also the geek who took his geekness a tad bit too seriously. He didn’t like that I played WoW, oh no. Apparently, WoW is to gaming what Lady Gaga is to music and what Twilight is to literature. Since I rather enjoy dancing to Lady Gaga and haven’t read Twilight, I’m not sure where he was coming from.
Sometimes it’s not you they want anyway
By the end of the summer, I was pretty discouraged. As lovely as a real life default UI can be, IRL guildies tend to pressure you in to getting relationship addons and nastily hint that maybe the reason you haven’t even had a fling in a year and a half might be because there’s something wrong with you. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since there are a whole lot of ugly and not very nice people who are blissfully married.
Fortunately, I randomly met Gropey McGroperson one day. He wasn’t a gamer, but really didn’t care whether I was or not. He didn’t care about much, now that I think of it.
Him: Here, come stand closer, I can’t reach you.
Me: I like to play video games.
Him: You wanna come over to my place? My family’s gone for awhile, we’d have the place to ourselves.
Me: Oh, you probably shouldn’t put your hands there, it’s a little awkward with all these little kids running around. Anyway, yeah, I’m really into raiding, but I haven’t had a lot of time to play lately.
Him: You have such a nice ass, I can’t believe you don’t have a line of guys hitting on you already.
Me: I have 3 paladins. Um, no, don’t undo that button, we’re in public and it holds my pants up.
He got a little offended when I didn’t let him stay the whole night and wasn’t interested in seeing him again.
Him: But we have such a good connection!
Me: Sir, you and I have at least 4k latency. At least. That is NOT a good connection.
On the bright side, that probably extinguished my sex drive for the next year and a half. I’m no longer worried about there being anything wrong with me and I’ll certainly save on batteries.
As usual, Candace Bushnell has the answer
In the introduction to the edition of Sex and the City I read this summer, Candace Bushnell talks a bit about being single, dating, fantasies and eventually concludes that deep down inside, those of us who are single are single because we want to be.
I don’t think mentioning WoW makes a difference in dating either way, regardless of gender. All of my experiences have just reinforced my notion that we’re either compatible or we’re not. Human beings are way too complex to just be classified as WoW player and non-WoW player. To me, though, having a lot of common hobbies is really important so I still have no issues with bringing up WoW on the first date, whether it gets me anywhere or not. And not getting anywhere makes for better stories anyway.