In reading Lance’s response to Goot, I was forced to ask myself an unpleasant question: why do so many ladies out there hate “players” so much? Because an emotion or reaction like hate (or detest/dislike/despise/disapprove of, if you think hate is too strong of a word) can only be inspired in someone who is threatened by whatever caused the emotion. Generally we don’t admit this, and say things like “I feel sorry for them because…” or talk about karmic retribution or whatever. But, pretty much, saying that we hate players means that a) we think they’re onto something, and b) we’re afraid that they’re going to gain the upper hand with us. So a hatred of players generally revolves around fearing loss of control.
Fear 1. Players Don’t Play The Game. When it comes to dating, most of us imagine pretty much the same things, in the same order. Women may want political and economic equality, but they certainly don’t want equality in relationships–they want the upper hand. After all, most of the traditional rules of dating were designed to give the woman the advantage. One of the appeals of “nice guys” is that their responses are predictable: I talk to you and you buy me a drink.
(I’ll have a cosmo, please.)
If you approach dating this way, then a player is pretty scary because he’s a guy who makes his own decisions about social interactions, who can’t be manipulated by traditional notions of dating. Ladies often accuse fellas of “playing games,” but what they really mean is that he’s not playing their game, and if they’re not setting the rules they don’t want to play.
Lesson: Enjoy the Ride! It’s easy to conclude that if you don’t have the upper hand, then that must mean the other person is in control. And if manipulation’s all you’ve got, then yes, dating a player means the power dynamic is skewed in his favor. As a Virgo (we’re all about control), this one is a toughie for me, too. However, ask yourself:
- What have traditional notions of dating really done for you? If they worked, wouldn’t you have found someone already?
- Is being in complete control of the situation worth being alone? And if you do find a guy you can control completely, can you respect him enough to be happy?
Yes, a certain amount of dating is luck–there are a finite number of people you are compatible with. But if you’re not finding anyone, maybe the system is flawed. Pay attention to what players do and why it works, and then incorporate those strategies into your own repertoire. Approaching dating with a playful confidence will make you stand out from the crowd.
Fear 2. Players are hard to read. One of the side effects of predictability is having the guy tell you how amazing you are and how in love with you he is. Ladies sometimes use the amount and quality of compliments they receive to judge whether the relationship is working. If that’s how you roll, then it’s going to be very hard for you to date a player because they just aren’t going to spend every minute of your relationship reassuring you of things you should already know. Plus, their confidence doesn’t depend on compliments you give them, so you can’t use their insecurity against them.
Lesson: Confidence Comes From Within. Judging a relationship by compliments isn’t confidence, it’s vanity–and vanity, my friends, is really just a form of insecurity. Instead of asking yourself whether they compliment you enough, ask yourself whether they complement you enough. Are you a good fit? Do you enjoy some of the same interests and hobbies? As far as your own self-confidence, try learning something new or setting a goal and working toward it. Be proud of things you’ve worked to achieve (an advanced degree, learning to snowboard) rather than things you have no control over (like youth and beauty, which are both temporary).
What being a player is really about is the realization that you have to be in control of yourself because, let’s face it–yourself is the only thing you can control. You can’t make other people do or be anything that they don’t want to do or be, and vice versa. So stop worrying endlessly about who’s in control of who, trying to make someone fit your mold, or changing yourself to fit theirs. Why don’t you try making your life what you want and finding someone who fits in seamlessly?