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The Dating Game

By Amanda Harrington

A few months ago, my roommate stumbled into the apartment, closely followed by a boy. I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and reading Harry Potter. It was 3 am. They were wasted. I wasn’t wearing pants. It was awkward.

I won’t try to excuse my drunk-reading. It’s just that more often than not, “going out” only means, “let’s go pick up boys.” And honestly, that gets so tiring. So, feeling unfulfilled by the evening, all I really wanted was what to know what happened to Dumbledore.

But saying to this strange boy standing in my kitchen, “excuse me, I’m not wearing pants,” was just the motivation I needed to get back into the game.

I hate when boys (yes, I call all potential dates boys. This is in part because I see the world as full of boys and girls, just people, regardless of age. In part because I don’t even consider myself a woman. And in part because I have yet to meet a potential date who is worthy of the title Man. But I digress. We’re still in parens, did you notice?) pretend that dating isn’t a game. Of course it’s a game.

My friends and I like to abide by the theory that ‘all’s fair in love and war,’ with the caveat that when you meet someone ‘special,’ the rules change. This is a convenient method of excusing any and all of our behavior, while condemning all the male behavior we dislike. This behavior I’m referring to can be succinctly summed up (with a few exceptions): “how can he not like me??”

Dating in New York City, I’ve learned in the past year, is a whole different game from that of college. It’s not just moving from the minor leagues to the major leagues. The competition isn’t just bigger, stronger and faster, with more expensive uniforms. It’s a total crapshoot. There really are no rules. And perhaps more daunting, there are no boundaries.

In retrospect, I really never dated in college. But when I moved to New York, I realized that either I accept my fear of dying a spinster with ten cats, or I start dating. Dating.

I think it’s clear that I can’t give any definitive advice, as I’m still learning this game. But I have certainly collected war stories (which I will unfold in due course).

This is one of the few pieces of wisdom I will shamelessly take credit for: in the words of a dear friend’s Mama, “Do it ‘til you like it.”

That’s what I’ve done this year. That’s my game.

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