In which our heroine ponders her singleness.

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Without exception, everything about falling in love is a game. Because of this, I happen to be the world heavyweight champ of falling in love. This is how decades of gaming has paid me off.

In early affairs of the heart, where balancing the scales between playing readily available and hard to get, I own. Shamelessly. I am a level 90 mage with a legendary weapon and epic steed, a badass, gun toting heroine who really doesn’t need you any damn way, and a damsel in distress locked inside an 8 bit tower breathlessly awaiting rescue by plumber. I know when to fight and when to surrender, when to respond and when to ignore, and when to run towards and when to run away. Basically, I’m a dungeon master. The entire romantic landscape is under my complete control. Once a competitor is identified, any resistance he puts up is futile, though I always let him think otherwise.

After weeks of spirited gameplay, the time eventually arrives to put up or shut up. In any game, there has to be a winner after all. After fighting the good fight, I concede joyfully into delusions of grand monogamous bliss, complete with diamond rings and washing machines and consolidated debts. This is when my mastery runs out and I flounder humiliatingly like a total noob.

I used to view my lack of long term commitment skills as complete, woeful failure at passing for a grown up. Most people I grew up with have 3 kids by now. I, in stark contrast, have a cat who I am convinced is the reincarnation of Sid Vicious. This means I don’t even have a consistent, warm relationship with a small animal, let alone a small human. Most people I went to college with are at least engaged, if not well into their first marriages. I am neither. I’m not even close to the diamond and the big party and all that. Yes, for many years I believed that the fact that I’ve yet to unlock the “Happily Ever After” achievement was because I am, in some way, defective. I mean, what good is kicking ass in levels 1 – 9 of a game if you just go on to do a total face-plant against the big boss on level 10? A waste is all that is. A tragic, pathetic waste.

But, after the end of my most recent relationship, I got to thinking. The kind of thinking you do as you sit in the bathtub, taking inventory of yourself until your fingers are prunes. The realization I came to was that my lack of a long term partner has nothing to do with my capabilities for maintaining a relationship. My only mistake has been choosing to align myself with inadequate players.

If you look back across my dating history, a pattern emerges. I consistently choose men who don’t even have the initial skills down, let alone the emotional depth & integrity required for committed relationships. My older sister says this happens because I’m only attracted to geeks and artists. I dig standard nerds, as well as audiophiles, bookworms, painters, and career intellectuals. She believes that if I’d just give up and find myself a nice, simple country boy, I’d be blissfully settled in no time. Obviously, the nerdy, artsy type is no good for me.

I love my sister. I really do. And it’s because I love her that I’m able to say this:

That theory is garbage.

So, I have come up with a vastly superior one: My relationships fail because I seek out the players with malfunctioning equipment.

(Not THAT kind of malfunctioning equipment, pervyface. Gross.)

I cozy up with men who never knew their fathers (or know them and hate them). I date guys who can easily make friends while playing an MMORPG, but maintain anemic relationships in that vast, scary place we call the real world. I pick men who drink too much, can never be serious (or are serious all the time), and have faith in nothing. I choose to strike up relationships with men who are fundamentally incapable of being authentically in love. They can be in like, less than 3, luv, and lust, but LOVE is out of the question. They just cannot do it.

Essentially, I date shoddy AI, computer generated opponents who can only match my skills as far as they’ve been programmed to. Picking these bots and choosing to stick around letting them win game after game is my only fault in the matter. I am otherwise a 25k platinum plated catch.

This realization has not only helped me tolerate my solo player status, but learn to revel in it. The only reason I’m unmarried and unattached is because I’m refusing to settle for noobs & trolls. I refuse to settle for ANYTHING less than face melting awesomesauce. Ever again. When the quirky nerd/ artsy dude I’m supposed to be with finally comes along, he’s going to have to be impressive. It’ll take a hell of a lot to win me over. But, he can handle it. Better than handle it, he’ll excel at it.

Why you ask?

Because he’ll be good enough not only to keep up with me, but outplay me altogether.

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