Men, Video Games & Women

I’m a forty-something single/divorced guy living in Provo, UT with two other guys like me (age-wise that is). I am LDS and the other two guys are too (well, nominally). We do not get along and disagree about almost everything except gaming. We met in 1996. I was invited to play in a DnD game Ken was running and have never looked back. We played WoW and now are playing SWTOR.

There is an issue that comes up often: women. Ken likes women, but hates being around them. Jim likes women, but is so thoroughly intimidated by women that he doesn’t even talk about them unless pressed or are in our SWTOR guild (right now, he does not want to deal with the drama women bring to a guild and wants females to be permanently banned). I love women and am thinking it might be a good thing to remarry. I just have to start dating.

So what then about men and on-line/table-top gaming and how it pisses women off?

Ken says this animosity is proof that women are truly shallow. Jim won’t talk to women unless he is forced to: designers at work who break their computers, email and other tech things and his mother when she demands his presence in Salt Lake. Jim also thinks if a he is to get to know a woman, it is going to be through a common interest like SWTOR and then only on-line until she can prove to be completely non-threatening.

I think the animosity is hilarious. I sometimes do think of it is a way for women to convince/brow-beat men, as a whole and often as individuals, that the female way of thinking is better. Like I said: hilarious. Laughable. My sister Holly (up to USU for her MA; English Rhet) hates it that many of the men she knows up there would rather spend time with a game, a virtual reality, than with a non-virtual woman (I like to point out that this is impossible, but arguments about reality and truth are not suitable right now). While most men shrug when she brings it. Oh, we debate, but ultimately I point out that it is up to the individual man to determine his own identity and interests and not have identity, ideology and gender-rules foisted on him. The debates themselves are also hilarious as they then go to the faux intellectual concept of the man-code.

Holly, however, has a good point and a great sense of humor on top of being ravishingly smart: if a man is going to want a relationship, then he ought to play by the woman’s rules, right? Ken thinks this is more proof women are shallow. Jim has never been in a relationship where the woman was not using him for his computer knowledge or who has ever thought of him as her equal. For me, this argument boils down to many men thinking she is saying: “it’s me or the game” or “sex or games.” Hilarious, right? Framing is a big part of every argument and this one seems to be set up as a binary.

Binary thinking is weak. Nothing is ever this or that. Women and men in a postmodern world are deluding themselves if they think this simplistically.

Is a man “cheating” or being disloyal if he games? Ken thinks women are cheating in the conversation when they bring this up. Jim thinks women base all relationships on power and role-dominance and so any relationship with a woman is a cheat to his identity and integrity as he perceives it. I think this question is binary based again.

I think getting into a relationship with a woman would be great, but just as I have to respect her identity, she has to reciprocate. Gaming is fun, but I like food, politics, conversation, debate, art and books way more, but if there is time to kill brain cells, I’d rather play SWTOR than watch sports or TV news.

The binary deserves deconstruction, but are women courageous enough to work through it? Doubtful and so this false animosity makes the entire debate of men, video games & women even more hilarious.


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