Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Playing Too Hard To Get - Part One

In my last post Can't Read My Poker Face Or Can You? I explored the relevance of game playing in the early stages of dating. And as is often the case with my blogging, I shamelessly probed my lovely Twitter followers for their insight and general ingenuity. One tweet I received was of particular interest to me:

Which has inspired what will become a series of posts on the notion that while game playing can inject a certain level of excitement and intrigue into a relationship, it's imperative that you don't overdo it. 

The act of nonchalance is very easy to do when you're genuinely not interested in someone's advances,  however when the feeling is forced it becomes more of a chore than a thrill. Still, I've begrudgingly become quite well versed in appearing frosty and uncaring, since for a time I genuinely believed it was the only way to deal with men. And the most common form of manipulation which most women employ in the early stages of communicating with a prospective date is unavailability.

According to 'The Rules' (a controversial self-help book for women with careful instructions on how to implement business strategies in finding a husband) becoming less available to a man is paramount in those crucial early stages.

When it comes to communication:

"You should never call him." 

 Don't send him that telegram

I can appreciate why you shouldn't initiate any contact with him, because obviously the first sign that he's somewhat interested is by his need to strike up a conversation with you. Of course with the advent of email, social networking and instant messaging it's important not to read too much into this. He could very well just be saying a friendly hello because he's bored or there's an advert on or he's after a naked photo of you (as is often the case). But this is a sensible rule and one which I mostly adhere to. 

Why you should follow it: It's so easy to talk to people these days (I often ring people by accident) that if he's not talking to you, the chances are it's because he's choosing not to. And if he can't be bothered to text/tweet/IM you imagine what else he won't be bothered about doing?

Why you should cheat it:  There's nothing to stop you from casually getting the ball rolling if you really want to and I say do it! But not at the expense of you doing all of the conversational legwork. If his replies are decidedly lackluster then don't set yourself up for continual rejection because it's really not worth it.

"You should rarely return his calls."

Not even if you wanted to

I understand the idea that absence can create anticipation and a sense of urgency but that doesn't warrant not replying at all. Although certainly wait a little while to reply. It's pretty standard for there to be a thirty minute interval between text messages. Of course the worst scenario is when you're waiting for a reply to a text message and the person in question is online - excruciating. If this ever occurs for me, I just send them to my offline list. The little green circle next to their name is a cruel joke, reminding you that they'd rather scroll through their inane newsfeed than reply to your witty innuendo. 

Why you should follow it: Not replying to every little thing he sends your way can work to your advantage because after all men are pitiful little creatures a lot of the time and tend to equate longing with love. And essentially by taking your time the theory is that you become a catch rather than a convenience.

Why you should cheat it: It's one thing to test the willingness of the pursuer, but it's quite another to appear completely uninterested. Reply. But don't ask a question. Go for a conversation killer like indeed or haha. That's a test: his willingness to start a new topic. 

When it comes to calling it a night:

"Always end phone calls and dates first."

Gently does it

Being an enigma has become rather difficult over the last few years due to our increasingly prevalent online accessibility to each other. Especially for someone like me who is a self-confessed social networking whore and an avid blogger whose identity is unashamedly exposed to the masses. Creature of mystery isn't exactly something I can pull off.

Anyway, abruptly ending a conversation with the intention of creating further interest seems to me like the equivalent to cutting the head off a flower which is still in full bloom - agonising and unnecessary. This coupled with the fact that despite anything else I might be doing I'll always be signed into some form of instant messaging in the background. So it's not as if I'm sat staring unblinkingly at the chat window, I just happen to be constantly online. And sometimes the conversation just goes on and on and on.

As for a date situation, I'm notoriously unable to call anything a night. Even if I'm not particularly having a great time, I'll just consume more alcohol and mysteriously it suddenly doesn't seem quite so bad. (I would hasten to add that I'm not an alcoholic. Yet, I'm sure it's in the post). But if you're having a really great time with someone, I can see the benefit of leaving in good grace instead of risking the point where you're starting to get on each others nerves.

Why you should follow it: While I'm not completely sold on the leaving them wanting more concept, I think it's important to assert that you actually have a life and don't put it on hold for anyone too easily. So when you do eventually make room for that special person they'll feel as though they've earned it as opposed to thinking you just do that for everyone. Also, being the first to bid good night on a date eliminates the chances of sleeping with him too early. (However I will be exploring how soon is too soon in my next post).

Why you should cheat it: Keeping the conversation flowing is a barometer for that initial attraction felt between two people. If you're constantly cutting it short, how are you going to decide if it could really be something? The danger of course is if it enters the realms of unnecessary subjects. Sex talk should be kept off the table, along with naughty pictures and abortion jokes. Let him cut it short sometimes.

While solitaire can be a laugh riot, two player games are equally as rewarding. 

Click here for Part Two or here for more posts on dating advice for women.