When Shakespeare said 'all the worlds a stage', he was actually having a Nostradamus moment and predicting the future. He was foretelling of the year 2016. The time when grown ups were playing, having fun and fornicating frivolously during the renaissance period of online dating.
Whether they admit it or not, every ‘singleton’ is giving it a whirl. Admittedly some claim to have gotten confused when downloading the Uber app and accidentally ended up with a Coffee Meets Bagel profile. But the truth is- all of us are playing in the game of life.
Game playing has connotations. Fun. Losing. Winning. Cheating. When playing a game frequently, be it the ‘I will not text back for 48 minutes even though my phone is in my hand' game or 'Sonic the Hedgehog' on a SEGA mega drive, we start to learn and acquire tricks of the trade. We may put on a poker face and act indifferent to the text message we are overjoyed to receive. Perhaps we have found a secret level to help us defeat Dr Robotnik. No matter our tactics or skill set, when dating in New York we deploy the same approaches.
Take our online dating profiles for example. Girls know when taking a good selfie you hold the camera up high and tilt downwards to make our *eyes* look bigger. And that will be a good picture to attract a male mate. Men on the other hand, who may consider themselves average looking, will wear sunglasses and pose with a more stereotypical attractive male friend in all of their pictures so as the female is unsure of what man she is swiping or clicking on in hopes of a connection (You have to admire these guys and their swag, many men think a picture of them holding a dead lobster is a turn on to women...).
But our 'pretend' selves and dating personas do not stop at iPhotos or Instagram uploads for our Bumble and Tinder apps. When we meet face to face we continue the charades. We may wear costumes to appear more desirable in the form of padded bras or a designer suit. Perhaps some of us pretend we are not hopeful that this encounter will lead to the great love all of us hope to experience at some point in our lives. In this pretense, we may act coy or hard to figure out. Then there are others who deserve Oscars for their performances when they play the role of being everything you want just to get what they want. Usually these people are never seen or heard from again, so one can only presume they have fallen into the Bermuda Triangle.
I imagine there's a time that all of us pretend to be something we are not. And sometimes this may even happen accidentally, perhaps as a result of alcohol. One time I was so nervous about reconnecting with an old flame I thought it would be an excellent idea to mix peach schnapps and gin on an empty stomach for some Dutch courage pre-date. And needless to say my only memory of that post-date, is me lying on my bathroom floor wearing one shoe, dog hanging from it and my 19 year old dog sitter standing over me, holding a pint glass of water and looking at me with utter distain.
As a child I dreamed of playing the stage of The Globe Theatre in London and envisioned this being my greatest accomplishment. More recently, I learned my biggest achievement was putting my heart out there. I discovered this when I did something that I had never done before. I played jeopardy by sending a guy a gift- a pair of socks covered in boobs, to let him know how much I liked him. And even though I didn’t come up trumps, I am happy that I gambled.
Whatever great performance we choose to give in this particular playhouse, whether we win the game or not. We have to applaud and congratulate one another. For continuing to put ourselves out there. To have the tenacity to keep trying in spite of possible rejection.
We never know the outcome and have to be brave and take the risk of losing. Sometimes we just have to gamble the things most precious and sensitive to us- our hearts and egos, to hit the jackpot.
So next time you agree to meet that match for a drink or dinner, have fun. Play and remember; "All the worlds a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”