Editorial: The Veteran Gamer Stuns Gal Crowd
Okay, I'll flat-out admit it: I haven't done jack sh** in terms of partying or dating in the past few months. I've been very busy and I also haven't any desire whatsoever to get out to the clubs, hang out with friends, etc. The depressing part about the latter is that as we're all 30+ now, some of them already sport a ball and chain; I'm not against family (far from it), but it just makes us all feel older.
Anyway, I'm far too old to bow to peer pressure - hell, I never did when I was in school - but I decided to indulge a friend of mine whose girlfriend annoys the ever-loving crap out of me. I suppose that's beside the point, but ever since those two have been dating, that girl has sworn up and down that she has a friend I should meet... Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with letting a friend set you up - or worse, letting a friend's girlfriend set you up - this sets of six thousand warning bells and about ten thousand red flags flutter before your suspicious, frightened eyes. It's as if someone came up to you in a war zone and said, "okay, you see that hill way over there? It's a safe zone. It's all pretty and peaceful. All you have to do is cross this 10-mile minefield and you're home-free. Good luck!" But to appease my friend, who has yet again chosen a brainless waste-of-space as a temporary partner (it better be temporary), I decide to meet her friend.
Here's the best part- during this whole procedure, that girl apparently neglected to mention what I did for a living. This may not seem like a big deal to all you 15-year-olds who live in an era where gaming is considered "cool" (dear God, what I wouldn't have given to live in such a time), but to those twice your age, it's a big deal. None of these girls we're talking about had even looked at a video game for longer than ten consecutive seconds in their lives, and so, when I walked in - just assuming everyone already knew - I was introduced to a group of four girls, and I was to sit next to the one who wanted to meet me. I won't go into details concerning their looks, but if you want to picture four late-20's, early-30s good-looking, businesswomen who cut it loose on the weekends at clubs, you'll be in the ballpark. Think "Sex in the City," I guess. Although I've never actually watched that show. But whatever.
Anyway, everyone starts talking about their week, and I'm assuming they're aware of what I do. But when the conversation shifts to me and I start talking, I sense a dead silence that continues to stretch on as I speak. Then I focus on the eyes facing me...one girl had frozen in place, her drink halfway to her mouth. Another really, really wanted to laugh but her face was red from holding it in. Another was hiding her face in her friend's shoulder. The girl on my left, the one I'm supposed to meet, is staring at me as if I had just given birth to an otter. You can probably guess that my confused response to this was, "...what?" Then it exploded. They just refused to believe that I did what I did and in fact, they refused to believe that such a thing as a "game journalist" or "game critic" even existed. They weren't mean about it - thankfully - they were just legitimately shocked. My age group always is, now that I think about it.
They were so adamant in their disbelief, I actually had to get online and prove it. It's easily the most insane thing I've ever done. I think I made their day. They'll have a story to tell for the rest of their lives. One of them, this cute blonde who giggled a lot and irritated me said, "oh my God, I thought you were like an athlete or some sort of lawyer or something." Oh yes, because I'm in shape and I drive an M-class Infiniti, right? The girl I was supposed to meet - pretty, brown hair, a nose a little too big for her face, great body, etc. - thinks I'm an exotic. Now, we're not only supposed to go out next weekend (I'm leaving for a few days early next week so don't everyone freak out), but I have this feeling that whatever happens, her friends will grill her for details. Like she had gone out with a hillbilly astronaut.
...you should've seen it when they saw my business card, which includes everything I've done in the past five years, including the newspaper and FOX stuff. I thought their heads were going to explode.
4/17/2009 Ben Dutka