I was referred to as "game," as in, "Dude, you’re messing up my game."  I guess it should be flattering, being called "game."  It’s better than being called chicken.  Still, suddenly, I’m drinking a non-chardonnay drink, and I’m some guy’s game.  Flattering?

It’s so not. 

It’s common, actually.  And no one wants to be made to feel common.  I mean, there’s good common, right, you know, Kraft products.  Sure you’ll eat a rare steak from Sparks from time to time, but it’s not nostalgia; it’s no Mac’ ‘N Cheese.  Kraft is home across America… that’s common.   And while I grew up, my mother didn’t do Kraft, but somehow, because it’s common to America, it has become my nostalgia, too.  It’s contagious.  What’s common to you becomes comfort.

We’re attracted to what we know, to the familiar, even when the familiar isn’t good for us.  We all, in one way or another, are looking for home.  We cling to common, so sometimes, when someone makes us feel common, despite our immediate urge to honor our flight mechanism, we stay, because it’s what we’re used to.  We know we should leave, but we stay out of comfort. 

As soon as someone treats us differently, honors us, makes us feel special, we become stressed, or overwhelmed.  It’s not what we’re used to.  It’s change, and even good changes are stressful.  And we’ve been complaining for so long, wanting to be treated differently, and when differently walks in, we lower our heads in submission and fear.  A whimper might even escape.

Women don’t want to be taken to the place where everyone knows his name.  I know you think we’ll be impressed, but really what we’re thinking is, he’s been here so many times, and he has memories here already.  It’s one thing if it’s his favorite little spot, and he knows you’ll love it because of who you are, so he wants to share it with you.  They’ve got great fries, or the best little truffle sandwich.  He has put thought into it, not picked it because he was there the night before and couldn’t think of anything else.  It would be different if he wanted to introduce you to his friends, show you off, but there’s a difference between planned and lazy.

New places mean uncertainty and vulnerability.  We don’t want 1-800-FLOWERS or bouquets of candles, cause we know that’s what you do.  It’s your power move.  That’s your common.  Common can just be lazy, and we like effort.  We came to think that we’d bring you to such great new heights, and you would sore above common.  You’d extend yourself to another person.  We all want to feel special and unique, but it’s tough in a lazy world of 800 numbers, habit, and Kraft products.

Do I really give a shite where he takes me?  Well, no, as long as I feel safe, I don’t care where we go.  The company is all that matters, but ever notice how common assumes an unmistakable likeness to “come-on!”  As in, make a little effort you lameass.  You know text messaging your ex-girlfriend on our date makes me feel common… as in a common fool.  It’s disrespectful, to all of us.  And we teach people how we want to be treated.

Here’s the rub.  When we are treated right, we’ve got nothing to complain about anymore.  And what fun is that?  I mean, I’m a helluva complainer, so perhaps; just maybe, we create things to complain about.  So we can make ourselves feel more common… because common is comfortable.



  1. "Common" can be used more than one way in the war of the sexes. There's yours/mine and then there's ours. To wit:

    Managed properly, the "Cheers Date" (taking her to 'where everybody knows your name') can be used in two different ways–both of which were intended to send a "this is me" message. Same setting… different effect.

    First, there's the "this is me" date where you WANT the gang to meet your date. This comes with a warning to them (sometimes greased along with several rounds on you) to be on their best behaviour. "This one matters, guys, I want you to meet her." You don't linger too long. You leave together.

    Then there's the "this is me"… "and don't expect me to change who I am or give any of this up just because wer're going out" date. Generally, no warning is given to the gang, you show up, do the high-fives around the room, ask who wants to shoot some pool, watch the game, or whatever. You end up buying your date the same kind of beer you're drinking, without asking. You linger FAR too long, she's more or less expected to go along to get along, and leave together having delivered your message (whether you intended to or not.)

    Ladies: Don't think this doesn't happen the other way around–and with even greater effectiveness. Only it's usually over wine, it's in a chi-chi place with plush chairs around a low table, and the discussion is 99% about "YoulljustdiewhenItellyouwhatIjustheardabout" ENTER NAME HERE. "CanyouBELIEVEitShe'ssucha"… ENTER PEJORATIVE DESCRIPTION HERE. The guy is left just as adrift as the girl in Cheers, only he's wondering if it's too late to reclaim his testicles at the coat-check.)

    That's the yours/mine common. The common that counts is the ours common, and if it's done right, it could end up being a park bench, a subway car, coffee shop, or wherever the first spark flew. Those are the commons that have POWER MOVE potential.

    It all depends on what your "game" is.

  2. Steph…please go deeper into why when a guy treats a woman differently, honors her, or makes her feel special that she becomes stressed. I know change can be stressful…but if the change is for the better then why run from it. Lots of women say they ended their last relationship because of the way they were treated and want to be treated differently (ie. better). Then when they get that, they run away from it. It makes no sense. Is it because they do not know what they really want? Or is it because they are scared because they got what they wanted, but weren't ready for it or weren't ready for the change?

    Brian great response and agree with you 100% on the yours/mine common. Also right on in regards to the chi-chi lounge with the girls.

  3. Okay, I like cards on the table. It's hot. But, I want to be able to finger and flip the cards over and examine them in my own time. In my last relationship, my ex gave me everything I needed. Treated me wonderfully, and I loved every minute of it… until.. I realized I didn't like him. You know, if someone asked me to list 3 people I'd want to be stranded on an island with, he wouldn't even make the top 10. That's a great question to help you assess how you really feel. I realized I was with him for how much he loved me instead of for who he really was. I need to be given the opportunity to like someone back, and that happens slowly, over time, from talking about things other than how much you like one another. From telling funny stories and exploring new things together.

    I used to be the kind of women where a guy wanting and treating me well was enough. You know, assuming there was attraction, education, common interests. But I learned that I have to choose him back, regardless of how much he wants me. I have to choose him, and it's hard to get to know him when your time spent together is full of his adoring you. For a needy insecure woman, that's enough. I used to be her. But I learned from that mistake. Now I've learned that it takes time… and I won't give the time of day to a guy who doesn't treat me well. And the ones that do… I want to get to know for who they are. We don't want to have insular conversations… we want to make new memories, share fun times, good friends, company with one another. You have to build a friendship first… but now you've got me talking in clichés. So I'll shut up now.

  4. Steph … I have to say, you must be a carpenter's dream. No no no!! I'm not talking about your boobs, girl, please! LOL I'm saying it because you HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD EVERY TIME. This time is no exception.

    I just had this discussion with my guy the other night, about having a place where everyone knows your name. He thinks it would be cool. It turns me off completely.

    More than turning me off, it offended me. It was like he took a little piece of me and "no, I don't want that". Sounds crazy right? Just the thought of him unwinding on a local bar stool after a long day's work, night after night, shut me out completely.

    It's a statement: I'd rather sit alone and drink than think of a way that we could spend a little more time together. The problem is he never gave me any indication that's what he'd prefer. It's just what I extrapolate. Women's minds run wild. That's where mine went.

    Have you seen that minivan/SUV commercial where the woman is driving her date after dinner? He took her to his favorite place and she asked if he took all his first dates there? He says "maybe". Yes, there's something comforting and stable about the familiar. We feel confident there. But it retains the memories of all things prior to you and that new person. A fresh start cannot be made there. Don't you think?

  5. It sounds like he basically worshipped you and sort of smothered you with how much he liked you. Also, it seems like he only wanted to talk about how much he liked you…without really getting to know you or you getting to really know him.

    Liking someone means you want to see more of that person and spend more time with that person to really get to know that person. The problem is that some people don't take the time to get to know the person for all that they are. They like the way the person looks, that the person is intelligent, etc. However, they never get to know the person fully. Finally when they do, then only some of their qualities are appealing, but most are not.

    You are right about insecure people and how they really fall in love with the way they are treated and not actually with the person. I am wondering whether he was insecure as well.

  6. Why is it that human emotion, emotion surrounding the opposite sex, is always referred to as a game? People's feelings are not a game. It's raw, unadulterated, genuine feeling. It's not about a three pointer at the buzzer, a walk-off home run, a hail mary, an empty netter. It's about heartfelt emotion.

    Too often we forget that.

  7. It's about balance, isn't everything? We adore creative and attentive, being treated well, all of it. But that can't be all of it. That won't make it a done deal. Because both people have to like one another for who they are. Just two people in socks, telling stories, and laughing until the tears stream down your faces. That's what it's all about for me. Okay, not all, but mostly.

    (I missed the Brooklyn thing tonight. I'm still at work… it's nearly 8pm.)

  8. NYNY,

    HELP! I read your response to Tom, but I'm still (apologies to Led Zep.) dazed and confused. I feel like I'm the antithesis of common. The anti 1-800-FLOWERS. I aim to soar above common. Unique, different, special. I shoot for all three, right? So I've, in essence, replaced Kraft with Keebler ('uncommonly good' for you nostalgia fans). So how come the end result (Keebler) ends up being no different than the dreaded common (Kraft)? From your perspective, you say feelings of stress, overwhelmed, uncertainty, and vulnerabiity creep in. I always thought the riskier Keebler, rather than the safer Kraft, is what women are looking for. I'm totally (obviously) confused. I could sure use an assist here.

    PS Enjoy your bluefood tasting…

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