I was a little lost looking up and down the aisles of Best Buy, trying to find the new PSP3 video game title The Kid asked me to pick up for him.
But as it turned out, my aging eyesight wasn’t being put to the test as much my ears. Nearby, I could hear a few guys discussing the pros and cons of various video games. I thought they were middle-aged dads talking about their teens’ gaming skills, until I gave them a good look — they were late-20- to early-30-somethings, max, too young to have kids indulging in the joys of the latest Grand Theft Auto.
And then I thought of The Kid, who kills more than his share of hours in front of FIFA
Soccer 11 or the latest MLB or Madden title, and all of a sudden I had a freak-out moment — is he going to be a gamer past his teens? He wouldn’t be the only one. And, if I were dating someone like him — or the late-20- to early-30-somethings at Best Buy — how would I feel about it?
Would I want to be dating a gamer?
No. Well, I don’t think so, but I realize it’s not fair to say that; I’m not a late-20- to early-30-something woman who’s grown up with video games and all the other techno stuff we can’t seem to live without. Maybe it’s no big deal. Honestly — how different is it than blobbing out in front of the TV, which I did grow up with (although barely watch anymore). We Trekkies turned out OK, right? And, my boomer friends and I still play board games — Scrabble, anyone?
And yet, there’s something about guys sitting around for hours on end killing people or even just kicking soccer balls around that makes me pause; it seems childish, like guys are suspended in adolescence (not quite a child, not quite a man but a child-man).
Now, I love it when a guy is in touch with his boyish side, but I mean the playful, imaginative, dreamer side — not the boyish side usually portrayed in the clueless T&A-obsessed beer-soused frat boy flicks, the kind that thinks hours of Final Fantasy with a Halo- keg and pizza chaser is a good use of time. But I wouldn’t be dating those kinds of guys, anyway.
I don’t think video game playing is a threat to society — if I did, I wouldn’t let The Kid play them (although at this point, it would be one helluva battle to get him to stop!) I think checking your cellphone or Facebook constantly may be more threatening — certainly to relationships, and that happens a lot more with both genders and among all ages.
I would have no problem learning how to play FIFA Soccer 11 or whatever if it brought my kid and me together although I haven’t volunteered to learn nor has he asked; might be weird to bitch-slap Mortal Kombat‘s Bo Rai Cho with your Mom by your side.
Would I want to do that to be closer to my partner? Uh …
- How do you feel about guys playing video games?
- Is there an age when guys should stop?
- Is it any better/worse than TV watching?
- Do you kids play them, and do you place limits on time/violent titles?
Just came upon this interesting article over at the Good Men Project, asking Why do we demonize men who are honest about their sexual needs, which adds to the conversation about staring and the anxiety women feel sometimes when a man crosses over into “creep” category.
Give it a read, and tell me what you think.
It was hard not to notice the new barista. He had shocking blue hair, a few piercings dotting his face — nose, eyebrows, chin — colorful tattoo sleeves, and gigantic Maori-like bone earrings dangling from his overly stretched earlobes.
Now, I’m old enough and live close enough to San Francisco where few things shock me, but I couldn’t help but overhear the yummy mummy in line behind me whispering to her young son something about “not staring.”
It reminded me of that time in my life when my “wheels” were on a wheelchair; kids and adults stared, smiled and generally fussed over me because … well, I’m not sure why, exactly. Because I was “different”?
Yummy mummy is right of course — it isn’t polite to stare. But give that boy about 10 more years and he’ll most likely be staring at the developing breasts of his female schoolmates and no one will be telling him to stop, including Mom (and probably not Dad, who might be staring, too).
And it’s a behavior that’s likely to last him throughout his adulthood (although no doubt some woman — like a girlfriend or wife — will eventually, perhaps repeatedly, tell him to stop ogling).
So, let’s get this straight: It’s not OK to stare at the “different” among us — the disfigured, the disabled, the obese (although, they’re more the norm than the oddity nowadays) or the intentionally freakish like Mr. Barista — but it’s OK to stare at women.
I think I remember some Brit study that said guys spend about 43 minutes ogling women — make that about 10 women — a day (a number that obviously does not include porn watching and fantasies), totaling 11 days a year.
This is either an incredible waste of time or not nearly enough, depending on your viewpoint.
But, you have to wonder – are women somehow “different” just because we have breasts (uh, well, some of us!) and curves? (OK, this might be a big “doh.”) Or is it because, well, what do we expect if we wear a tight shirt, a short skirt and some f-me stiletto black boots?
Not to say that I’m not flattered if a man comments on how I look or, yes, gazes at me approvingly. I think most of us are OK with that (including men who appreciate a woman’s glowing glance). And, yes — if the man doing the looking happens to be attractive I’m much more open to it than if he’s not. I know that’s not fair, but I think we all want to be noticed by the people we want to notice us, not every Tom, Dick and Harry.
But, there are times when I really didn’t want to be looked at “that way.” Sometimes staring crosses a line. I’m pretty sure almost every woman has felt the kind of stares that come dangerously close to making us feel threatened, or the kind that say that we were “asking for it,” whatever that “it” is. Being looked at that way never feels good.
How many men — disfigured, disabled, obese or intentionally freakish — can say the same?
- Gals, do you like being stared at by men?
- Do you dress or primp yourself in ways to get stares?
- What about those uncomfortable stares?
- Guys, are you blowing 43 minutes (more or less) a day checking out babes?
- If parents admonish kids that it’s “not polite to stare,” should they also being teaching their sons not to ogle girls?
photo © Maria Iglesias – Fotolia.com