There's a horrible myth that gamers have trouble finding love. It's the unfair assumption that the fairer sex doesn't dig on the pale and spongy amongst us. Living in New York I know this to be false. I've seen super models and super hot super geniuses cavorting with investment bankers and Wall Street types, people not unlike ourselves in the sense that they sit in front of monitors all day playing games. What I realized, from my observations, was that the feats of strength that once defined what was desirable in a mate, skills like otter clubbing and snake venom extraction, were no longer relevant in the face of lots and lots of money. Now, I personally don't have a lot of money but it's not inconceivable that some gamers would, like Richard Garriott before he vaporized all of it under the vodka infused flame of a Russian space shuttle.
Armed with my new knowledge, I decided to find a woman worthy of my attentions. My friends suggested the casual encounters section of Craigslist. This section, as it turns out, is a place where the vice squad and prostitutes vie for the attentions of lonely men with varying degrees of creativity. Where was the mystery I wondered? This was no fun, I knew exactly what I would get and how much it cost me per fifteen minutes. A more mainstream dating service was clearly in order. Having found such a site, I created a profile of myself that conveyed three things: an interest in videogames, a large trust fund and a love of city tap water. One of the respondents was a videogame and dog lover, which was great until I found out they meant this in the romantic sense with dogs and god knows what sense with videogames. The other respondent was a bar tender named Annabelle who shared my love of city water and said she preferred hers treated with fluoride. Similarities like this aren't mere coincidence, so this past weekend Annabelle and I had our first date.
First impressions are important, so I put on a Harris tweed sport coat and my homemade, "Rock out with your Contra out" T-shirt. The last time I wore cologne was in eighth grade, but I felt this occasion deserved it. So instead of rubbing the deodorant stick on my wrists and neck as I usually do, I went big and purchased some Drakkar Noir. In addition to its distinctive musk, I thought it would carry a certain ironic memory of Ferraris and the 1980's. Upon meeting Annabelle in Union Square it became evident, from the expression on her face, that it did indeed convey the 1980's, namely the parts we've all tried to forget. She did compliment me on my shirt.
No matter, I thought, because if scent isn't the way to a woman's heart then surely dinner is. There are a lot of great restaurants in New York City: Le Cirque, Masa and Per Se just to name a few. Knowing this, I took her to Quiznos. Now granted Quiznos offers one of the finest selections of toasted sandwiches in North America, but my choice was actually motivated by my desire to show her my adventurous side. The side that says, "Hey, expensive restaurants are great, but have you ever had lunch for dinner?" I won't go so far as to say she enjoyed her meal, but she definitely ate it. I suspect she may have been a Subway girl. Bellies full, to varying degrees of satisfaction, it was on to our next destination.
I knew of a secret arcade in Chinatown where only the most exclusive Virtua Fighter players are allowed to play. I decided to take her there, to show her the real gaming scene, the one they don't show you on television. Although, in all honesty it's not a whole lot different from what's on television or even what goes on in your living room. I had decent directions and figured the map I printed out could do the rest. At this point, as a kind of public service announcement, readers should know that Google Maps has no provenance over Chinatown, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. During our search for this arcade we saw many things including a horrible hybrid between a koi and a catfish that ate pennies for good luck, a civet getting vaccinated for SARS and an exhibition cock fight in which both of the roosters were muzzled and their spurs capped with gumballs. When we got to the arcade it was somehow sadly mundane.