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The Girls Ultimate Dating Playbook

In alignment with a few of my other articles, I DO NOT have the secret recipe for dating success. A tried-and-true strategy with a 95% success rate has not been uncovered since the “Bend and Snap” circa 2001 in Legally Blonde. A person with as little life experience as I have doesn’t have the right or the legal resources to advise others on how to find love.

However, a certain section of our student body believes that women don’t need strategy when they’re looking for a love interest. Girls get to go out to bars, have all their alcohol paid for, and get to choose from a sea of men as if they were grocery shopping. “You don’t have to lay any ground work!” cries the peanut gallery, “You can hook up with anyone you want just by batting your eyelashes!”

Who knew we were living the dream? Free shots of house liquor and unlimited sexual gratification, all for the price of the shortest black dress a college budget can buy. This is the kind of respect and admiration that the Suffragettes, Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou, and Leslie Knope fought for.  

Any girl will tell you, regardless of sexuality or originally-assigned gender, this is usually not the case. While it might be relatively easy for girls to get a guy (or girl), it’s just as difficult for them to get the one they want. Supply may meet demand but not all goods are substitutable in the monopolistically competitive dating market. As such, girls everywhere have had to divide and specialize themselves into several categories of “game.”

Short game: These people have mastered the concept of the job interview. The old adage goes, “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression,” and chances are, they’ve never even flirted with needing a second chance. Upon meeting them, any potential partner will walk away with a very memorable, very positive picture in their head.

Unfortunately, this strategy tends to be best suited for meeting strangers or cultivating short-term flings. This is because the allure of the first-impression can only be repeated a handful of times before both parties lose interest. However, don’t think this puts those in the short-game category at any disadvantage – often they’ve specialized this way to suit their goals.

Long game: Quiet or perhaps mildly antisocial, those in the long-game category don’t boast the charismatic pull to reel someone in during a five minute conversation. This doesn’t bother them, nor should it. With their cynical, “give it time” attitude, the long game players realize that they need only a couple of months to reveal their sparkling personality and have someone wrapped around their finger.

Very similar to drug addiction, long game is almost impossible to notice until it’s too late and the person is completely hooked. However, these people are often forgotten when competing with the sparkling showmanship of those with short game. Also, they sometimes miss out on great people and opportunities in their long-term single-mindedness.

Mid-Game: A rare and powerful combination, these people can adapt their strategy into short or long game to fit their particular situation. They tend to have a higher success rate in their romantic endeavors than the average person, as they’ve somehow mastered both strategies at the same time. (An incredibly difficult feat that deserves all kinds of respect.)

While it seems that this person should hold all the cards, the mid-game player often plays the wrong strategy with the wrong person, i.e. forgetting to turn on the charm when meeting a stranger, or playing it so over-the-top that they become “one of the guys.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter what your goals are, where you’re meeting people, or your level of intoxication throughout. It’s never too late to analyze and adopt a new strategy, just to see what works for you. With this new insight, have fun people-watching at CJ’s and developing your own personal brand of game. Good night, and good luck.

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Kelsey Collett is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Marketing and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Aside from being a writer for HCND, she is a distance runner, an avid reader and a caffeine addict. Her strengths are writing about books, pulling all-nighters, and sarcastic comments. If you like what you read, feel free to follow her on twitter at @kelsey_collett!
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