July 17, 2013

Don’t Worry, Guys, I Got This

The other day someone tweeted something along the lines of “Real men own a tool box, not an Xbox.” Internally, I blew a gasket. Publicly, I replied with, “My dad owns an Xbox.” The person responded, “Well, he’s the exception, then.”

Um, no he isn’t.

gamers

This happens about once a month. Someone on facebook or twitter or even pinterest makes some stupid (yes, stupid) comment about gamers and it pisses me off. Like that one.

My dad grew up spending his summers on the farm until he was old enough to have a real paying job. Then he had jobs and he worked. And he worked his way through college. And he became a bivocational pastor holding down a 50+ hour a week job to support his family Monday through Friday. He’s volunteered hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours to civic organizations. And he’s been a gamer since Pong. He has his own xBox and is big into real-time strategy computer games. (Oh, and he doesn’t own a tool box. He has a whole freaking tool-wall-and-a-half in his garage.) He’s not a “real man”? Video games were a big part of our growing up. And gaming is one of the first things that helped my dad bond with SoldierMan.

Oh yeah, SoldierMan is a gamer. He grew up gaming, too. Playing flight sims as a kid is what helped him learn about WWII and world geography. Xbox live kept him in touch with his friends when he started working and schooling full-time in high school and college. And when he’s home, he games during his free time. So do a lot of soldiers. Guys that deploy and actually get shot at really enjoy being able to check out and enjoy some virtual recreation in their downtime. They aren’t “real men”?

Now, okay, some gamers aren’t men. Because they’re women. There are tons of female gamers out there of every variety. Like I said, I grew up playing video games. I was doing MMORPGs back when they were text-based. We had a pretty rockin’ Atari when I was growing up. Give me a good turn-based strategy game and I’m good to go. Well, I used to be. The last year or so other things have eaten up my gaming time so I’m below Casual status now. But man, do I jones for some WoW every now and then.

And before someone jumps on with, “But I know of {insert extreme example of gaming addict}” Yeah, we could find some of those for any hobby. So don’t even go there.

Oh, and then there’s this little gem:

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Boo-freaking-hoo, Princess.

First of all, he’s more than likely NOT addicted to gaming any more than you’re addicted to pinterest, k?

Secondly, I guarantee you this wasn’t an arranged marriage. You knew he was a gamer. Probably you had a better idea of him being a gamer than he did that you were addicted to crafts or home improvements or nail polish. (And I’m sure he loves the fact that your house needs a spare room just for your fabric stash and art projects, by the way. Oh, that’s different? If you say so.)

Hey, here’s a wild idea. If you feel ignored because he games – play with him. Oh, you aren’t into video games? That’s what called compromise, sweetheart. Part of marriage. If you expect him to be happy, or at least indulgent, while you drag him to a craft show or a live performance that involves him wearing a tie, you can at least offer to learn as far as Lego Batman.

And I don’t ever want to see another person whine about being a “PS3 Widow.” Would you like me to introduce you to some ACTUAL 24-year-old widows? I know too many.

And let me just say, he could have a lot worse hobbies than video games. He could (gag me) go sit for hours on a boat all weekend and come home smelling like bait. He could be dumping thousands of dollars a year into rebuilding cars. He could disappear every weekend to play golf. He could hit the bars with his friends every week, without you. And don’t we all love the guys who plop their butts in a recliner every Saturday, Sunday and Monday night for football?  As my mother always says, “It could be liquor!”

PennJillette

It’s time we move away from this 1980’s mentality toward video games and gamers. It’s just a hobby, no worse (and arguably better) than others. Just because it isn’t your hobby doesn’t mean people who do it are shriveling their brains. Remember, there was a time they said the same thing about women who read.

7 comments:

  1. Yes. Yes. And yes. I love to jokingly I've the hubs a hard time about his gaming, but he and I both know that it is a great way for him to relax. He still owns a tool box and is most definitely a real man. People who are unhappy with their relationships need to reevaluate why and not just point fingers at video games.

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  2. Haters gonna hate - Lance games, too and I've sometimes joined in as well just because. That doesn't make anyone less of man or woman.

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  3. I play video games with Kyle. Always have and always will, it ends up being a blast.

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  4. Love this. It's so true. We all have our little addictions. Wanting to spend your free time playing video games is the same thing as wanting to spend your time crafting or shopping. I am not a huge gamer, but I do play on occasion with my husband and when I am not playing WITH him, I am sitting next to him reading a book. We get to spend some quality time snuggling and relaxing, doing the things we enjoy. Now if he's playing every waking minute then I see the problem, but there are always going to be people in every hobby that are a little too addicted. It's not just the gamers.

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  5. My husband and I game together all the time!! The only time I get slightly annoyed is when he games on his computer in the other room and is on it all day when I just want to talk to him or get some snuggles in...but that doesn't happen very often. I would rather he have a slight addiction to videogames than something else!

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  6. Before the baby came along, we played WoW together. I was resistant at first, but it was fun! My husband isn't really a gamer anymore, but he likes them. And he can do all kinds of other things too!

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  7. I've never been into video games, although I have some wonderful memories of sitting around with my parents and sister playing Tetris for hours.

    And I've admittedly had some preconceived notions about gamers because of bad experiences in college. When you have to drop out of school and can't your mind off a WoW raid long enough to have dinner with your girlfriend, you have a problem.

    But the problem isn't gaming. The problem is priorities. As you said, people can take any hobby to extremes, and so long as you keep the priorities in place and know when to put down the controller (or remote, or golf club, or whatever) and put family, friends, work, and other commitments first, then I say...

    Game on, lovely! :)

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