player: person who is active and successful in the mating and dating game

There was a point in my life (early to mid-20s) when the term player applied to me (or at least others used it, once or twice, to describe me). I could hookup when I wanted and not get attached to that person (except for once, maybe twice) and continue to scan the horizon for a new playmate. Because I wasn’t using sex for validation and because I genuinely enjoy sex and because I typically dictated the terms of having sex, I suppose this made me a player (I say this because most guys will habitually slap on the ‘slut’ label to any woman who has sex upon first meeting). There are some women, unfortunately, that sleep around indiscriminately, but this wasn’t my case. The only time I was really swayed into having sex was by a British music producer who had pierced nipples and did coke (two personal turn-offs) but he was ridiculously hot AND had the british accent so it happened.

There are guys and some girls in their mid-twenties who wear their player status like a championship belt (I say mid-twenties because once they reach their late twenties, especially 30s, without any committed relationships in the mix, they get labeled commitment-phobes and this becomes a stigma). I guess I took a certain amount of pride in being a player (it’s a stroke to the ego to get things that you want) but to me it was just playing the field, figuring out what was out there and what I liked – experiencing men with disposable convenience.

Disposable convenience is like traveling for work (at least how I’ve always traveled for work) – you stay in a nice hotel, where your room is always cleaned and tended to and there’s a chocolate on your pillow at the end of the day, and you can order pay per view and room service and call whomever you want and the company pays for it. There’s not a lot of responsibility involved. I loved traveling for this reason and still do. But then you miss things. Things with your family. Things with your friends. And not having a “home” can leave you feeling ungrounded. The reality is, I didn’t really learn anything from my hookups, except for perhaps the value of being prepared. I equate the “conquests” of my playing days as sugar-free jello with whipped cream for dessert. Cheap and easy to make. No harm done by consuming it. Tastes pretty good going down. No real substance or nutritional value.  Defintely not creme brulee.

There’s something to be said for laying down roots and creating something- it gives you a sense of purpose and meaning. To withstand the tests of a relationship is what builds character. To make love to someone, stone sober, in the light of day, and look them in the eyes while committing an act that you recognize could create another life, that’s intense. It may take finesse to gather disseminated articles of clothing and make an exit after a wild night of sex without your hookup getting out of bed, but it doesn’t take character. In fact, it’s a lot of tougher to look the person in the eye the next morning and ask, “You wanna get breakfast?”

So the player in me is latent. There are moments when it arises but then I think that life is too short to fuck around with things that don’t add value and for every action I take, there is a consequence. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate my past experiences – the residual value of being able to tell some of my player days’ stories is priceless and while every now and then, I might get the urge to play, I realize it’s just the player in me, and I’ll probably never lose the player in me, even if I’m out of the game.