It was December 2011 and all I had been hearing from my boyfriend for weeks was how Star Wars: The Old Republic was finally launching its new MMO game. For all you non-gamers out there, that’s geek speak for massive multiple online game. It’s where lots of people play a game together online at the same time.
The countdown had begun. The software program was bought, new RAM was installed and prospective names for characters yet to be created had been carefully chosen. I was happy for my boyfriend. He works hard and deserves some downtime. After all, I like my games, too. I’ve been in a fierce game of online Scrabble with my sister for weeks now, but MMOs are a whole different ballgame.
In SWTOR, as they call it, there is no downtime. Once my boyfriend created his Jedi and set out into the galaxy, it was all about leveling up, getting better gear, and killing the Sith, whoever that is. And when his Jedi isn’t running around on some planet getting “phat loot,” my boyfriend is reading blogs to locate hidden boxes in the game or he’s sending his companions to scavenge scrap metal.
In the game, he buys and sells items to other players like a Wall Street stockbroker. I’m impressed how quickly he’s become a SWTOR multimillionaire. Oh, the shoes I could buy if this were real cash.
If only he were this savvy with his personal finances. Unfortunately, his thriftiness ends in the cyber world. His Kryptonite is eBay. In the game, he refuses to overpay for a bejeweled lightsaber with make-believe money, but in real life he thinks nothing of overbidding on an impulse item faster than he can say, “May the force be with you.”
I’ve also noticed another one of his quirks, his lack of interest in his own fashion (which I already knew) but his intense need to have the best-dressed “toon” in the SWTOR galaxy. He puts more thought into what his Jedi wears than in his own wardrobe. He’ll search for a jacket, nitpicking over every button and buckle in the game, while he still wears the same basic jeans and T-shirts in real life. This, sadly, is how I finally discovered that my boyfriend isn’t color blind.
This isn’t even the part that astonishes me. My boyfriend will sit and play for hours on end without getting up to pee. I’ve spent whole weekends staring at the back of his head as he flies across the Tatooine desert on his futuristic Vespa, and not once does he get up to use the bathroom. Well, he probably did, but I go to bed at midnight.
If he’s playing in a group with other people, the chances of having a meaningful conversation with him is nil since he’ll never remember what we talked about. I guess I could use this to my advantage and tell him he agreed to take me to that cool, new restaurant next weekend. Would that be so bad?
Scrabble never took over my life like SWTOR does his. I thought having two X chromosomes is what made it hard for me to understand the ultimate thrill of crushing computer bad guys, but apparently genetics has nothing to do with it.
There’s plenty of female gamers out there. I’ve met a few and they really kick ass. And they tell me they love it. I don’t fully get it but maybe that’s because the only game I really ever got into was Ms. Pac-Man. Navigating a yellow happy face through a neon maze while eating cute blue monsters was as violent as I wanted to get.
So what’s a woman to do? I love him and I know he loves me. So I make sure he drinks water and gets at least one meal a day that doesn’t come out of a cellophane bag.
Where’s the silver lining in all this? Well, I’ve decided to see his game time as an opportunity. If he’s going to travel to Mos Eisley, I can visit Stars Hollow. There I can spend a few hours with Rory Gilmore, pretend to have the coolest mom ever and date a cute, rich boyfriend. (Actually, I already have a cute boyfriend. And if we ever move to a galaxy far, far away, we’ll be living the good life.)
My point is, I’ve decided to embrace the time we spend apart doing our own thing. It’s not like he’s going out to bars or strip clubs. He’s just in the other room. And then the time we do spend together is all that much sweeter.
In case you’re wondering, yes, my boyfriend does spend quality time with me. And he does the dishes. He’ll even vacuum without complaining how my long hair gets tangled in the vacuum’s roller brush threatening to burn out the motor. He simply cuts the nest of hair loose and chats to me about what’s going on in the game. I just listen and smile. I don’t understand the lingo, but he’s including me in his game world and I appreciate that. Of course I reciprocate by bringing him up to speed with all the characters on Gilmore Girls. Hey, fair is fair.
He knows he can play without any grief from me, and his thoughtful acts and warm hugs show how much he loves me. Just last week he bought me flowers for no special reason. It was a sweet gesture and I smile every time I see them brightening the kitchen table.
So relationships are give and take. He has Star Wars and I have Stars Hollow. When the rapid-fire dialogue between Lorelai and Rory fills the living room while he’s planning his next alien attack, he doesn’t complain. And when he’s fighting deadly Sith on Nar Shaddaa while Lorelai is fighting with Emily about Christopher, I don’t mind.
We’ve found a way to make it work. Now isn’t that what relationships are all about?