May 18th, 2009


Role-Playing Week

This week I’m going to be writing about role-playing and I think I'd like to begin with a little spring cleaning. There are a lot of stupid stereotypes about the people who like roleplaying. To the people who believe all the negative shit that gets thrown around about people with my hobby, well, lets have a little chat, okay?

I'm not into seafood - most seafood smells like something rotten to me and I don't like the taste. Yet I realize that other people like it and that it has lots of excellent qualities for those people who enjoy it. To each his own.

I do not make generalizations about the people who like seafood, imply that they do not have lives outside of eating seafood nor do I assume that they're love of seafood makes them have poor taste in other areas of their lives. It is one of my pet peeves to hear people talk about role-players as if they are stupid, and it annoys me even more when I hear tabletop folks speak poorly about Live Action Roleplayers. Putting someone else down because you are insecure about your own hobby is obnoxious.

The worst kind of geek is one who can't accept themselves for what they like and who they are. Maybe you don't like LARPing, that's cool – but LARPing doesn’t make you a loser. Neither does liking super-hero movies or comic books or football or candle making or the breeding of pigeons.

I was once at a fantastic convention where a lot of roleplayers were gathered. One person there referred to himself, and everyone else (about 60+ people) as a “bunch of losers” for the hobby they were involved in. I cannot think of much that is sadder than hating yourself and the people that like you. That attitude, and not the actual activity, is pathetic.

The Geek who loves something but can't admit it to others out of shame is the loser.

Here are some of the arguments I’ve heard against Roleplaying:

It’s a waste of time.
Seriously? Listen, unless you are actively helping someone improve their lives, everything is an equal waste of time, from video games to movies to painting to amateur astronomy. If you are not working on a cure for a disease or feeding the hungry, you can argue that you are wasting time. Also, who is judging this “waste”, you? I’ll judge for myself what works for my life, thank you very much.

I’d rather be myself with my friends.
Totally cool. You go do that. You know what? I do that too. I also do this other thing. The problem with this isn’t so much that people say this as an expression of what they want to do with their time, but as a judgment on what you are doing with your time. You are interacting as characters, therefore your interactions are less valuable than my own.

This implication is lame. It implies that their interactions are somehow better than mine. It also implies that LARPers do not have other social interactions outside of character. I do other things with my role-playing friends, I do photoshoots, yoga, watch movies, go to shows, have a drink, celebrate birthdays, go to new restaurants, go shopping. Yes, we do other things.

It’s for Fetishists
You know, what isn’t? When I was Catholic, a lifetime ago, we did this thing where we drank blood and washed feet and ate flesh. There were costumes and incense and little uniforms and some serious gender roles. It was all very fetishistic if you choose to look at it that way.

It’s escapism
Yes. It is. Like drinking, movies, pot, video games, music, theater, television and ALL FORMS OF ENTERTAINMENT EVER, it has an element of escapism.

Role-players are just trying to be someone else because they hate themselves.
You are just watching that movie because you can’t stand to be alone with yourself.
Is this true? I think that people who watch tv and get drunk because they don’t like to be with themselves have about the same incidence of roleplayers who roleplay because they don’t like themselves. Truly though, most roleplayers do it because they like it, because it’s entertaining, because it’s fun. The same way most people drink and watch movies because it’s fun. Truthfully though, there are a lot easier ways to escape than to roleplay. Role-playing is just about the most challenging form of escapism you could take.

Roleplaying only exists to that Geeks can get laid.
I hear this a lot of LARPer's and it never ceases to annoy me.

The games I’ve played in were not for this purpose, they were for having a good time with friends, being creative even just for the purpose of entertainment. But perhaps some games are just for folks to find someone to have sex with, maybe that kind of game does exist. And so what if it does? What this implies, at it’s root, is that Geeks shouldn’t get laid. Bars are around so people can get laid. Clubs are around so that people can get laid. You don’t want Geeks to get laid because it makes you uncomfortable? I invite you to fuck yourself.

Roleplayers Can’t Get Laid
Listen, this is just. . .wrong. It’s sort of beyond wrong, because I would argue that roleplayers, geeks in general, are having more sex than people in the mainstream. Now, I can’t be sure, I haven’t done a study, I don’t know of any empirical evidence on this one and I can only speak to my own experience. But. In my own experience, roleplayers are getting laid all the time. All. The. Time. Most of the Geeks I know now are married, or engaged, or living together. I mean, I don’t stand in their bedrooms or anything, but everyone I play my weekly game with is getting laid, and everyone I know on a first name basis in the LARP is getting laid. Geeks get laid.

And they just won’t shut up about it.

Girls don’t game. And they don’t like gamers.

I game. I gamed with girls in middle school, high school, college and beyond. The girls I gamed with often dated the boys I gamed with.

Gamers are all fat dudes.
Sigh. First of all, what the fuck is your problem with fat dudes? They aren’t allowed to have fun?

Basically, the thing about girls gaming and gamers being fat dudes, those are just physical steryotypes about gamers. I’ve complied a bunch of pictures of people I’ve gamed with in order to show you what a gamer looks like to me.

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So, I hope this was helpful in clearing up the bullshit that's been stinking up the place. I don't want to hear any shit about gamers anymore. I just cleaned in here.
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