Dating and Magic

Posted on September 26, 2011


By Osyp Lebedowicz
After the recent Jon Finkel/Gizmodo girl hubbub, I realized not only are there a lot of issues about Magic players dating, but also that we’re quite passionate about those issues. If you’re a straight guy who plays Magic, how/what do you tell girls about it? Is it okay to hit on female Magic players, and if so, how do you do it?

For simplicity sake, I’m going to lump all women into 3 categories: Those who know nothing about Magic, those who date Magic players, and those who play Magic.  Seems reasonable given how easy it is for certain writers to lump all male magic players into ridiculous stereotyped buckets.

Women who know nothing about Magic (99.9% of the population)

If you’re a Magic player, this group is the toughest to go after.  If Finkelgate has taught us anything, it’s that women can have certain preconceived notions about “gamers” that can be quite negative.  I’ve found that there are several approaches you can use to help navigate those rocky waters.
Lying: Now I know what you’re thinking – “is lying to a woman the best way to start out a relationship?”  Well, probably not, but many of the best one night stands have started out with a lie . . .
“Sure I have a condom”
“I’m leaving for Afghanistan in the morning”
“Yes, I am Dave Williams”
If you meet a woman that you think might be interested in you, your best bet is to simply never mention Magic.  In general, you want to go to her place (because obviously you don’t want her to know where you live), but always make sure your collection is hidden for those rare moments when you’re forced to retire to your place for the evening.
There may be some poor souls out there who would like to have an actual relationship with a woman.  In that case, lying won’t work and you’ll be forced to deal with the “Magic” issue head on.  There are actual several scenarios that play out here, and it all actually depends on what stage you’re at in your Magic career.
The Pro – At this point, there’s plenty of stuff about you on the internet so lying is pointless.  A woman will make up her mind  up about whether or not she’ll sleep with you only after she’s Google’d you.  Hopefully your lifetime winnings and travel experience will be enough of a conversation starter to keep her interested, but if not, there’s not much you can do.  Good news though, if she sticks around, she’ll likely be in for the long haul (or until you fuck it up, which is more likely).
The semi-Pro (aka The Calcano Conundrum) – This is a terrible place to be in as a Magic player looking to be in a relationship because you’ve done just enough to be on the internet, but not enough to actually brag about any of your accomplishments.  This means that you’ll have to explain Magic to her right away, but won’t have any cool things to back it up with other than you once shared a room with 5 other dudes in Japan.
The Amateur – You play Magic, but haven’t won anything or write articles so your internet fingerprint is relatively clean.  This means that you can break Magic to her gently.  You have some time to let her get to know you before you need to walk through that door, and once you do, you can only hope she’s gotten to like you enough to put up with it or even learn to like it.  However, there may come a point where you might be asked to choose between her and the game you’ve grown to love.  This is a tough situation for anyone.  How do you reconcile having someone make you compromise something that’s a part of you with possibly losing the girl of your dreams?  There’s no right or wrong answer here, most of the time you’ll have to search deep within yourself to figure out what the right thing to do for you is.
There is a rule of thumb though that has been passed down for generations:
If there girl is between a 7 and a 10, you should probably just quit Magic.  Given you’re a Magic player, the odds are you won’t meet a girl that hot who’s actually willing to date you again, so just sell your collection, buy her a Fendi purse and never look back.  You won the lottery, don’t get greedy.
If she’s anything less than a 5, probably keep playing and try and get onto the Pro Tour.
5’s and 6’s are a toss up.  [editor’s note: “I never fucked a 10, but one night I fucked five 2s, I think that outta count.”  -George Carlin.]

Women who date Magic players

This group is tricky because a lot of times they’ll show up to a Magic tournament and you’ll get caught off guard only to find them attached at the hip to another gamer.  Often resentment will build because you can’t understand how “This Girl” is with “This Guy”.  I mean . . . he only has 1 bye, what the fuck!
Sometimes the women in question will be dating a friend of yours.  I wouldn’t recommend going after this group as it’s a very scummy thing to do, however if you must, might I recommend the Fabiano method.
Basically, the Fabiano Method is a 3 step process:
Step 1: introduce yourself to the girl at the event and really get to know her and pay a lot of attention to her.  Generally, the girlfriend will be incredibly bored at these events because, despite popular belief, they don’t get hit on nearly as much as you think.  This means that if you show interest in her and try and get her involved in some way, she’ll remember you.
Step 2: Friend request her on Facebook.  This is an important step because she’ll be able to gain some insight into your personality and get to know you without feeling guilty about it.  Try and say some really witty things on her wall and hopefully she’ll “like” it.  Note – don’t get angry when you start to see the number of Mutual Friends you have multiply, as this is a very popular method and it’s bound to happen.
Step 3: Wait it out . . .
The success rate for the Fabiano method is roughly 0.008%, but when it works, it’s a thing of beauty.
However, if the girl is dating someone you don’t know, well then, all bets are off.  As Frank TJ Mackey would say, “you can’t blame a squirrel for wanting to get a nut”.
The move I’ve seen with the highest success rate is one called “The Gentleman”, it breaks down like this:
Step 1 – The Mark: You’re playing against the guy, his girlfriend, while normally by his side, is out getting them something to drink.  (This will only work if she’s not around during the match)
Step 2 – The Set Up: You crush him in the match, the whole time berating him and trash talking him until he’s on full blow tilt.  Make sure you beat him quickly, which you should because he’s him and you’re awesome
Step 3 – The Fall: He storms off in disgust and you hand in the slip and follow discreetly
Step 4 – The Brush Off: He runs into his girlfriend as he’s leaving the hall
“Here’s your water”
“Just hold it, I gotta go get some air”
“What’s wrong?”
“NOT NOW!  I just lost to the World’s biggest asshole, god!”
He storms off, leaving his girlfriend alone in the hall.
Step 5 – The Consolation: You walk up to her and . . .
“Excuse me, are you alright, I couldn’t help but over hear what just happened”
“Oh, yeah, that’s just my boyfriend, it’s nothing”
“Are you sure, because no one deserves to be spoken to like that, especially someone as beautiful as you”
[blushes] “thank you, god really?  No, no it’s fine, he’s just upset because he lost”
“Is that what happens when you lose?  I wouldn’t know I don’t lose a lot.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Owen Turtenwald, the best thing that hasn’t happened to you yet”
I would like to emphasize that you SHOULD NOT substitute your own name for Owen’s, it’s a brand and it works.

Women who play Magic

There are only 42 women who are currently in the DCI database, so this group is quite rare.  Now I’ve read some articles that say men are abusive to women who play Magic.  I’m not sure who these jack asses are, because if anything, I’m extra nice to women at Magic events.  Have you ever gone to a party and heard someone say “This party is a total sausage fest, tonight is going to be awesome!” If you have, they were either . . .

  1. A woman
  2. Gay
  3. Being sarcastic
  4. Attending some bratwurst festival
  5. All of the above

I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want a better ratio of men to women than we have today.  Even gay dudes would rather have a more equitable ratio so they have people to talk to about Project Runway (oh wait; there’s always BDM and Phil Napoli).
Personally, I would never want to date a female gamer as if we ever player against each other, it would be too awkward asking her to concede.  However, if you meet a female gamer that just does it for you; I would follow these steps that have been carefully laid out for you by Darwin Kastle:
Be Excellent
What George Carlin said to Bill & Ted applies here as well, women like successful men.  Winners give off a different musk than losers, and women respond to that.  There’s a reason Team Channelfireball wear the same shirt to every event, it’s not because they’re advertising the site, it’s because Brad Nelson’s BO is like Spanish fly.
Present yourself well
Gym shorts in the winter are not a look that screams “I’m sexy!”  Any good that might come from winning a big tournament will get instantly un-done if you’re photographed looking like this.  You know why James Bond was so cool?  It wasn’t because he had a license to kill; it was because he wore a tuxedo everywhere he went.  Dress for the life you want, that means sport coats and button downs.  However, don’t pull a Martell and wear oversized Ralph Lauren dress shirts that aren’t tucked in, that look says “Yeah I gave up, so what?”
Most Magic players don’t know how to flirt effectively, but since she’s a Magic player, she probably doesn’t know how to either.  Just awkwardly feel your way through it and try to avoid euphemisms like “casting bone flute” and you’ll be fine.
Be Different
If science and the Jersey Shore have taught us anything, it’s that women love douchebags.  Your initial instinct will be to be nice to her, quash that.  Every guy who’s interested in her will try and be nice, go in a different direction.  Don’t pay attention to her, in fact, don’t even look at her.  Even if you’re in a match, pretend like you wish you were somewhere else.  Checking your cell phone a lot will give the appearance like your really important.  By the end of the day, she’ll think you’re mysterious.
Have a Plan
Yeah I’ll be honest, I have no clue what Darwin meant with this one.  He said something like “Play 2 headed giant with her”?  This seems dangerous to me as if she made some mistake during the match I’m not sure I could contain my anger and not ridicule her.
Know your competition
Your primary competition is this man

If you can, avoid going to any event where he will also be in attendance, the man has broken more homes than Hurricane Katrina.
Know her
This one might be obvious, but find out why she started playing Magic in the first place.  Does she love the fantasy elements, the strategy?  Did she wander into Hall C and mean to go into Hall D?  These questions will help you “woo” her (gag).


I hope this gives you a better idea about how to approach dating Magic players. While it’s similar to dating women in general, there are other factors to take into account. Next week, I’ll be focusing more on dating non-Magic-players and on balancing Magic with a relationship. I’ll also use more of my personal experiences to help illustrate it. For now, focus on presenting yourself well and on winning at Magic. Good things will follow.

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