The cries of the distressed testosterone-frenzied are loud and clear. "RPGs NEED WOMEN!" they ejaculate. "I mean, why don't girls game more?" they qualify, for their various... (or do we mean dubious?) reasons.
Well, I'd like to sum a good part of it up. Three words: "geeks", "wankers", and "bozos".
Sound like anyone you know?
Now, there *are* women gamers. There are even women Game Masters. (Beware them, for they need not be subtle.) And there are a whole lot of women who will never be gamers because of the types of games and players with whom they would have to associate. A lot of them even stopped being gamers because of these.
Namely, geeks, wankers, and bozos.
Now, I've got a soft spot in my frozen, cantankerous heart for geeks. They just don't know any better. Geeks are the gamers who really live for the game. They've got most, if not all of the books in their chosen system. They play with building their characters for hours, balancing the perfect set of skills and aptitudes for that character they've developed in their head...usually to the extent that they even know what color and style of boxers are being worn on any given day. They're really INTO the game. There's nothing wrong with this, in itself.
It's when they tell their stories, though...
The Gamer Geek mating call is usually, "I once had a character with an exceptional stat in (name of system)... and," at which point it's a fantasy ploy. Either the Gamer Geek is projecting himself into the character, or proving he's better. Hey, it's not so bad; some animals puff up their throats really big and gawk around.
There are female Geeks, too. I know; I used to be one. And there are Geeks who play females, which generally aren't so bad. A Gamer Geek male really tries to portray the femme experience. They're usually a little feminist, allowing their PC woman to accomplish things. They want it to be real. Even up to the monthly miseries, sometimes. Hey, guys, this is supposed to be FUN.
Wankers... these are the ones I like to tease. These guys are the sole reason whenever I hear the words "gaming convention" I immediately word-associate "tight black leather". They keep me caressing my stilletto heels. And daggers.
The main problem with wankers is their pride won't allow them to realize just how desperate they look. The drool on the leather -- that's bad, boys. Wankers are usually the ones who buy the little fanboy art clips with women who wear nothing but their chain mail bikinis...for protection. Uh-huh. Notice how they rarely have the upper arm muscles to hold even those femme little blades? And by what curse of genetic nature did they manage to be muscular AND that badly top-heavy? Think SUPPORT...not chain mail burn. Ewww.
There are good wankers and bad wankers, though. Good wankers tend to be smart. They put the purty pictures away when the girl sits down at the table. They get protective and jealous, which is great for that deep in-character stuff. Bad wankers, though...
Bad wankers think every femme is an opportunity. They're the ones who play the top-heavy, brain-light bimbos of brass brassieres who are as oversexed as the wankers'd like to think they are. Good wankers can be spanked. Bad wankers need to be bitten.
Yes, there are female wankers, too. I am reserving a chance to rant at them later.
And then, there are bozos.
Bozos are the "gaming is for guys" group. As if sitting around and gabbing over salted munchies and looking at charts is something inherently masculine. Sorry, boys. I don't mean to shatter your Jungian archetype of the prehistoric paternalistic primal dice roller, but it's bull. They're the ones who like to say, "Females are disadvantaged in this game," in the way that's really saying, "You're just a girl." At the loss of a hitpoint, they note that one has just broken a nail.
I have thought of several ways to rehabilitate bozos. Never challenge them; even if you're stronger and better trained. Their pride is a blind spot...and is usually their biggest part. Get back at them subtly, like allowing them to kill off their characters because their testosterone-poisoned PCs have to protect the "little girlies". When you survive an attack they don't..."Must've chipped the polish."
And never, ever, let them tell you wargaming isn't for women.
NEXT ISSUE: I'll give the decent fellas a break, and talk about some of the issues that detract femmes from gaming, and why a lot of women choose the games they do.
j n m ( m n j )
"Hey, guys, how about we order from Frank, the Pizza King?"
"Can't do. Frank's been deposed in the Pizza King Throne War."
"Yeah, the guy who was first rank in anchovies really cleaned up."