Back in 2001, there was this little jewel released in the movie theaters by the name of “Two Can Play That Game”. During this time movies that catered to the black community and showcased many black actresses and actors were arriving it seemed, every other week. Featuring an overflowing basket of acting talent that included Vivica A. Fox Morris Chestnut, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Anthony Anderson, Monique, and Tamala Jones, “Two Can Play That Game” is a movie that was predestined to be a hit because it covered the relationship blueprint that is enacted when a man does something that makes a woman question whether or not, he is really “the one” for her. I will admit, this movie is one of my all-time favorites. I can quote chapter, verses and wardrobe selection without batting an eyelash. After viewing the Unsung Hollywood story of Vivica Fox this week, I had to pop “Two Can Play That Game” into the DVD player for the 12984 time. While thoroughly enjoying myself watching the movie, I contemplated whether the 10 day plan Smith, Shante Smith coveted in the movie could work in 2015.
Ya’ll ready? Here it goes.
Day One: Do not take his calls. If you decide to, be brief.
- This rule most definitely is still a part of “The Relationship Games”. This is supposed to give the wronged an upper-hand. However, with the advent of social media, silence -interruptis is only a click or swipe away. The act of not talking to your mate is already a game that should not be played by anyone over the age of 18. So, not verbally speaking to your mate. But, checking their Facebook status or Twitter account every 10 minutes to see if they have mentioned your name is definitely a no-no for a grown azz adult.
Day Two and Three: Occupy your mind and time by hanging out with your friends.
- This is cardinal rule 1 thru 75. Anytime you are going through a rough patch in your relationship or trying to get past a breakup, hanging out with people who sincerely care about your well-being is good for the soul. In the movie Shante says, “In love and war, maintain military silence.” So instead of sitting at home staring at her phone, she decides to go to church to recruit a “flunky”. A man who will witness her premeditated flirting with a random dude at church and go run tell that. In 2015, you can cut out the flunky middle man and just change your status on Facebook to “it’s complicated”. It still amazes me how much that status bar means so much to so many.
Day Four: Continue not to talk to him.
- At this point in the movie, Keith (Morris Chestnut) has been calling Shante continuously and leaving voice mails that range from contrite and anger, back to contrite and anger again. Shante believes that remaining silent gives her all the power and I suppose in a twisted kind of way it does. Most people cannot stand to be ignored. They will reach out to you in any way possible, even if it is just to argue. She also cautions that it is possible that your man may drop by your house. Today, your man dropping by may happen as well. Seeing someone solely for the sake of having a verbal fight or using sex as the elixir is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. Abort this mission.
Day Five: It is a bad day. (He came over.)
- Keith comes over and they have a screaming match, which in the illustrious words of Tony (Anthony Anderson) set into motion The Law of Thermodynamics by Newton. “Energy is neither lost or destroyed. It is transferred from one party to the next.” No further explanation is needed in this. The concept will always work until the end of time. Any questions? No. Let’s move on.
Day Six: Not as bad as day five. However, this day is where you stay busy and occupy your time.
- Shante dusts off her little black book and goes out on dates with a smorgasbord of foolishness. The” wanna-be Prince” dude, the “still lives with his momma” dude and the dude that believes he is the creator’s gift to all women. In this day and age, finding a date is as easy as a 10 piece puzzle. The dilemma comes in deciding if your relationship is worth saving. If you want to get back on the right track with your man, then do not play this game of ring- around-the-dates. It serves no purpose other than creating unnecessary drama. If you do not want him back, then date until the wheels fall off.
Day Seven: Turn the tables and knock him off his feet.
- Shante says you should go to Victoria Secret and get the sexiest thing you can find, get your hair and nails done, take a long, hot bubble bath and wear a dress that accentuates all of your curves. Then you should go over to your man’s house, get him to a point where he has to have you and then leave. Umm, where do they do all of this at? You should take a trip to V’s, pamper yourself with the new hair style, nails, and bubble bath. But, then you need to find something else to do rather than going over to his house and blowing oxygen onto a simmering fire. Contrary to popular belief, some women enjoy sex as much as men. You’ll end up going over there and never leaving. “The CIA ain’t got ish on a woman with a plan.”
Day Eight: Stock up on groceries.
- After all of this back and forth Shante believes that this is the night Keith has been tortured enough. It is finally time to give him back the keys to the kingdom. So fill that fridge up with all of your favorites and get a few bottles of wine. You all may be in the house for a few days. I’m guessing in 2015, this more than likely still goes on. Couples will throw a welcome home party for the other if they break up for 8 hours. So, holding one after 8 days should be the equivalent of a New York New Year’s Eve celebration.
Day Nine: Kick back and wait for him to beg for forgiveness.
- As life goes, all well laid out plans do not always stick to script. Shante is asked to attend an event being thrown by one of her employer’s competitors, at the last-minute. Little does she know, Keith shows up with Connie, (The proverbial… ummm “woman with many dudes”) who Shante does not like at all. He ignores Shante and she believes she has to up the ante’ in this love game. So, she recruits a dude from the streets by pretending to be a damsel in distress, invites him to the event and proceeds to spend the remainder of the event flirting aggressively with him, all while Keith is watching and losing his mind. Keith confronts her and she enacts the coup de grace by “accidently” dropping a condom from her purse. He tells her if she leaves with the random dude, he is leaving with Connie. Shante is not moved and leaves with the dude. She expects Keith to be in her driveway when she gets home. Of course, he is not. In this day and age, it’s possible that your dude will go home with Connie and it is possible you will hook up with the random dude from the streets. However, it is probable that you two will give each other the side eye for the remainder of the evening, talk about how foul you both are to your friends, send text messages saying “Wyd” or “So, you are going to do me like that?” and start this cycle of foolishness all over again. The best alternative is to just enjoy the party and then go home, ALONE.
Day Ten: Stuck on Stupid.
- Shante is at the same place she met Keith, lamenting how the 10 day rules did not work for her. She realizes that when it comes to love and relationships there are no rules. Well, luckily this is a movie and they wanted it to have a feel good ending, so Keith is at the same place, sitting in the dark corner sulking. Shante apologizes to him and they lived happily ever after.
More often than not, if you go through all this drama in dating today, there will be no Hollywood ending. If your man does something that threatens to damage the foundation of your relationship, you need to open your mouth and tell him. You cannot use silence, go on dates with men you would never be bothered with on any other occasion, use temptation or tricks to punish him for messing up. You have to be bold enough to have a conversation with him, whether you want to or not. The ability to communicate your hurt without damaging the other person’s spirit is learned behavior. No-one is born with this skill. So, if you get it wrong the first time, keep at it. Relationships never succeed when one person believes they are the ruler and their other half is the peasant. In the end, two can indeed play that game. However, who really wants to?