A Very Educational Game
by Gee Whillickers
This little story was inspired by a question in the Awesomedude.com forums about how you can tell if someone likes you. I decided to answer this way. Hope you like it.
"Yeah, but how do I know?" repeated Luke to his friend Byron lying beside him on the living room floor. Luke's fingers continued to dance over the XBox360 controller, "It's not like I can just go up and ask him. It's just so unfair!" Luke punctuated this last with a nice headshot on his enemy. Luke's brother Jared, sitting behind them at the dining room table, heard the enemy, who sounded like he was about ten years old, say a very bad word through the XBox Live interface.
Jared wondered if his little brother had remembered to turn his mic off. The kid he just killed might be getting a bit more schooling than he bargained for. Jared tried to ignore his brother and friend, and turned to the next page of his calculus book.
"I dunno,” answered Byron, “you just know, I think.” He seemed to be having no more difficulty than Luke playing the game while engaging in what was, for thirteen year olds, a rather heavy conversation.
"Easy for you to say. You like girls. With boys it's different," Luke said. Then he said, "Fuck!" which had nothing to do with the conversation and everything to do with the fact that he just got blown into about four thousand and eight little bloody pieces by the ten year old, who had apparently re-spawned. They could hear the little guy giggling through the speakers.
Jared continued to ignore them, swearing and all.
"Aren't you guys supposed to have, whaddyacallit, gaydar?" asked Byron.
"Nah, I think that's just something on TV. So, how do you know when a girl likes you, Byron?"
Byron's fingers mashed a button or two before he replied, "Well, I dunno...you just do!"
Jared couldn't stand it anymore. He closed his calculus book loud enough to get the younger boys' attention. "Well, since obviously a guy can't actually study around here," he pretended to glare at them, "I might as well let you guys know all the tricks to getting laid...errr, I mean to finding true love."
Byron and Luke grinned at Jared, their attention drawn away from their game.
"Think about it guys. Use your heads. You already know more about this than you think. What does someone do when they like you?"
Byron and Luke looked at each other. Luke said, "I dunno. I guess they don't avoid you?"
Jared rolled his eyes. "Don't think negative, think positive. What do they do?"
"Well," said Byron slowly, thinking out loud, "I suppose I can tell if a girl likes me because she seems to be around me more, and then...yeah...they usually giggle a lot more than usual, and smile a lot. And, like, make lots of eye contact. And laugh at my jokes. And want to talk to me and listen to me."
"Nobody laughs at your jokes, doofus," said Luke with a shove.
"Do too!" answered Byron with a shove back at his friend.
"See, told you that you already knew," said Jared. "So, then, what about you, Luke? How do you know if a boy likes you?"
Luke blushed a bit, but answered, "Well, I dunno. Maybe, I guess, it might be kinda the same?"
"Bingo!" said Jared, standing up. "Think about it. If this boy, whoever he is, likes you then you watch for that stuff. Eye contact. Blushing and smiling. Laughing more than usual. Going out of his way to spend time around you. Doing little nice things, like picking up your pencil when you drop it, before you can. Stuff like that. If he's doing that, then do the same back. See what happens."
"Isn't that, like, flirting?" asked Byron.
"Bingo again. Told ya you know. Now, Luke, it's maybe a bit harder for you." Jared ignored the younger boys' giggle at intentionally taking that comment the wrong way. "Not that kind of harder, numbskulls. I mean, harder because you not only don't know if he likes you, you don't know if he's gay. But still, I'd think it's much the same thing. At least Drew seems to think it is." Drew, Luke and Byron knew, was Jared's best friend. And he was gay too.
"When you flirt long enough, the flirting tends to get a bit more, uh, flirty. More obvious. Usually obvious enough that someone feels safe enough to take a risk to ask the other person out. Or whatever."
Luke and Byron laughed at the 'whatever.'
"Now," Jared finished. "Forget that game. Let's go into the kitchen for some ice-cream."
All three boys got up and began walking towards the kitchen, just as a voice came from the speakers behind. A ten-year-old voice. "Thanks guys! That was a very educational game." Then more giggling.
All three boys looked at each, then said in unison, "Fuck!"