We are in the midst of another pop culture fad that is taking the world by storm. I’m talkin’ ’bout Pokemon. As I type this, I’m sure my feed is filling up with friends’ pictures and status updates about the game.
Regular followers know that although I have my fair share of pop culture obsessions, I’m often suspicious of trends that seem “too big.” I subscribe to the Henry David Thoreau’s quotation of being “wary of enterprises involving new clothing.” I recently complained to my husband about how the rich used to have people to dress them, and he ended up having to straighten my collar and inspect my jacket.
It’s part of why I went into the medical field, because scrubs sounded comfortable, easy, and the least hassle in terms of clothing. Frequently when pondering what to pick for the day, I think of Seinfeld’s stand-up about aliens, and how they all wear the same thing. We should just give in, he advises, because it’s where we end up anyway. Anywhere from 40 times a day to a few times a month, I consider pulling a Deb from Empire Records and shaving my head. I haven’t yet, but only because I know how attractive Robin Tunney is, and if a shaved head made her look merely “okay,” I fear I am doomed. Also, bangs shield my forehead from further universal anxiety, and by exposing them, I’m fairly certain my skull will melt into the ground with terror.
I’m also not a huge fan of video games. My close, boisterous friend Til sees this as a challenge to find a game I will enjoy, and he and my father are two of the only people out there who have regularly succeeded at this task. I like games where you crush candy, make your own stories, and used to own different versions of You Don’t Know Jack.
A couple of years ago, another friend introduced me to Hatoful Boyfriend, a dating simulator game from Japan where you, as a human, date birds. I agreed to go along with this, because I don’t want to be the original version of Jim Carrey in Yes Man when he resists change and growth. Because it sounds lame, and his later version who agrees to everything sounds even more frightening. I wanted to try to be more interested into video games, because deep down I want people to like me. You do too. I learned it’s important not to force it.
Hatoful was a hard game for me to accept. I’m in favor of new and different things, but I couldn’t get comfortable in this game at all. In spite, I picked NO BIRD and was met with dire consequences. Several months later, I high-fived a co-worker over mutual uneasiness and shock at the game’s outcome. Hatoful’s purpose, to me, was to provide bonding through collective awkwardness.
Earlier this week while my friends were out in fields and businesses playing Pokemon, my husband and I were inside our house watching tv. An ad came on for Charlie the Unicorn Dating Simulator.
Most people know what Charlie the Unicorn is, but I brought it up a couple of years ago with a friend who didn’t know what it was. For those who aren’t aware, Charlie the Unicorn is a web series by Jason Steele. Steele has done a number of videos over the years, Marshmallow People, Horsebot, Ferrets, and I look forward to the days a new video comes out. I recently met someone who was also a fan of The Cloak (NOT a starter video, definitely one of the weirder things he’s done), and we immediately became friends. That’s what Jason Steele’s work does – it solidifies. My lexicon is still sprinkled with phrases from it, and I’m tentatively looking forward to some strange parent teacher conferences where a teacher asks me to explain all the random blabber of my future tbd child.
When I saw the ad, I knew I had to play it.
The next day, I came downstairs to the sound of jazz music percolating from the living room. Upon entering, I found my husband playing on the computer.
Me: Hey, what’s up?
Parker: Not much, just playing this Charlie The Unicorn Dating Game.
Me: Really? Cool! How is it?
Parker: Oddly complex. I don’t understand dating.
Basically, you are trapped in The Love Temple, against your will. You have the option of dating 5 or 6 different creatures. Through the process of dating, you try to get one of them to love you so you can escape through a magical door where you are trapped. It’s more like actual dating than I anticipated, although fortunately doesn’t take me too far out of the comfort zone.
Parker: How’s it going?
Me: Good. The Starfish’s love makes me entirely uncomfortable, but the Door doesn’t seem to be impressed with ANYTHING I do. Also, I don’t think I can win it over with gifts. I think I’m going to go with the Liopleurodon.
Parker: Not the Capricorn?
Me: The Capricorn is sort of combative, which is off-putting.
Parker: Who would you rather end up with: The Door or the Millipede?
Me: The Door. The Millipede freaks me out, and I kind of think it’s going to eat me.
Me: I wonder if I *can* get the Door to love me.
Parker: That reminds me, I looked that up for you. I’ll send you the video later.
See y’all? This is what spouses are for. Looking up tricks for getting inanimate objects to love you in a dating simulator game.
Note: While the ideas and text are my own, I do not own rights to these images, I have just credited their sources.