Allow me to rely, for a few moments, on gender stereotypes.
I’ve recently entered the ranks of the Lady Planeswalker Society—I am a female identifying player of Magic: the Gathering. Now, I fully admit to be very new player who has jumped into the deep end. Since February, I have been to the prereleases of Gatecrash, Dragon’s Maze, and M14, often crawling home at 4am, manically patting myself on the back for having made it to the third match of a few rounds.
We are few, and therefore often dismissed as anomalies. I’ve gotten used to being the only person drafting in a dress—though I have seen a couple utilikilts, and when I played at TempleCon and PAX East, my sense of fashion was put to shame by some of my male cosplaying competitors. It’s expected that I am either playing the game because my partner is, or that I’d be willing to go on a date with he who handed me their extra Judge’s Familiar promo. (I kid you not; I left my last event with no less than six of those shiny and adorable cards.)
This has led to handful of awkward situations, though. Most recently at the M14 prerelease:
While constructing decks at my local gaming shop
Friend 1: (after popping an expensive rare) I have a feeling this is the hot seat!
Unknown Magic Player: No, I think the hot seat is to my left (pointing to me). High five!
Friend 2: (after having been trounced by my partner, and losing his chance at Top8ing) Tell your boyfriend to go home!
Same Unknown Magic Player: Yeah it’d be more fun for all of us. High five!
(I will admit to having a track record of being a cultural appropriator based on who I am dating. For instance, my love affair with LARP stemmed from an actual love affair. I don’t feel any guilt about this; I am one who believes that the couple that games together stays together. The most stable married couples that I know accredit their success to their shared interests.)
By the end of a typical FNM draft, my psyche is affected by combination of extremes. I am the sexiest woman alive! I have no idea how to play this game and there is no way I’ll ever learn. Did I really win that raffle, or just get free stuff because boobs? It’s both confusing and exhilarating.
I’m excited to keep learning. Other than being expensive, this game is extensive. There are formats that I’ve yet to touch, and I think that I am slowly understanding card synergy enough to build a standard deck. I’m trying to train my eyes from glazing over when people throw card names at me from sets that were released in 2004, and how broken they would be in combination with some other card that just came out.
I’m no Eda Bilsel or Melissa DeTora, but my Return of the Jedi card sleeves are starting look used and I note my skill improving. And isn’t that really all that matters in the long run?
EEK is a tree-hugging, air condition-loving hypocrite with a mild interest in making the world a better place…from the comfort of her own desktop.