Finding the right man is like playing Mastermind. You remember Mastermind? The game we used to play as kids, when the weather wasn’t nice enough to ride our bikes around the neighbourhood.

Here are the basics in case you’re a little rusty.  The object of the game was to use trial and error to correctly guess a predetermined sequence of four different coloured pegs.

You had ten chances to guess the correct sequence. And after each guess your opponent used black and white pegs to give you hints as to how close you were to getting the sequence right.

A black peg told you that one of your pegs was the right colour and was also in the right position. While a white peg meant that one of your pegs was the right colour, but it was unfortunately in the wrong place.

Remember it now? It was a classic. We used to play for hours, back before we had careers, nails, bonds and relationships to deal with.

So now we’ve got the basics down, let me go back to my original statement. “Finding the right man is like playing Mastermind.” Well, just think about it. Your perfect match has a very specific set of DNA, which could be compared to the secret code that your opposition sets in the beginning of the game. And it’s your job to use trial and error to try figure out what that DNA code is.

Sounds a lot like dating to me. I mean in my life I’ve had an awful lot of white pegs. Those are the men who are the right colour, but just in the wrong place. Or men who are in the right place, but just at the wrong time. Or, what about that man I caught at the right time, with the wrong woman! There was once even a right man wearing the wrong colour.

The scary thing is I think I’m reaching the end of my ten guesses and I’m still not so sure I’m any closer to guessing which is the right man and which is the right place to find him in.

Come to think of it, I was never very good at Mastermind as a child. I’d always forget the mistakes I’d made previously and make them again over and over. Which might explain why I often end up dating the same kind of unattainable, commitment-phobic men, over and over again.

It’s not an easy code to crack. And I was never really mathematically or statistically minded. Pity it’s not as easy to cheat in real life as it is to cheat in a game.

So if you think being in a relationship isn’t about playing games, you obviously had a deprived childhood. Not all games are necessarily bad. In fact there are some great games out there. What about Twister? It’s the perfect excuse to wrap your body around your man of the moment, until you eventually both collapse onto the floor, on top of each other, in a heap of giggles.

And not all the games we play are board games, other relationship games we play include Doctor-Doctor, or the ever-popular House-House. And don’t forget Kiss Catch, which still has very basic rules today. If you catch a guy, you get to kiss him. Sounds like last Saturday night at Eclipse.

Sometimes we even take our relationship inspiration from card games. Like Rummy. The last person to put all their cards on the table, wins.

Then there are those games that require a little more cunning and logic. Like the classic, Risk. That’s another game couple’s play. It’s a game of strategy and tactics for two or more players. Sounds like most of the relationships I’ve ever been in.

Essentially it’s a fight for space and territory. You leave your favourite nail polish, nail polish remover and a toothbrush in his bathroom, and if he doesn’t insist you remove them instantly you’ve gained a little bit more territory and you get to throw the dice again. It’s that simple.

So when you think about it, the games we play haven’t changed in years. Only the people we play them with and the stakes change as you get older. Oops, I’ve got to dash, it’s my turn to go again.

By: Paige Nick

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