Are you ready to play the Boy Toy game?
SINGLES by Karenina Yaptinchay
Manila Standard, P. 24B, 17 August 2000

Boy Toys are always around when you need them. They are comfortable to be with. They make you feel good about yourself. With them, you would not mind imposing a movie date or a free dinner. Usually younger, they sometimes remind you of how it was when you were younger and give you a new perspective of life, one that you havenít seen in a very long time.

I had to make a quick phone call to my brother, who has been in love with Madonna for as long as I can remember, to ask him what Madonna meant when she wore "Boy Toy" around her waist as her belt buckle in the cover of her "Like a Virgin" album. I canít really verify if his explanation was valid but he told me it was a "tongue-in-cheek" kind of thing, something Madonna used to mock men and humor herself, sort of like when she claimed she was like a virgin and touched for the very first time. She enjoyed portraying herself as a man's plaything but revels in the fact that it was the other way around.

In my e-mail discussion with my friends, I had to define for them what a Boy Toy is to me because they all seemed to have forgotten already (probably because of the amnesia brought about by their getting married). Although then wild and single Madonna called herself a boy's toy, a Boy Toy, according to my own definition, is actually a girl's toy.

When you are single, sometimes you get so bored that you just want to play. There comes a time in the life of a single person when he or she looks for not just any companion but a playmate. This is the part where the Boy and Girl Toys come in. And when you do find your so-called Boy or Girl Toy, the games begin.

Object of the Game: To have fun and convenience, cure extreme boredom or even learn a few lessons in life.

Number of Players: Two

To begin: At least one player must have at least a tiny interest in the other. Venues for the game may include, but not limited to, school, work, and social gatherings.

Equipment: At least a landline, a little cash, topics of conversation

Advance equipment: Cellphone with texting capabilities, job, car, e-mail, credit card

How to play:

  1. Player who is interested (Player 1) in the other player (Player 2) makes the first move by using an "official" excuse for dialogue (For example: on-going project, homework, common friends) and establishing a communication tactic. (For example: asking for a cellphone, home or office number or e-mail address.)
  2. Player 2 will show just a little interest and will make the second move by making it easy for Player 1. (For example: indicate kind of contact is most appropriate)
  3. Player 1 actually contacts Player 2.
  4. Player 2 does not brush off Player 1.
  5. Players find ways to bump into each other, calling these situations as strange coincidences but actually, they are carefully planned.
  6. Players carry on conversations face to face or on the phone and become more comfortable with each other.
  7. Player who gets to be more interested in the course of the game asks other player to hang out.
  8. Other player agrees.
  9. Players hang out. (For example: watch movies, drink and eat out, meet friends, watch television together, shop together)
  10. While hanging out, players learn about each other's personality, friends, family, life and future plans.

Scoring: Scoring is subjective. Players give each other points. Points are given for every effort such as fetching after work, treating to dinner, etc. Points are subtracted whenever a player makes a faux pas. (For example: being too demanding, pathetically begging for attention.)

Winning: Player who does not fall in love, usually with more points, wins the game. Player who falls in love loses the game if other player does not reciprocate. Both players win the game if they fall in love with each other.

End of game: Game ends when one player gets annoyed, stops having fun, falls in love, or loses sanity.

This is a game most people play with their Boy or Girl Toys. People may have different definitions of their toys but to me, a Boy Toy is a non-boyfriend but could possibly end up as one, depending on the development of the game. I say non-boyfriend because the relationship is incidental and its seriousness is not intended. When you start playing the game, making your toys your boyfriend or girlfriend is not the objective. For some reason or another, you already know in the beginning of the game that having a serious relationship with your toys is remote, usually because there is a current or potential girlfriend /boyfriend (yours or theirs) already in the picture or because he or she is simply not your husband/wife material. The objective is to have fun and enjoy each other's company without complications.

We called them by different names when we were younger. One is "flinget," a potential fling but not yet. Another is "slave" in a sweet-kind-of-way. A smitten-kitten. A Boy Toy, or a Girl Toy, if you may, is a person younger than you, mentally or otherwise, who is often mistaken as your love interest. I repeat, mistaken.

Boy Toys are always around when you need them. They are comfortable to be with. They make you feel good about yourself. With them, you would not mind imposing a movie date or a free dinner. Usually younger, they sometimes remind you of how it was when you were younger and give you a new perspective of life, one that you havenít seen in a very long time.

Playing the game is convenient. It has no hassles of a commitment but has the benefits of companionship. It is supposed to be harmless and simple. And because the game is also supposed to be fun and painless, it ends when it gets complicated. Stop the game when it turns sour for the game is supposed to be fun and sweet. Keep track of the point system and you would know if you have outgrown your toy.

There are occasions during the game when you can get confused and think whether your Boy Toy is the "right one." Well, he could be. If the game gets serious, usually when players fall in love, it ends and the real thing begins. But sometimes, the game just ends because playing can really make someone very, very tired and fed up. And sometimes, the game gets to be so messy that you are ready to puke at the sight of your toy.

Some players take it too far and become obsessive, compulsive, and possessive. Hopefully, it does not reach this point. Quit while you are ahead. Know the game and play it well.

I know it sounds insulting and even dehumanizing to call people toys. You tend to wonder whether you had been, in one time or another, been classified as one. Once upon a time I was someone's toy. My owner endearingly called me his "pillow" because I give him comfort during trying times. I enjoyed it while it lasted but it came to a point when I got so annoyed. We both ended the game and I lost for making a total fool of myself.

As if he was volunteering, a good friend asked me if I considered him my Boy Toy, even if he didnít have a car back then. (You see, you do not tell your Boy Toy that he is your Boy Toy because sometimes, you donít even know that you are already playing. Maybe you can laugh about it later on when the game is over.) Indeed he was. We took care of each other well. I used to call him my baby but then he grew up and got married. Now, I am a grandma.

I donít want to sound defensive about this but I do not see anything wrong with having Boy or Girl Toys so long as no one gets hurt in the process. But then again, someone is bound always bound to get hurt, just like when you were playing rough games when you were a kid. Remember how your parents stop you from playing once someone gets hurt? And just like in any other game, practice makes perfect. You learn new strategies along the way.

But if you know when and how to start and stop playing without anybody going insane, having Boy Toys merely makes the list of the people you love longer and your pain list, shorter.

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