Monday, November 30, 2015

Candy Crush: A Dating Metaphor

Happy day-before-December, friends! How did it get to be so late in the year? Stay tuned for my 2015 wrap-up post coming in a few weeks. Christmas is my favorite holiday; I always look forward to seeing the lights at Temple Square. I'm also excited to go visit my family in Virginia for a week and a half. But let's skip the pleasantries and get straight to the point of this post.

I was playing Candy Crush last week and had a realization about life. I know, I know, Candy Crush is sooo early 2013. But hear me out. Level 153 requires that you match two Colour Bombs (#WannabeBritish4Lyfe). In case you are cooler than me and don't play Candy Crush: Colour Bombs are formed by matching five candies of a color, which is difficult. Normal candies can be swapped around and don't disappear until you get three or more of a color in a row. Colour Bombs can be swapped with any candy, however they disappear as soon as they are used, so you can't move them around the columns, if that makes sense.    

So to complete Level 153 you have to combine two Colour Bombs. The first challenge comes in creating two Colour Bombs. The second, more difficult challenge, is to get the Colour Bombs next to each other to combine them. 

Dating is like Candy Crush Level 153. Everyone is looking for another Colour Bomb to match with, because we all see ourselves as Colour Bombs. Or we should. The person we're looking for certainly will see us that way, even if we think we're only a plain green candy. But it seems to be difficult for most of us to accomplish this.

I've never been great at dating, and that doubled for this level. I started to take Level 153 a little personally. I was feeling the metaphor of Colour Bomb = Single Person real strong. How was it such a hassle to get two awesome candies together? Well, several problems kept presenting themselves in my quest to combine these two star-crossed souls. 

Problem #1: I could create Colour Bombs without a hitch, but never next to another Colour Bomb. Exhibit A:

So close and yet so far

So here we have FOUR Colour Bombs. However, I cannot move any of them horizontally to combine them, I can only drop them vertically. It's frustrating. The Colour Bomb is basically the best candy ever. It is multi-talented and valuable and has helped me complete many levels.  But in this level it is, for my purposes, useless while alone. Any two of these Colour Bombs could match, but due  to location never the twain shall meet. 

Don't you feel like that sometimes? Like these awesome people who are going to match on your level are walking around, and you see them, but your lives don't intersect like you want.  Timing, location, whatever it is, something keeps you apart. If I match any of the Colour Bombs with another candy, they'll vanish. I hate to waste them; I don't want to settle. But it also feels like a waste to let them sit there until I run out of moves.

Problem #2: Striped Candies Are Jerks

All right, time to introduce another player to our chessboard. Wait, strike that. I can't start mixing my game metaphors. Let's meet another candy. 

This is a Striped Candy. Some levels require you to acquire a certain number of these, and they do have their uses. This one has vertical stripes, so it will clear out a whole column if matched with two candies of its color. The ones with horizontal stripes eliminate a  row when matched. On one of my numerous attempts to best Level 153 I had finally succeeded at creating two Colour Bombs in adjacent columns. I made the move that would drop Colour Bomb #2 three spaces, which would place it directly next to Colour Bomb #1. I literally shouted out, "I did it!" Only one move separated me from my goal. Nobody could mess this up. Wedding bells will ring. Wedding bells will chime. Wedding bells will celebrate this happy wedding ti-- *record screeches* 

One of the consequences of dropping Colour Bomb #2's column was that it put a vertical striped candy in line with two other matching candies. Striped Candy came in like a wrecking ball and wiped out the column. The column containing precious Colour Bomb #2. In the blink of an eye Colour Bomb #2 was eliminated, and all I could do was my best Darth Vader impression.

I thought I was set! These two Colour Bombs were going to be happy forever! And then Striped Candy had to go and screw it up. Striped Candies are all too real. They are the romantic rival who swoops it right when you had it made. They are the argument that never quite got resolved. They are a job offer, an unfortunate misunderstanding, the hot coworker who distracts one of you for just long enough. A trip out of town at a crucial time, being too timid, being too forward. Sometimes you're aware of them, sometimes they trip you at the finish line. Striped Candies are the worst, is what I'm saying. The absolute worst.

Problem #3: 

This is the screenshot of my final attempt; I finally got to move on. But I couldn't even take satisfaction from my victory. Look at this nonsense. You've got three Colour Bombs chilling with each other, and Colour Bomb #4 is RIGHT THERE, but it's separated by one column. But only two Colour Bombs get to combine. So Colour Bomb #3 has to choose between Colour Bombs #2 and #4, both of which would suit them equally well. Colour Bomb #1 isn't even in the running, even though if they were ONE COLUMN OVER the four could pair off and double date. They could go for ice cream or something. Play doubles in tennis. The possibilities are endless. But, no, in this scenario we get a Forever Alone and a love triangle. Why you gotta be this way, life?

So that's my sugary metaphor. What should single people do? Rely on pure, dumb luck that there's a Colour Bomb in the column next to you that has somehow evaded the sabotages of Striped Candies? I don't know. Advice is not my forte. (Unless you are looking for advice about what books to read or shows to watch [JESSICA JONES]. I gotcha covered there.)

Anyway, this is not a post that offers solutions, only problems. Allow me thirty seconds of venting, if you'd be so kind. Dating is basically the worst. I like to think that I bring some attractive qualities to the table. I'm smart, I'm geeky, I'm funny, I'm musical-- I consider myself a fairly interesting person. I meet cool men. Sometimes the cool men even go on dates with me. But how do you gauge interest, really? I'm simultaneously biased in my favor *and* my own worst enemy. How do you keep a guy interested without scaring him off? What do you do when you can't stop thinking about him, but he has all the texting initiative of an Amish chipmunk? Again, I have no answers.

Maybe the next level will provide the answer.

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