Players: 5 players
Duration: >60 minutes
Online dating is not for the faint-hearted, and neither is this game. The Things We Do for Love is a tongue-in-cheek proposal that reflects the absurdities and dangers of the world of online dating. To win, you don’t just have to save your money, grace, and literal freedom, but also be the last one standing with a full wallet after forcing your opponents to go bankrupt or go to jail.
Trying to leave your mark in the realm of online dating, perhaps especially in Egypt, is like constantly maneuvering to avoid a landmine. And yet essentially you do it to connect, by initiating a conversation, finding friends, dates, or even physical intimacy—if you’re one to take risks.
The Things We Do for Love is modelled after Monopoly, chosen for its perfect structure to comment on the commodification of dating culture, the way it also commodifies our time and attention. The seems equally present in the long-format game and online dating applications. But there’s also the unpredictable potential element of loss, manifested in either losing your freedom by “going to jail”—forfeiting your physical safety—but also losing your money or precious time.
In the culture of online dating you open yourself to an unsparing reality of the darkest sides of human nature, spanning racism, classism, aggression, and homophobia. If you’re Asian, Black, femme, or fat, you’ll probably get the unpleasant shock of rejection every other profile, seeing some variation of the statement “No Asian, Black, femme, or fat,” usually accompanied by angry and intimidating emojis.
Based on your body type, the amount of hair your body can grow, and your height, you’ll be categorized and given a value according to the current amount of demand for your “tribe.” Then you get assigned a price, putting you in a specific place in an unforgiving human hierarchy.
The things we do to connect, look for a potential date, or simply exercise our basic human nature create a losing game on most fronts. If you’re lucky enough to dodge a bullet by not being sent to jail or getting physically harmed, you’ll likely get a daily dose of microaggressions just skimming through profiles. At best, you’ll waste a couple of hours a day on shallow conversations with barely rational people.
The Things We Do for Love was designed to reflect on the culture of online dating in a boardgame format with excerpts and references inspired by real online dating experiences and the choices we have to make—choices that can be as risky as the speculative nature of the capitalist system we live under.
Mohamed Al-Bakeri is a visual artist based between Egypt and Switzerland. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, and currently doing his Master of Arts in Public Spheres in EDHEA, Switzerland. He is interested in the social politics of how everyday gestures are performed in male dominated spaces. His work relates to the notion of love from a socio-political point of view, taking in consideration the factors affecting individuals to find love and security in the online realm. To mention a few, the commodification of dating, cyber security, police entrapments, and racial discrimination.