The Thrill of the Chase

Peatuk’s favorite game these days is a very simple form of, “chase.” Tag. Gotcha. He loves when either me or his father threaten to “get him,” and then gleefully grab him and pick him up, only to set him down again so he can run away… as fast as his hands and knees can carry him. (Which is surprisingly fast).

Lately, I know when he wants to play this game because of the signs he gives. First, he will come up to me and make sure he has my attention. He either climbs into my lap or pulls on my leg. Then, he will edge slowly away, looking back at me with obvious anticipation. He wont go too far until he is sure that I am engaged in the game. Once I pick him up the first time, it is on… and he is free to move about the room without looking back, sure that I will be coming after him.

All of this makes me think about the game. You know the one I am talking about. The one that everyone seems to think is about sex or relationships or even love, but is really just a simple game of catch and release. The one that people have been telling me is a fabricated thing that young boys and girls learn from society. The one that is unnatural, and needs to be done away with through direct, honest communication.

Seeing my young boy, only 11 months old, play at flirting so well and loving the thrill of being chased makes me realize that I was wrong. It is a completely natural desire to want to be chased. To lock in another person’s interest and then turn away. To see how far they will go for you. To let yourself be caught and held and expect to be released again. Expect to remain free while constantly letting yourself be confined. It is fun. It is exhilarating. It is one of the most basic social interactions we have.

As we get older it gets more complicated. There are more layers. More signs and cues. More risk. But ultimately, it is the same game that we played from the moment we could crawl. Please! Come get me! Bring me back to safety. Let me know how far I can go. Let me know you are still there. That you still want me. Think of me. Love me.

All that being said, I think I like the simple version of the game better. Once the game gets out of a single room, a single night, a single moment, it becomes too involved for me. For now I will just play tag with my son and relish in the fact that I get to cuddle with my love, no games required, whenever I want.

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