A permanent fixture on the social calender during the warm summer months is a good old catch up with the Usual Suspects. Friday after work drinks and are a welcome pit stop in the Rat race. During these gatherings the conversation weaves its way through the mundane, the trivial, lingering at banter, all the while getting louder. Reaching its climax in the form a heated exchange with with it’s genesis lying somewhere in our different sporting affiliations. Not to mention the braggadocio tales of our attempts to gain the favour of a fair maiden.
This is all before we retreat into hibernation during the cold winter months. A period when our gatherings are reduced to a plethora of excuses delivered via cyberspace courtesy of Whatsapp and Facebook comments.The conquerors amongst enjoying the spoils of war wrapped up in some human blanket. Only emerging from underneath the covers of these to deliver a a half hearted whinge. ‘Sorry fellas, I couldn’t get a VISA’. Before smugly returning to their warm comforts. But I digress.
A few months ago during one of these gatherings we found ourselves discussing the merits and applications of the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The reverence for the book and its core message was undisputed. As is standard when the social lubricant that is alcohol is oiling the discussion it soon got pretty animated. There were suggestions that its underlying principles have been widely applied to business tactics and legal strategy. That some major cooperations and law firms used it as a manual of sorts. All which seemed reasonable and practical applications. But as is often the case at there is always someone who comes in from left field with outlandish proclamations. This was night was no different. One of the Usual Suspects was so enamoured by the principles in the book and their effectiveness that he rather ludicrously suggested.’If you understand them properly and embed them into your way life , you can get away with anything”. What followed I am pretty sure was an to counter attack to the condescending indulgence at this proclamation. He continued.’ Seriously guys, You can even get away with naked pictures on your phone’ Now he was playing to the braggadocio.That braggadocio that always hangs in the air after a few cold fermented ones. Looking around the room it was hard to argue that his ploy hadn’t worked.
Now, back then The Lawyer was the only one present who hadn’t read the book, and I dutifully volunteered to give him a copy of an audio file ‘I have it somewhere on my hard drive’ I said to him. To which he proceeded to offer up an unsolicited disclaimer that his interest had nothing to do with a desire to get away with naked pictures, but lay with its application to legal strategy. There was no way I was letting him off easy. I took the bait and we got stuck into the banter for the remainder of the night. That did not deter him though. He duly followed up and got the copy of me.
Fast forward to the present day and the book came up again. This time it was just me and The Lawyer and couple of his lawyer colleagues. The other Usual Suspects? You guessed it. They couldn’t get ‘VISA’s.’ Something we drew childish amusement from, even making jibes about how our fellow comrades had become prisoners of war. Truth be told though during this cold winter months we would have happily traded places with them. Again I digress.
Like I was saying we found ourselves discussing its merits in regards to dating. A discussion that we were lost in the middle of before one of the female colleagues interjected ‘The Art of War is not a dating manual guys. Seriously talk to me I am here to help’. What happened next resembled a courtroom scene ( Well thats how I choose to remember it ) The Lawyer now having familiarised with the text now went on to channel Alan Shaw ( Boston Legal). Armed with cliche’s he defended the assertion. ‘All is fair and Love and War’.’ Love is a battlefield’.’The battle of the Sexes’ All he claimed was evidence that there are many parallels between love and war. Based on that an argument can be made that the same principles used in war could just as easily be applied to dating which is a precursor to love. His female colleague a lawyer as well did not give in easily and went on to declare ‘But guys a woman is not an enemy that you need conquer.’ His response ‘Both involve capturing something the other is protecting. In war it’s the enemy’s flag or land or treasure. In dating, it’s the heart. And well other desirable parts.The spoils of war if you like. So while a woman is not any enemy to be conquered, in applying the principles of dating she can be regarded as prize to win over.’ I made a mental note to myself if I ever needed representation this was my guy.
As this back and forth was playing itself out I was increasingly starting to feel marginalised. It was in an effort to get back on the conversation that I found myself channeling my inner Barney Stinson. Next thing I know I shouted ‘Challenge Accepted ”Huh?’ They both simultaneously responded. ‘Challenge Accepted’ I repeated. That still did nothing to remove the confused looks on their faces. So I went on to explain myself. That I accepted their challenge to prove that the Art of War can be used as a dating manual. Thats right I would write a blog about it I continued. I was pleased with myself. I had manoeuvred myself back into the centre of the conversation. The Barnicle would have been proud.
Having got their attention I carried on. ‘By dissecting Sun Tzu’s original text, extracting his core wisdom I would show its 13 core principles could be applied in the dating game’
So Ladies and Gentleman. That is the challenge before. Keep watching this space. I will accomplish my mission and you better believe it will be Lege …. Wait for it …ndary!