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So last year I decided to take half a week off of work. The sudden delirium of having time to myself plus the ingestion of copious amounts of sugar and caffeine lead me down a dark path. When I finally regained my sanity I discovered that my world had changed: my bathroom was partially painted in three different shades of blue, my t-shirt was on backwards, and I had signed up for a dating site. I thought about canceling the account, but then I remembered numerous (six) anecdotes from well-meaning friends and family who had heard of someone who possibly may have found their soul mate this way. Clearly the odds were in my favor.

For various reasons I had not been on a first date in a few years. I don’t really have “game” and I don’t really care about pretending to find someone interesting when what they probably need is a memo saying “Dude, you’re boring.” Or this could all be a front based on the fact that I don’t like the unknowns that come with dating. I am terrible at in the moment decision making. If I am not allowed at least five agonizing weeks with internet access and the ability to create pie charts, I’m a lost cause. (Ok, I’ll be honest here. What I really want are five weeks to pretend to be working on pie charts and spread sheets and research when what I will really be doing is not this.) Where was I? No idea. But the bottom line is, I was not a fan of having to physically leave my house and then physically arrive at a destination wherein I will have to physically interact with another human being who may or may not be a serial killer.

coma

What I imagine my date is going to say to me right before he poisons me.

However, trying new things is about growth right? And one should always be growing and discovering themselves, right? Our selves are the true last frontier, I thought to myself. So I summoned every ounce of charm that I contain and created a dazzling profile that made even me look at it and go, “Yeah, I’d tap that like a bugle at a sad military funeral.”

Over the course of the next three months after Sugargate, I went on about 7 or 8 dates. Some of them were ok, and some of them were so bad they were amazing. A writer can’t put out on the first post, so I’ll save the best for last.

The Game Date with Mike:

Mike was one of many men who had their profile littered with demands such as intelligence and humor. Well, I’m pretty intelligent (IQ of 285 self-estimated) and I’m hilarious. So I sensed a win-win-win to the win kind of equation going on here.

We decide to meet for coffee on a balmy Sunday afternoon. It was one of those perfect summer days where the sky is so blue even the blind can see it. Off in the distance there was a threat of rain in the shape of plump clouds grazing on the horizon. For a few hours, at least, it would be nothing but sunshine and rainbows and possibly a drunk unicorn bounding out of heaven.

We met inside, got drinks, and sat down to chat. At first things started off well as we covered the usual topics found in Getting2noU Land. He seemed friendly, funny, and smart; I began to relax. Which is the exact moment that he spotted the stack of board games.

“Ooh, they have games here. We could play some if you like, but I should probably warn you. I’m really good at scrabble, and I am a master at checkers. I actually have a trophy from Highschool for Checkers.”

gauntlet1
Something was clearly being tossed in front of me.  But what?

Three facts about me and Scrabble. One: I am amazing at it. Two: I am ruthless at it. Three: It’s quite possible that beating me in Scrabble will make you pregnant with my child. It is the mystery of the dance. [Bonus fact: I will cut you.]

“I accept so long as you understand that I am also really good and I won’t show any mercy.”

“I expect none!” He said as he ran off to procure the Scrabble set.

We set up the game and drew tiles to see who could go first. He was up and he jauntily laid down a four letter word for five points. I countered with something for twice that and this went on for several more moves. By turn ten, however, I had begun to notice a few things. One: none of his words were bigger than four letters. Two: he had yet to break 20 for number of points made from one word. I was ahead by something like 40-50 points. I thought about holding back and then I assured myself that he himself had told me he was (and I quote!) “really good” at Scrabble.

“Tough letters tonight, huh?” I couldn’t help saying sympathetically as I contemplated laying down “Zinc.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, uh, no reason… Um, 48 points.”

“Why are your four letter words yielding more points than mine?”

At this point I may have frowned, or maybe I took a sip of water. Or maybe I looked out the window. Either way a war was brewing inside of me like fiesty coffee from coffee trees that make the world’s fiestiest coffee procured this side of the Mason-Dixon line. The war was being caused by the fact that I saw I had a 7 letter word I could play next, and he didn’t seem to be bringing any fight to this game. He also didn’t seem to know the rules. I weighed the long list of pros and cons of my personal desire (ego) to play my best versus the suspected tenderness of this man’s ego. My ego won out.

“W-O-U-N-D-E-D for um… 22 points plus 50 points for 7 letters and-”

“What the fuck are you doing? Wait…You can make seven letter words?!”

I really wish I had a video of this date, because I honestly have no idea what expression was on my face at this point. I’m guessing it was something like this:

alarm

I added up my new word score and tried to fly casual on the fact that I was ahead by somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 parsecs. He fiddled with his tiles and started mumbling under his breath about how the game was rigged and he was bored and maybe a pig just flew by the window. Remember the part about how I require time to make pie charts in order to make decisions? Well, that requirement would have come in handy for me at this point. As it was, I was without the backup of my brain and so I actually tried to salvage this moment.

“Hey, we could switch games and play Checkers instead if you like.” In my female brain I had decided that if I beat him at Scrabble and he beat me at Checkers that we would Be Even and That Should Soothe His Male Ego And Everything Should Be Fine.

“Oh yeah,” he said clearly relieved, “that would be awesome! Maybe I can teach you a few things.”  He winked at me.  [Pro-tip: winking is about as attractive as tapioca.  Wait, what am I saying?  I love all things puddinglike.]

The Scrabble board got unceremoniously dumped in the box, and Checkers took its place. I let him set it up for us and choose black because red is a bit too communist for me. He pushed a checker over, and I pushed one (at sheer random) back. [Side note: I hate Checkers. I suck at Checkers.  Me + Checkers is about as likely to happen as the north end of one magnet kissing the north end of another magnet. Kinky.]

About four moves in he goes, “Oh my god, you’re going to win!”

“Pfft, yeah right. I’m not even trying!” I burst out.

Which is sort of a lie because I was trying. I was trying to play as mindless and stupid as I possibly could. My “seven letter word” moment came when I discovered that getting to the other side of the board made my flat wafer of a Checker into a double stuffed King. AMGS ROYALTY.

Long, pouty faced story short: I won.

gauntlet2

Upon reinspecting the former tossed item I discovered I may have not seen it clearly the first time.

We soon parted ways and I never heard from him again.

The End.

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