Growing up I was an avid board game player. I put the smack down on Candyland. I schooled the other kids in the likes of Sorry! and Trouble. My steady hand was a dream in Operation. And Monopoly, honey, forget about it. I even dabbled a bit on the professional circuit.
I’m not kidding. There is a professional Monopoly circuit. You can ask my friend Jorge, he was the champ.
Regardless, there wasn’t a kid in the neighborhood who dared fuck with me and my skillz. I was as talented as any contestant on Making the Band III.
The downside of being a board game fetishist is of course, coming across The Cheater. The Cheater, in my case, was always my younger brother. He hustled me more times than Dawson and Joey almost hooked up in eight seasons. He conned me like Charlie Sheen did big-as-a-house, swollen-at-the-ankles, still-posing-for-Playboy Denise Richards. (Although, as a side note, when your husband-to-be has a history of spending a million bucks a year on hookers your pregnant ass just isn’t gonna cut it.)
You see, as trite as it may sound, once a cheater, always a cheater. All those kids that nailed you in Chutes and Ladders cause you couldn’t count to six and they could think of 101 reasons to re-roll are nailing you again. This time behind their girlfriends’ back.
Take my friend Melinda, for example. She’s a nice Jewish girl from Great Neck working as a consultant and exploring the perverted world of online dating. Because she’s from Great Neck, she only dates other Jews, a perfectly respectable stance. I ask you, who doesn’t love a yarmulka? Ready to give her love life a serious shot, she signed up for jdate.com and waited for the enticing offers of Passover Seder dates to roll in.
All she wanted was a guy who could really find her Afikomen. Trust me, it’s not that hidden.
Soon enough Jared, a bright young lawyer, came a-knockin’. The two of them went on a couple of successful dates, and Melinda did what any respectable Internet age baby would do. She Googled dreamy, blue-eyed Jared for clues. She was looking for evidence of a soccer playing youth, maybe a few speech-writing contest wins and some solid proof that he really did graduate from Harvard Law. She found the latter. She also found an online gift registry at Michael C. Fina.
Jared is getting married in Newport in July. He and his oblivious fiancée are also registered at Tiffany’s, Bloomingdale’s and Pottery Barn.
Melinda bought the happy couple a set of butcher knives.
But the fun doesn’t end there. Cheaters abound! They’re resurging all over this city like bedbugs. Sleep with your lights on.
Another friend of mine, David, met a temptress at work. After the annual office Christmas party, several trips to the bar and several more to the mistletoe, she slyly suggested they find somewhere more comfortable so she could deck his balls. Halls.
“How about your place?” she asked sweetly, “We can’t go to mine. My boyfriend lives with me.”
David could hardly believe his ears, or his luck.
“I’m no saint,” he told me later, “but who wants to bag the chick whose boyfriend pays half the electricity bill?”
I pointed out that he just used the expression “bag the chick.”
As I write this, the papal conclave has sent white smoke up over Vatican City to indicate that a new pope has been chosen. Why can’t we have the same system in bars across the country? If you’re single, a stream of white smoke hovers gently over your head. If you’re not, black smoke hangs menacingly to warn potential lovers what they’re getting into.
You know, a simple, “I’m just going to use you for sex. The rest of the benefits go to Jane. She’s at home with our dog Barker right now.”
But seriously, for the recent college alum, it’s adjustment enough checking the left hand of the man or woman who sidles up to the bar next to you for the sign of a band or a carat, but it get even more confusing when those pesky rings mean, well, nothin’.
Why are the marrieds and the involveds so eager to get a little taste of that delicious single fruit? Does it taste like mango? Or papaya?
But I think it’s because we have so many options these days. There are 93 different types of cuisines available at restaurants in New York City alone. Thousands of computer and cell phones and iPods for sale at Best Buy. We are always searching for the next best thing. It must be out there. We have more stuff, more choices, more options. More fruit baskets. Our culture of abundance has robbed us of satisfaction with just one thing, with simplicity. Is it a surprise that our love lives aren’t any different?
So I conclude with a prediction. Don’t forget that you heard it here first—group sex is about to become the newest, awesomest kid on the block.