I COULDN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING that had happened that night. It was the kind of night I hoped would never end, because the next morning would feel like a root canal with no anesthesia going on in my brain—which it did. I woke that morning with breath stronger than tear gas and a memory weaker than a hooker’s morals. The only token I had to remind me that I did more last night than just pass out was the brand new Words With Friends game that popped up on my iPhone. For those of you who have not yet experienced the insurmountably nerdy joys of Words With Friends and are still unfamiliar with the concept, it’s an iPhone app that allows you to play Scrabble with other "friends" on their respective iPhones.
My newest sparring partner was someone who went by the name DanTheMan12.
"Uh oh…" I thought. "Who in the holy hell is DanTheMan12, and what is this game doing on my screen?" I immediately called my friend Lora and asked her if I had met a guy last night named Dan. I desperately hoped she wasn’t as wasted as I was.
"Haha, ohhh, you and Dan!" she said.
Thank god for Lora, who fulfills the need people like me have for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol but thinks it’s totally fine if her friends do. She doesn’t judge.
Prudes are always good for recall.
I panicked. "What do you mean, me and Dan? What are you talking about?!" Apparently, my friends and I had gone to a party where a band was playing. The band was called Swaggadragon, Lora said, and Dan was the lead guitarist.
"Never mind that—what did Dan and I do?!" I yelled into the phone, sending waves of nausea and achiness through my body. The phone’s receiver was starting to look like a perfectly acceptable toilet bowl, but I restrained myself. I am, after all, a lady.
"Well, that’s the funny thing," she chuckled. "You just kinda talked and laughed and, like, exchanged numbers or something. Then you parted ways. And then you tripped on an amp cable and fell into a couple that was hooking up."
"Thanks, Lora…" Well, I thought, that explains the Words With Friends (WWF). A quick check through my contact list confirmed that I didn’t have his cell number—I just had this game of WWF sitting there like Pandora’s box. He’d already played his first word: "Veldt."
"So this guy’s got a nice vocabulary on him," I thought, and I’ll admit: I had to Dictionary.com the definition. How bad could he be? I dragged a couple letters on to the screen-board and played
"Domain." A less extravagant word, but a point-laden one nonetheless. Game on.
I think it bears mentioning that I like to consider myself a WWF aficionado. It takes a firm grasp of the English language and some strategically placed Triple Word Scores to beat me—but it didn’t take long before I found out that DanTheMan12 had come to play.
Dan really was the man when it came to WWF. He’d pull out 30-point words left and right, rack up Double Word Scores and use words I’d never heard of—which, not to brag, is a serious feat. He’s the Michael Jordan of cyber-Scrabble—and I felt like a lowly Scottie Pippen trying to show my stuff in Dan’s shadow. I didn’t want to get shown up in the intellectual department—I had a reputation to uphold, for chrissakes! So, once each of us had made a few moves, I decided to get daring when the opportunity for a triple word score presented itself. I played the word "coitus."
A couple minutes later, I got a message from him via WWF saying, "Hmm, interesting." And thus, a game of Words With Friends (with Benefits) was born.
It was, without question, the most unusual courting experience I’d ever been a part of. Each word either of us played came with our own personal sexual innuendo. We’d turn any word we played into something a grandmother would frown at—no matter how harmless the word seemed. He’d play a word like "Slide" that would come with a message saying, "I wouldn’t mind taking a ride on a Slip ‘n’ Slide with you." Then I’d play a word like "Stop" with a message saying, "Something you’ll never hear me say." Our games were treading dangerously close to Carrie Bradshaw cutsey-sexy territory.
We moved to the next level of our relationship when he played the word "Digits" with a message saying, "Can I have yours?" It was at this point that I was glad I had the perfect vowel for my response: "No." But I sent my shutdown with a message: "Give me yours."
It’s now been two weeks and Dan and I are still going strong, at least on WWFWB. The games are intense; if only Anthony Weiner had known that cyber-Scrabble could be so steamy! I fancy myself a bold WWF player, but Dan gives me a run for my money each time. We’re quite the evenly matched pair. Every time we start up a new game, it’s 50/50 as to who’s going to win. Plus, Dan is the kind of guy I feel like I can have a real conversation with, as he seems to know literally every single word in the English language. I’m not intimidated though—I’m inspired.
So, where will my relationship with DanTheMan12 go? Will we forever be in an unending game of sexually charged Scrabble? Will we move from the game board to the real world? Will I one day discover his last name?
Who knows? I might just end up sending him an actual text that could result in points on a different kind of scoreboard. And, believe me, I don’t think he’ll be showing me up on that playing field.