At around course three of a dinner I was attending, I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled out my phone, which had been dutifully vibrating in my purse every 15 minutes for the past hour, and tucked it stealthily in the folds of my skirt. But apparently not stealthily enough.
“Words with Friends?” my neighbor said. I looked up at him, a little bit red in the face and quite embarrassed at having been caught. “Want to play me?” he asked.
People, I know for a fact that I am not alone here in my addiction to this genius game. You cannot deny me that it is intensely satisfying to come to a victory with the knowledge that you have a better grasp of the English language than your opponent ever will — or perhaps just a deeper knowledge of Q-without-U words than the average human being.
But there are some games I play where it seems as if every move that’s made is a little more loaded than its mere point value. Take, for example, a game I played just last week with a cute boy in my English class.
The whole affair started innocently enough: TURNIPS, for a 56-point, seven-letter word for me; CHOUSES, a seven-letter comeback for him — and frankly, not a real word in anyone’s dictionary, if you ask me.
A few moves later, he hit me with a subtle CUTIE. Not too many points to be had in that play; the boy was making a cheeky move, to be sure. So I retorted with a KISS, totally robbing me of two valuable s’s. But what the hell? If it led to a lifetime of happiness — or 15 minutes of casual flirting — then an s could be sacrificed.
But then, things started to get interesting. He hit me with a well-played JISM. Now at first, I thought that our little flirtatious streak was over. To me, the word kind of looked like a name for an East Asian religion, or maybe an obscure soul food dish. But no, that was not quite it. Not quite it at all. (If you’re confused, I suggest you consult a dictionary. I am not going to be your sex-ed teacher today.)
“Okay,” I thought to myself, “if you’re going to take it there, then I am going to finish it.” Since we seemed to be sticking to a theme, I figured ORALLY was a pretty appropriate response.
By this point, we were throwing around sexual terms like it was our job. He played a terribly obvious EX, which I just had to top off with an “s” for comedic effect.
The whole thing was wildly liberating. For so long, I had been in the proverbial WWF closet. I cannot tell you how annoyed I was when I had a brilliant PENIS in my midst, only to drop the “I” and play PENS for far fewer points. To be fair, though, that was a game against my dad.
But here was my chance to be as scandalous as I liked, without any real consequences to my actions. DICK was a pretty clever move on his part, an obvious reference, of course, to the name “Richard.” But it paled when I played a brilliant synonym to “kitty.” Surely, this guy could not come up with any legal move that would top that bad boy in both creativity and panache.
And then he played it: KNOCKERS, for the win. In those thirty-seven points of genius, I knew that this man was not referring to the definition: “-s, pl., one who knocks.”
So it was official: I had participated in the dirtiest game of Words with Friends known to mankind.
We started a new game, and his first word was a doozy: COFFEE. So our fun was over, I thought to myself. But then I got a new message: “Loser buys.” Okay, it’s on!
Cristina Stiller is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Believe You Me appears alternate Mondays this semester.