We were playing one of those games. The kind that seem designed with the sole intent of breaking up friendships and destroying relationships. We really liked those kinds of games. The general premise of this one was about knowing your opponents. On their turn, the player would be asked a multiple choice question, and they would have to choose the answer that was most correct for them. Then their teammates had to guess what they’d picked. This game relies heavily on honesty for it to work. But honesty could be subjective.
“There is no way you’re more afraid of spiders than mice!!!” My best friend Chloe yelled at her girlfriend Amy. Amy rolled her eyes and laughed, “uhhh, yeah. Spiders can crawl into my mouth while I’m sleeping! They can fall on my head from the ceiling! At least mice are kind of cute.”
“You didn’t think that mouse that was loose at the store was cute!” Chloe reminded her.
“That was a rat,” corrected Amy. She took a card from the box and turned her attention to me. “Okay Lex, you’re up. Who would you rather go on a romantic date with? A) A handsome cowboy. He’ll take you to the county fair and then write a song about you. B) A dude with a motorcycle and long hair. He’ll take you to a rock concert and get closer to you in the mosh pit. Or C) An aspiring business man. He’ll take you to a fancy restaurant and then to see Mozart’s Concerto Symphony Orchestra.”
“Oh, I know for sure!” Chloe exclaimed, writing down her guess of my answer.
“Me too,” nodded my boyfriend Paul.
“Yeah, so do I!” Echoed Amy.
The three of them looked at me expectantly, as if my answer was so obvious. Like it was written on my face. Yet, I hesitated to answer. Not because I was trying to stump or surprise them with my response. No, I liked these games because they were a chance for reflection. I tried to play at my absolute most truthful.
“Oh, come on,” Chloe groaned after I took more than 30 seconds to respond. “It’s so obvious.”
“Is it this?” Amy asked leaning into Chloe and showing her the letter she’d chosen for me. Chloe agreed, “of course.”
How did they know? I didn’t even know. “Can you repeat my choices?”
“A) A handsome cowboy. He’ll take you to a county fair and then write a song about you.”
On the one hand, I really liked the idea of going to a county fair. I also loved country music and romantic cowboys. But kind of in a fantastical way. Like the way I liked unicorns. Do the cowboys in those songs really exist? In reality, that kind of doting attention would probably make me feel uncomfortable. Although he probably would be stable. Reliable. It would probably be a completely unproblematic relationship. But would I be happy? Would it be boring? God, I wouldn’t be able to sit and listen to a song about me. I wouldn’t know what to do. How to react. I’m happier just imagining those songs on the radio are about me.
“B) A dude with a motorcycle and long hair. He’ll take you to a rock concert and get closer to you in the mosh pit.”
That sentence alone was enough to get my heart beating faster. I’m a sucker for long hair. And physical contact. Flirting. Intense attraction on a first date. Granted, in the long term, maybe I’m not cut out for the rock concert, mosh pit scene, but man, would I enjoy it on that date. It would be the funnest night of my life. But with him, it would probably end there. That’s probably all I’d get. This guy would probably go on a great date with me the one night, and then I wouldn’t hear from him for months. He’d keep me around just long enough to maintain contact, a few fun nights here and there, but he probably wouldn’t be interested in a long-term relationship. And to be fair, that would probably be for the best.
“C) An business man. He’ll take you to a fancy restaurant and then to see Mozart’s Concerto Symphony Orchestra.”
Oh God, a grownup. No way. Not now. I wasn’t ready for that. Maybe in 10 years. This was my dream date, after all. It had to count. I had the rest of my life to eat at fancy restaurants.
“I choose B.” I announced finally, unwittingly foreshadowing my own future.
“B!?” Amy exclaimed.
“B?!” Chloe repeated.
“B?!” Paul demanded.
The three of them stared at me in confusion. They had all written down A. I was pretty surprised. Did they know me at all!? Had they been following all the bad decisions I’d made in my love life thus far? I frowned. “Really? You think I’d choose A?”
“Well, yeah.” Paul maintained his position, and suddenly it hit me that he was kind of like a cowboy. He liked the hats and the trucks and the music. He lived in the country. He was stable and committed and super sweet. All of the things I should have been focusing on.
But this wasn’t a game of reality. This was a game of honesty. This was a game with the unexpected ability to predict the impending future.
I chose B.