Once upon a time on a late Saturday night during a single phase, I struck up a game of Word Chums with a random player who supposedly matched my skill level. The game moved along quickly. I played words like “protozoa,” and my opponent parried with “zoo.” It occurred to me that I could be playing an octogenarian or a ten-year-old kid. Either way, I needed the points to level up. I hit my challenger with “taxites,” and followed that with “dreamers,” putting me a good 300 points ahead. My competitive nature transcends respect for elders or consideration of kids.
Suddenly the chat bubble lit up. I froze. It was the first time an unknown player had initiated a chat with me on a word game app.
“Hi,” it read.
“Hello,” I replied.
Now my mother taught me never to talk to strangers, and I know full well there are sociopaths aplenty in the online abyss. But I was safe in my apartment with the doors locked and windows shut. My Word Chum avatar looked like Spanky from Little Rascals and our game board reflected a sesquipedalian (look it up). If anyone gave off creepo vibes, it was me.
“I’m Cindy.” I changed my name, just in case. The game forgotten, we launched into conversation.
“What time is it where you are?” he asked.
“10:30 p.m. Past my bedtime,” I answered.
“I’m in Melbourne,” he typed. “It’s 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.” I blame Chris Hemsworth for what happened next.
I may be an intelligent, grown woman with experience to know better, but my one true fantasy by which I measure all men, and whose image can render me speechless is that Australian Adonis. So naturally that’s who I imagined my opponent to be. Maybe this game was fate.
“How old are you?” Dave asked. Who ever said Adonis was tactful? I told him a man should never ask a woman her age.
“I’m 40,” I responded. If he flew me to Australia, he’d find out 21 was a lie.
“I’m 48,” he wrote.
A 48-year-old, well-built, shirtless man with Chris Hemsworth’s eyes, hair, and physique was playing a word game with me at three in the afternoon on a Sunday… in Australia. Sure.
Dave continued a steady chat thread: “I’m divorced with two kids, I’m 6’4”, blond, blue-eyed. I’m in banking. I’m not ripped, but I’m fit. How would you describe yourself?”
Oh God, the dreaded question for anyone flirting on social media. I responded with vague details about myself: brown hair, 5’7”, fit as the next gal. He wanted a picture, and truthfully, I wanted to see just how far Australian Dave missed the Hemsworth mark. He wasn’t on Facebook, but he was on some Australian app I’d never heard of. I searched the app store. It seemed innocuous enough, so I quickly downloaded the app and attached a random selfie to a fake profile within three minutes. Dave sent me his profile name and I looked him up.
Australian Dave was no Hemsworth, nowhere near a Hugh Jackman, or even in the same neighborhood as Paul Hogan, any for whom I would dive down under. Dave was balding in awkward patches, had a dad bod, wore thick-rimmed glasses, and appeared to have taken the selfie in a basement. I immediately felt embarrassment on his behalf and a little outraged by his false self-promotion and my overactive imagination. However, my mother taught me manners, so I typed a quick, “nice to meet you,” before returning to Word Chums and playing my last word. After being declared the winner, my Spanky avatar jumped up and down in triumph. I was just as eager to close out the game, say goodbye to Dave, and turn out the light.
“Can I message you later?” Dave asked before I could close the chat window.
“I’m off to bed.” Good thing I was already between the sheets with my head on the pillow because what appeared before me was an all-natural, Australian Dave, dick pic.
For years, dick pics have sprouted up on all sorts of social media. Cosmopolitan even offered guidance to men on how to take a proper pic (encouraging lude behavior, Cos?), and though I’d spent time on Tinder doing sociological research, I’d never received such a graphic. . . on my phone . . . only a few inches from my nose. Shocked as a nun in a whorehouse, I deleted the app, I deleted the word game, and I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and my eyes.
Really Dave? That’s where you saw this going? Not even a “talk to you soon, thanks for playing an awesome word game, you’re a real smart gal?” What the hell, Dave? You are giving Australian men a bad name. I don’t think “the Aussie Impaler” (look him up) would start off with a dick pic that quickly. And certainly, no Hemsworth would behave so crudely.
Now, I am no prude, but that particular body part belongs in marble or clay, or on canvas, for viewing purposes and not on my phone screen. I prefer to gaze at a chiseled chest, a strong jaw, or my favorite fetish …the hand. Hands fascinate me. Holding hands is the first step toward relationship-building. It’s the first touch that flutters the heart.
Next time, Dave, behave yourself. Instead of jumping right to the dick pic, snap a shot of your hand, empty, on a flat surface and nowhere near your genitalia. And for God’s sake, brush up on your word game skills.
~And after slapping her opponent with words, she lived happily ever after.