J. came over the other day and we had a nice little game of bridge with a few of the staff.  I had Clarice and Chef partner against J. and me.  We rousted them; I mean a proper walloping.  That had much to do with the fact that Clarice has a limited grasp on the English language and an even more limited grasp on how to play bridge and Chef thought we were playing Texas Hold ‘Em (always best to catch Chef when she is making Chicken Marsala; she is too blotted to really comprehend anything.)

It was my gift to J. who has to be the worst loser I have ever encountered.  We played a particularly animated game of backgammon once that resulted in the destruction of my front topiary.  The beauty of J. is that she works so hard on the pretense that she is such a collected lady when in reality, a competitive streak runs rampant throughout her.  When losing, she spends so much time speaking through gritted teeth; you would think her jaw wired shut.  If you pepper a victory with little encouraging comments like “Well, its just a game after all, isn’t it?” and “oh, look at that – it seems I have taken the lead,” you can hear the sizzle of her crimson cheeks.

No surprise but Albert was a lousy loser as well.  He thought he was “teaching” me chess but of course my Great Auntie Margot had me cut my teeth on it; she thought it sharpened the mind.  I feigned ignorance with Albert until our honeymoon (oh the areas I feigned ignorance until our honeymoon) when I put him check so quickly he thought he was being arrested.  He simply could not bear to lose, which was odd considering he really wasn’t very good at anything.  When losing an argument, which was often, he would slam him hand on the table, declare quite loudly “And that is what I have to say about that!” leaving the table abruptly, forcing the guests to wonder what, in fact, he had contributed to the conversation at all.

Opie is a decent loser; he simply doesn’t care enough to make it any fun.  Not to mention, he believes you can turn anything into a “strip” version of it. Honestly, who wants to unlace their corset for Auto Bingo?  Romeo is a real sport.  He’s a champ losing, always ready with a compliment to the victor.  Even when he wins, he finds a way to make it because you brought out the best in him as a competitor.  Honestly, I have felt more victorious losing to Romeo than I do winning against most people.  The only problem is that properly trouncing him is a bit like kicking a puppy and who wants to do that?

Of course Adonis and I play games all the time – just nothing Milton Bradley would condone.  Instead of preciously molded plastic pieces and colorful pages of money with silly faces grinning out at you, we utilize psychological warfare and soul-crushing deception.  The strategy we employ is not so much to get rid of all our cards first, but to be left standing while still maintaining the upper hand.  We took a torch to the rulebook and rely on passive aggression and silence to dictate our next move.  However, no matter how brutal the play or how solid the drubbing; the victory lap is always performed together.  As rewarding as that is (and it always is with Adonis,) I cling to the idea that my true prize with Adonis is going to be my beloved Sophie returning to my mantel so I forever stay in the game.

My point is, darlings, play all you want, just make sure you get the most out of winning.

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