I have made many enemies over the years in the competitive bridge world. But the one I made last night just might kill me.
Before I identify my prospective murderer, let me back up a step. Since I assume that most of you are under the age of 80—the median age of bridge players—you need a bit of background on the murky world of competitive bridge.
You probably think of the game as a musty 1950s pastime designed to amuse refined ladies in fancy hats. But it’s evolved since then. Those housewives have turned into crotchety old folks who have been disappointed by life and their children and are now looking to avenge their lost youth through the game of bridge. Throw into the mix a group of awkward, super smart weirdos (Bill Gates is a player) who couldn’t quite make it in the world of chess and are too old for all-night matches of Dungeons & Dragons, and you’ve got a good idea of the population of an average bridge tournament.
I started playing bridge in my 30s because I thought it was a good way to meet girls. After all, I grew up watching my mom host her lady friends at weekly bridge matches. I assumed those ladies had lesbian daughters that were equally captivated by this genteel game of skill, and that I’d find these offspring at local bridge clubs. But I was wrong. Apparently, I’m the only lesbian in the world who plays bridge. Every other lesbian is too busy playing softball or bowling or doing some other sport that employs blunt instruments.
As the older folks die off, I’m increasingly left bobbing in a sea of odd men who have no sex lives and, therefore, can focus all their testosterone on their bridge opponents. Since these are the type of guys who were never top picks for schoolyard sports teams, they never learned how to harness the aggression that comes with competitive play. As a result, they use a fierce combination of cold intelligence, poor social skills, and terrible hygiene to irritate the hell out of me. (And I’m usually cranky to begin with because of the lack of ladies at tournaments.)
Last night, my bridge partner—a charming gay gent—and I decided to try a new club. (Although no lesbians play the game, there are plenty of gay guys in the bridge world, which offers welcome respite from the game’s nerdish intensity and guarantees the tournament snack table will be stocked with delightful treats.)
As soon as we walked into the club, I sighed in sorrow. I’m ever hopeful that we’ll stumble upon the Brigadoon of Bridge—a magical club that has corralled every lesbian card player in the galaxy. But, like Brigadoon, this club materializes only for one day every century. (Lesbian readers: if you don’t get the Brigadoon reference you need to learn your Broadway showtunes! Yet another area where I’m disappointed in the dearth of female companionship.)
Instead, the room was packed with guys of indeterminate age and bad posture. I immediately girded myself for what was sure to be a highly annoying evening, and unhooked a blouse button to expose more cleavage. This is my most effective weapon against these boys—distracting their focus away from their cards and into the maw of my spectacular breasts.
My partner and I took a seat at a table and were soon joined by opponents, one of whom would vow to murder me by the end of the game!
(Stay tuned for Part Two of this riveting tale to learn if I escape with my life!)
Bridge players: if you’re looking for a partner to play online, please contact me at [email protected]