Samantha, a slender 24-year-old who's rocking jeans, glasses, and a wily bra strap that's aching to slide out from beneath her tank top, looks like the sort of chick who knows her way around a joystick.
"I once played strip Mario Kart," she laughs while brushing a piece of jet-black hair out of her face. "After each race, whoever lost had to take off an article of clothing."
So, did she win? Or did she end up exposing her megabits?
"Let's just say we both kind of won," she reveals with the type of smirk that would leave most men wondering if she has a cheat code tattooed somewhere cheeky.
No doubt drinking games are the best. And booze tossed into even the most boring scenario can make it fun. For instance, this shit-faced favorite inspired by President Bush's State of the Union addresses: Take one shot if Dubya says, "God," "nuclear," or "terror." Down two if he utters, "edumacation." And chug an entire bottle of tequila if the camera pans to Cheney slaughtering a goat in honor of his lord Satan.
Another case in point is drunk bingo at the Standard Miami (40 Island Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1717), a free event that goes down every Sunday from 8:30 p.m. to around midnight. Or, in all honesty, until 26-year-old Erica Flicking, AKA Vanna Black (drunk bingo's official MC), has had enough of the foolishness.
Dark-skinned, curvaceous, and with hair that comes in the form of thick golden twists, Erica is eloquent — if your definition of eloquent involves a biting wit that can shred egos like tissue paper. She sashays with a microphone around the hotel's lobby, which features potted plants, rocking chairs, and hanging lights that look like upside-down lollipops.
During a game I sat in on a couple of weeks ago, dozens of people were competing. After several games, they were rather drunk. Erica stood up during a round, grabbed a few bingo balls from her assistant, Manna White (whose name derives from the fact that, well, he's a man and white), and yelled:
"Can I get some...?"
"Balls!" shouted the slurring crowd of 20- and 30-somethings.
A mousey girl, who was sitting on the floor next to a giant, leafless trunk with twisting branches, then followed with the response that someone in the crowd must give before the announcer calls the letter and number: "In your mouth?" she whispered into the mike.
Balls in your mouth? Weak. Erica rolled her eyes and moved on with the game. She looked down at the bingo ball in her hand. "B-1," she said into the microphone, "with yourself and masturbate."
The tanked gamers looked down at their bingo cards. Some sucked their lips and complained they would never win a complimentary massage from the Standard's spa or a free round of drinks. Others smiled and sloppily pounded B-1 on their cards using oversize markers.
Dozens of players waddled up to Manna White to get fresh paper cards, and a new game began, this time with a prize of a one-night stay at the Standard. "Can I get some...?"
Another weak response followed, and Erica called out "N-Dirty Sex," which this well-bingo-ed crowd understood to mean N-36.
Adrien, a green-eyed and handsome 28-year-old in jeans and a white button-down was sitting at the table next to mine. I asked if he had ever played any other drinking games.
He thought for a minute and busted out a smile like he had just gotten a triple-letter Scrabble score on Q: "When I was in high school, a group of friends and I decided to play spin the bottle. After a few make-out sessions, we decided to turn it up a notch and play a game we called 'seven minutes in Heaven.' By this time, most of the girls in the crew were passed out from drinking too much, and it was down to just me, my buddy, and this really beautiful friend of mine. She spun the bottle and it landed on me. So, as we were leaving to go into a closet, my friend stopped me, looking pissed. So I told the girl to go ahead into the closet and give me a minute. Ends up my friend had it really bad for this girl, so we decided to switch. We figured she wouldn't notice because the closet had no light and she was pretty tanked. So off he went, and they were in there for way more than seven minutes. I didn't think anything of it. Finally, I heard the girl scream and she burst out of the closet crying. Ends up she lost her virginity in there — and she thought she was losing it to me."
Whoa, way to sink my battleship (and my buzz), dude.
"Can I get some...?" Erica began.
"Balls!" shouted the crowd once again. And Erica walked up to a man-boy with side-swept bangs and a low-cut white tank top showing off his bony, hairless chest and shoved the mike in his face.
"Slapped across my face!" he added with a beaming smile.
And of course, everyone laughed.
"O-69 — it's eating out while staying in," Erica said while everyone marked their cards.
"Bingo!" yelled a voice, and everyone grumbled, including a regular named Daisy, who was sitting next to Unsexy Chest. She was a loud, thin 23-year-old in tiny shorts, an off-the-shoulder netted blouse type of number, and bangs secured in a poof that would make any Bumpit saleslady proud.
I asked her if she would forgo the "Hooker in the Window" round (which meant in order to get bingo, you had to have the perimeter spots of your square card marked) and accompany me outside for a cigarette. She agreed.
"Ever play any games other than bingo?" I asked, but she was distracted by her boyfriend of six years, Donald, who had followed us outside with a marker in hand. He began writing on her arm, in a very I'm-pulling-your-hair-because-I-like-you-and-want-attention kind of way. She giggled and then explained neither of them had ever won. "We're going to get engaged the day we win," Daisy explained before Donald pulled her aside and the two began to suck face.
To my side, waiting for the valet to retrieve their car, were Jason, a 31-year-old with stylishly unkempt hair, and Joanna, a 29-year-old blonde wearing a thin electric-blue scarf.
"Ever heard of Edward 40 Hands?" Jason asked. "It's a game where you duct-tape 40 [ounce beer]s to each hand and the person has to chug both of them before he can use his hands again. Well, one of my friends thought it'd be more fun to play it with two bottles of Captain Morgan... He ended up running around our house naked the rest of the night."
Then Joanna continued, "In college, two of my girlfriends and I had this drinking game we loved to play where we'd basically just get drunk and drive around student ghettos and yell shit at people who were party-hopping."
Well, that doesn't sound like a trivial pursuit at all.
"Our favorite thing to yell at guys was either 'Show me your tits!' or 'Show me your penis!'... We never thought that one day a man would get so mad at us that he'd jump up on our windshield and start banging on the window while we were still in motion."
The pair departed, and Daisy ambled up to me, this time without her soon-to-be husband, Donald. "I'm sorry," she said. "What were we talking about again?"
"Playing games," I responded.
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"Well," she said with a smile, "I'm playing a game right now... I'm with my boyfriend and everything, but I've always had a thing for my boss. He's not good-looking or anything, but I think it's the power I'm attracted to... Ever since he started, there's always been this unspoken thing, and we've been hooking up ever since."
And just like that, thanks to Hemingway's favorite nectar, she had moved on to something that hadn't occurred to me: mind games.
Checkmate, Daisy. How very Bobby Fischer of you.