Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Dare Game

What To Do?

There I was. At a bar with my best friend and a bunch of other people in October 2008. The problem was that Missy and I were kind of bored after trying to make small-talk with friends-of-friends. So we were just sort of hanging back, people-watching at the bar.

That's when I noticed some poor woman come out of the ladies' room with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. "Ooh, that's unfortunate for her." I tried not to giggle at her expense, though I concede that a few 'nyuks' may have escaped my lips.

The First Dare

Minutes later Missy declares that she has to go to pee. I remember the poor woman from before, and I say to her "I dare you to come out of the bathroom trailing a super long piece of toilet paper." I figured Missy could purposely take the brunt of the spectacle so the other woman didn't feel bad.

Missy took a couple more minutes than I would have expected, but I didn't comment because I'm totally a gentleman. It turns out that Missy took that extra time to fully eclipse my concept of 'meeting the dare'. She came out of that restroom wearing a full bathroom tissue headdress! With curls and twists of paper coming out of every part of her tank top!

With such a spirited display, I could do nothing but concede the point. She had unconditionally 'won' that dare.

Dare Numero Deux

And, after such a stunning display, it was only fitting that reciprocate, so I told Missy to think up a dare for me. After a few misanthropic (or just downright mean) ideas came and went, she came up with something... Something very Missy.

You see, the thing that you should know about Missy is that she is a 'collector'. No, she doesn't collect sports memorabilia or crystal animals or antique Coke products... She collects pieces and parts of people, the grosser the better. (Like that time I collected 1 month of my bellybutton lint for her.) And in fitting fashion Missy dared me to bring back, from anyone at the bar that we didn't know, a fingernail clipping.

You have to understand that I've spent most of my adult life wondering how people can be so... social... at a bar, especially with people they don't know. I never understood it, and I never thought I could be someone like that. But what I learned that day is that when I am 'on a dare', I'm pretty damn fearless (socially-speaking).

I took a minute or two sizing up the other people in the bar, trying to identify which unsuspecting victims would be most likely to play along. Then I did it. I just went up to someone, a complete stranger nonetheless, and asked them for a fingernail! And it worked!

Sure, I had to explain to the guy that this was all just a silly and fun dare that I was on, but he ended up playing along. We walked over to where I had been sitting with Missy, then right there he bit off his excess pinky fingernail and presented it to her. SCORE!

Our fingernail donor ended up sticking around for a beer or two. He even helped out coming up with ideas for the next few dares. I was kind of in shock. We were just being silly troublemakers, yet somehow we had found a way strike up conversations with totally random people.


The First Ever Dare Game Rolls On

Now, we knew we were on to something, so we kept up the dares.

Our friend Bubba [*name changed to protect the innocent] opted out of participating due to a traumatic memory of a previous drunken dare at a crowded restaurant wherein he full-voice asked to fuck a waitress in the ass. Knowing this, we didn't push him too hard.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but we achieved several more dares. I can only remember two:

  1. Missy had to find a stranger who would let her lick his armpit.
  2. I had to convince this Midwest-looking tourist young man to take photobooth pictures with me.

All told, we had done about 6 or 7 volleys. Regardless of how many or what kind of dares happened that night, we learned a few things and a revolutionary template had been set.

Structure Starts to Form

A couple of weeks later Missy and I are at another of our favorite bars when she gets a glint in her eyes, "Nelz, I dare you to bring me a used sock from someone in this bar." 

How could I resist!?! So, I set out with my new Dare Game-inspired gregariousness and found a young man who was willing to give me his sock for the pure ludicrousness of the idea. WIN! (Sidenote: Missy washed the sock and now hangs it on her mantle for me at Xmas time.)

Through the subsequent dares of that evening and future playings, it becomes clear that we are operating off of some basic principles:
  • The Dare Game is best when playful and good-natured and not mean to anyone
  • dares are best when involving people outside your current friend group, though if the darer doesn't specify "someone we don't know" it is permissible for a daree to take a known-person shortcut
  • It is entirely optional, but sometimes fun to document the progression of dares on your favorite social networking site
  • You can adapt the game to most situations. (E.g. If you have a lot of people, create teams.)
  • It's fun to involve your out-of-town friends by asking them for dare suggestions

The Dare Game Examples

The Dare Game has been played in many bars spanning several states (and countries). Here are some examples of memorable dares:
  • "Bring back the saddest true story you can find in the bar"
  • "Find two people to mime out a horrible accident"
  • "Get someone's underwear"
  • "Have your team perform a song-and-dance number on that flight of stairs"
  • "Collect a lock of someone's hair"
  • "Stand on a table and sing 'I'm a Little Teapot'"
  • "Assemble an Air Guitar band to play 'Bohemian Rhapsody'"

You Can Play Too

The Dare Game is easy to play. You can play it with as little as two people. Why don't you give it a try?

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