“What time did you last take a poop?” asks my friend’s husband as we all perch on couches, drinks in hand.
“Excuse me?” I reply, frozen mid sip.
“The rules say that the person who has taken the most recent poop is the first Czar,” he explains, adding “My last poop was at 7:30am.”
“I was right after him,” my friend offers. All smiles.
None of us have ever played Cards Against Humanity before, so we are eager to see what all the fuss is about.
My husband chimes in, “I took four this morning. Jess made cabbage soup last night. Do I get points for quantity?”
“Then, the last one was around 8:30 when I had to leave for work,” is his final answer.
They all look at me.
I had to think. Did I even take a poop today? This morning was a flurry of anxiety, prodding, begging for shoes to go on feet and butts to get into car seats. No time before drop off to relax enough for a movement. It wasn’t until after returning home from taking the kids to school when I did find some peace for release.
“I’d say around 9:45.”
“You are Czar first, then,” announces the man with the rule book.
“The way we are playing, the Czar reads a prompt, then the rest of us look through our cards and pick the answer we think the Czar will like best. We mix them up, and the Czar chooses his favorite without knowing who put in what. Then, whoever’s card got picked is the next Czar, and so on.”
With the rules explained; cards are dealt, and we go through the shocking process of reading the perverted statements in our hands.
I pick a card from the prompt pile and read aloud, “Why am I so wet?”
Laughter ensues, everyone puts forth their selected cards, I shuffle and make my choice, which happens to belong to the fellow female in the room: The Milkman.
As the new Czar, she reads the next prompt. I sort through my hand, avoid picking the really disturbing card, and add mine to the pile.
Surprisingly, my card is selected, and I become Czar for a second time.
The process repeats, and again, I choose my friend’s card. This causes an awkward moment. Then, she picks mine, I pick hers, and on and on back and forth for several more hands as an uncomfortable tension descends upon our revelry.
The men begin to grumble and even accuse us of picking favorites.
“It’s anonymous. We aren’t doing it on purpose,” I protest. “Perhaps it’s just that we have a similar perspective.”
It happens again, and I can’t help but comment, “Strange; we aren’t deliberately keeping you men out of the leadership position. It’s just an unintentional coincidence that we women keep passing power back and forth to each other and keeping you out of the loop.”
This is extremely eye opening for me. Perhaps the patriarchy hasn’t intentionally suppressed women and kept them out of leadership roles. Maybe it’s just that people of power tend to empower those most like them. And since men have held most positions of power, they continue to empower men over women.
“How long do you think it will continue?” my husband asks.
“I don’t know,” I reply. Maybe for thousands of years.”
“Well, it doesn’t seem fair,” says my husband.
“And it’s not that fun,” adds the other man in the room. Both visible disgruntled.
The irony of the moment hangs heavy in the air.
And, they are right. It doesn’t feel good to exclude them. The game feels off balance. The night started with smiles and raucous fun all around. Now, it has turned heavy.
So, to make things more fair and fun for all, we women suggest to change the game. “Why don’t we take turns being the Czar by going around in a circle? That way, everyone will get an equal opportunity to be the all powerful decider who determines which card is the best.”
The men immediately light up with gratitude, and everyone begins having a much better time.
The battle of the sexes avoided with simplicity and grace. Gender equality is not actually that hard to achieve. And, harmony feels pretty damn good all around. Who would have thought?
But, I wonder; if the situation were reversed, would the guys do the same to help us women feel more included? Would they even notice?
I like to think so. I like to think that this evening was one of many perspective shifting experiences happening all over the world. I like to think they will be more aware of the imbalance of male and female power from now on.
Although, maybe next time we play, the men will try to hold their poop in until later in the day to ensure the first Czarship goes to a man.
We shall see.
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“I write to open up space for my heart and head to tumble, stumble, bounce, and roll. I write to explore the magic of our world and the power of words. I write to expose the tragic truth of life as well as the authentic abundance and joy. The stories are meant to inspire all of us facing the challenge of knowing and honoring our authentic self in a world of commands and demands.” – Jessica Sabatini