Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yahtzee as a Mirror of the Male Ego

The HLDW* and I had dinner guests this Saturday evening past. A grand time was had by all. Chef Rhino prepared breaded and baked goat cheese medallions, roasted portabella mushrooms stuffed with eggplant, spinach, tomato, artichokes, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, roasted fingerling potatoes with carmelized leeks, string beans with roasted garlic and pacific cod stuffed with crab. Dessert was a chocolate and almond tart. Food was accompanied by many, many bottles of vino.

After dinner we repaired to the veranda for digestifs, cigars and conversation. With dinner pleasantly digested we decided to play a board game so I pulled out Yahtzee - which is a classic and if you don't know what it is I pity you and you need to stop reading and go here: and then come back.

There are several unwritten rules for Yahtzee around the 'official' scoring sheets that come with the game. Each sheet can record 6 complete games (A Yahtzee match if you will). The very first thing that you do when you lay hands on a virgin scoring sheet is to write your name at the top. That way, if you don't play all 6 games in one sitting, you can use the same sheet another time - it is part of the unwritten rules and it's just good karma, especially if you are on a winning streak. Of course, if you have a losing streak, it kind of sucks to have to look at your pathetic scores. I wouldn't much know about that losing thing as I am The Rhino and that implies that I am consistently good at pretty much everything that I do.

The unwritten rules for scoring sheets are simple:
1. You cannot take a new scoring sheet until you have completely filled in scores for all 6 games. Only then can your scoring sheet be retired. Retired does not mean discarded. All retired sheets must be kept in the Yahtzee box forever. So, if you have not played in a long while that means that you are honor and duty bound to go through all of the retired and partially used scoring sheets in the box on the off-chance that you might find one that you started but didn't finish in a previous game.
2. You must never, ever use another's score sheet. To foul the purity of the Yahtzee experience by using another's partially completed score sheet is just gauche. It doesn't matter that you are out of 'official' scoring sheets and the only one that you can find that has any blank columns was last used by half-blind and fully deaf aunt Bertie back on Thanksgiving 1997. The fact that she'll never use it again because she is now rotting in some nursing home with no hope of ever rolling the Yahtzee dice in this life doesn't matter - you do not, repeat do not, ever use that scoring sheet. Consider it retired. It just isn't done. At least it isn't in genteel societies. I have heard through the Yahtzee grapevine that reusing other's scoring sheets is done as a matter of course in France, Iran and North Korea. That should tell you everything you need to know about that sordid practice and the people that partake in it. ::shudder::

So, we sat down and began. All of the players were new, and per the rules, were permitted to use a virgin scoring sheet. We took a moment to reverently write our names in the space provided and began the first round. As I sat waiting for my turn I looked at the other player's sheets and it immediately struck me that I was being presented with yet another example of the gulf between men and women with respect to how they perceive themselves. 

Each of the women playing had written their christian names in the space provided. Some had written christian and surname, some had written just christian. No embellishments. Direct. Straightforward. So, metaphorically, in the future when they looked for their partially used scorecard they are going to be looking for "themselves". Annette. Autumn (The HLDW*). It doesn't matter. For the women, going through the scoring sheets in some future game will be a simple process. I see my name, that must be my sheet.

The men, on the other hand, an entirely different approach. Every man, with no exception, had added some sort of modifier or embellishment to their name. Hell, most of them didn't even bother to use their actual name but rather some bastardized version thereof. For instance, Larry wrote a bastardized version of his surname along with the an adjective, e.g., Big Espo, in the name space of his scoring sheet. Because I'm using him as an example, you've probably already guessed that Larry is not a very physically imposing guy. He's medium build. But in his mind he is "Big Espo". He doesn't identify himself as Larry but as BIG ESPO. So, the next time we play he won't be looking it doesn't matter what he wrote in the name space as he won't be looking for generic "Larry".  If he doesn't remember what name he wrote down on his scoring sheet the next time we play it won't matter because as soon as he sees Big Espo on one of the scoring sheets he'll know that it's his. Who else could it be? It's obvious. He's Big Espo.

I think that this behavior resides in the same part of the brain that appreciation for TheThree Stooges does. Guys who read this will get it. Women can't because they just don't process "self" in the same way. In men's minds we are all just naturally 'bigger' than real life, heroes of some sort. It just wouldn't occur to a woman to write "Hawt Brenda" or "Babelicious Angela" on their score sheet - even if it was true.

I think that I was the only guy that actually wrote the truth on their score sheet: The Rhino, Emperor of Yahtzee and Master of All Who Shall Touch the Holy Dice.

And, yes, of course I won you silly bastards.

It's good to be the awesome host, amateur chef and wily Yahtzee strategist Rhino.

*Hippie Liberal Douche Wife


  1. I would make it my mission to fill in the scoring sheet for the women folk, 'Babelicious Angela' has a delightful saucy ring to it.

    Of course this would no doubt require me to have my tesicles removed from my stomach sue to the actions of the aforsaid Angela but a justifiable cost.

  2. There is a suspiscous lack of Meat on that menu?

  3. NB ... Forgive me Father for I have sinned. As a gracious host I catered to the predilections of my guests and a couple of the so-called men don't eat red meat. I have since removed their names from my social calendar.

    I made contrition by eating red meat, cooked rare, and italian sausage on Sunday. Nothing green on the plate.

  4. Yahtzee? my mom uses just her first name on the score card and she kicks everyone's ass. She's also hell on wheels with scrabble..which is painful for us young whippersnappers.

  5. When I was a teen, my friend's mother used to force us to play Yahtzee any chance she got. Don't get me wrong, I loved the game but her mother was a redneck who became a complete loose cannon if she started to lose. "You muther f*#^ers is cheatin!" would be her final cry before she cleared the table with one swoop of her arm.

    It was NOT fun. :)

    Btw, what you cooked for dinner sounds like my dream meal. Yum!


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