21 of our Favorite Holiday Gag Gifts — All from Amazon

I love this crap!

Happy Holiday, Everyone!

 

A warning to those who leave their children unattended in cafes

unattendedchildren

Amazon

“Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten” sign, $12.99

Perfect for that friend who owns a cafe and just can’t figure out how to deal with the unbridled children of their caffeine-fiend clientele.

 

A (loudly) screaming goat figurine and booklet

screaminggoat

Amazon

“The Screaming Goat” book and figure, $7.55

If they still can’t get enough of that Screaming Goat video on YouTube, this is as blood-curdling — and annoying — as you might imagine. Trust me, I have one on my desk. My colleagues love me.

Blinker fluid, for the uninclined

blinker fluid

Amazon

Blinker Fluid, $6.95

We can all think of someone who this is for. Maybe they’ll get the message now.

The world’s smallest violin

violin

Amazon

3-Inch Miniature Violin Replica (with case), $11.98

Sorry, no pony this year, either, kiddo. Play it, momma.

A mock video game to drop the hint that it’s time they pull their weight around the house

extremechores

Amazon

Extreme Chores: Motion Controlled Video Game (empty box), $7.49

For little Lord Fauntleroy. Yeah, maybe coal didn’t quite get the message across, but this ought to do the trick. Note that this box comes empty, so you can also fill it with coal, if you so please.

Your face on a pair of socks

facesocks

Amazon

Custom Photo Face Socks, $15.59

Put the mug of their best friend (or worst enemy) on a pair of socks. Either way, they’ll wear them. Trust us.

For those who ask too many questions

'what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions'

Amazon

“What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,” $11.49

Great coffee table (or commode) material for the coveter of useless information.

Help them slow that little tyke down

toddler tamer gag

Amazon

Toddler Tamers (gag kit), $7.99

Parents, rejoice!

An ice cream lock, so they’ll stop blaming you for being the culprit

icecreamlock

Amazon

Ben & Jerry’s Euphori-Lock Ice Cream Lock, $24.19

For the stingy one who’ll never share their ice cream.

Poems by cats about what cats do best

icouldpeeonthis

Amazon

“I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats,” $9.89

For your friend, family member, or housemate who’s just a little too in love with their feline and could stand a reality check.

A muffler whistle, to terrorize both them and the neighborhood

mufflerwhistle

Amazon

Muffler Whistles, $8.79

To the know-it-all mechanic(s) in your life: Fix this!

Your face (or theirs) on a real potato

potatoface

Amazon

Potato Pal, $17.99

Your face on a potato. How could they not savor this forever and ever?

One dozen rattlesnake eggs (keep warm for best results)

rattlesnakeeggs

Amazon

(Fake) Rattlesnake Eggs, $7.99

Best delivered incubator-warm.

A bag of “the world’s strongest coffee”

deathwishcoffee

Amazon

Death Wish Coffee Co. Coffee, $19.99

We only hope they’ll get this is a gag.

An impossible-to-solve puzzle

ravensburgerpuzzle

Amazon

Ravensburger Puzzle, $15.68

Something to finally stump that very special whiz kid you know.

A remote-controlled scorpion (be sure to pre-open and gift-wrap this one)

rcscorpion

Amazon

Remote-Controlled Scorpion, $15.99

Have the remote handy for when they open this one; it’ll work a lot better.

A game for the whole family

relativeinsanity

Amazon

Relative Insanity Party Game, $14.16

Think “Cards Against Humanity,” but for some wholesome fun for the whole family.

A personal cleansing wheel (in lieu of the bidet they keep asking for)

rotowipe

Amazon

Roto Wipe Personal Cleansing Wheel, $7.99

So they’ll finally stop pestering you for that exorbitant bidet thing they all love so much over in Europe. (Note: This is just an empty box in which to wrap your real gift.)

Instructions for gracefully approaching (and achieving) senescence

crotchety

Amazon

“How Not to Become a Crotchety Old Man,” $6.39

Dear Dad (or Grandpa)…

Snot (and tear) mittens, for those who work outdoors, or just won’t stop wiping their nose on their sleeve

snittens

Amazon

Snittens, The Original Snot Mittens, $19.99

One side for snot, the other for tears. Maybe after receiving this, they’ll stop wiping their nose on their sleeve, or their bare hands. Probably not. Either way, they actually work!

A practice putting green for the bathroom

toiletgolf

Amazon

Toilet Golf, $9.95

If their Golf Digest subscription just isn’t cutting it on long trips to the john anymore, they can always stand to work on their short game.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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10 Virtual Escape Rooms For 2 People That’ll Kick Your Boredom To The Curb

Imagine this: It’s a rainy day and you’re texting your bestie. In between various emojis and pics of your island on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’re saying how you need some new ideas of things to do at home. Why don’t you team up for a rad adventure and check out these virtual escape rooms for two people? They’ll kick boredom to the curb and challenge you from the comfort of your bed.

It may sound too good to be true, but you really can enjoy these escape rooms in a pair of sweatpants and with a cup of coffee by your side. You don’t have to travel to a city where these excursions are on every block, or even necessarily make a reservation with a company in order to have this unique experience. Instead, you just need a laptop or tablet and the determined attitude that’s needed to solve epic puzzles and reveal wild mysteries. Of course, you also need a pal who’s willing to spend an hour online with you, tag-teaming a storyline that’s based off of Harry Potter or a gang of superheroes very similar to the Avengers.

Finding a bestie who’s down for a spontaneous at-home adventure likely won’t be hard, though. After all, everyone in your group is saying they’re ready for a new challenge or for some fun. Check out these 10 virtual escape rooms for two people.

1. Unlock Disney World Virtual Escape Room

A young woman sits on the floor of her loft with a cup of coffee and her laptop.
MilosBataveljic/E+/Getty Images

First up, if you and your bestie are diehard fans of Disney, then you’ll want to play the Unlock Disney World escape room. This virtual experience is entirely up to you to navigate, and is easy to access, thanks to Google Slides. Just text your BFF the link to the slides, call them up, and then conquer this storyline together by clicking on the same pieces of the puzzle. You’ll start at the Haunted Mansion and work your way to it’s a small world.

2. “Save King’s Landing” Escape Room

Have you ever dreamed of saving King’s Landing from Game of Thrones? This escape room gives you the chance to do it, with a series of online puzzles and the help of Tyrion Lannister. If you solve the puzzles with your bestie, then you two will rescue the city. Be sure to book your time slot in order to play. (Right now, this escape room costs 60 euros for two players on two different devices.)

3. “Defeat Thanos And Save The World” Escape Room

The “Defeat Thanos and Save the World” escape room is really a race against the clock. You and your bestie are given the task to stop Thanos, the strongest villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from destroying your beloved city. Experience what it would be like to fight alongside your favorite Avengers, and celebrate your victory with a Captain Marvel watch party and some popcorn.

4. “Oscar’s Stolen Oscar” Escape Room

The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland joined in on the virtual escape room fun with “Oscar’s Stolen Oscar” Escape Room. According to SimpleMost.com, this experience allows you to help Oscar, the fish from Shark Tale, in a quest. To solve the mysteries, you must navigate the virtual tour of the aquarium that’s located on their website, and use all the information buttons to crack puzzles and find clues.

5. Esscape Room’s “The Real Kitchen Nightmare: Silent Partner Edition”

A young woman with blue-green hair plays an escape room on her laptop and eats a slice of pizza.
Nevena Ristic/E+/Getty Images

On any given day, you and your BFF may typically order pizza and watch a movie. Your next hangout will be a little different and might include Esscape Room’s “The Real Kitchen Nightmare: Silent Partner Edition.” It’s a live, online experience that you have to book in advance, but is well worth it because of the nail-biting storyline. The word on the street is that you’re looking to hire some new employees for a world-renowned restaurant in the city with a chef who’s troublesome. Grab a slice and get ready for a true adventure.

6. ‘Shrek’ Escape Room

If you’ve ever watched the Shrek movies and jammed out to “All Star” by Smash Mouth with your bestie, this super sweet Shrek escape room is for you. It starts with you waking up in a dimly lit room to the bold smell of earwax (Was there an ogre here?), and having to read a scroll. The rest is for you to find out and enjoy while on FaceTime with your BFF, eating waffles that are approved by Donkey, and playing the films in the background.

7. “Welcome To The Snow Ball” Escape Room

Stranger Things fans, unite! This virtual escape room, titled “Welcome to The Snow Ball,” will only take you 30 minutes to complete, but will be loads of fun. You’ll start trapped in the gym with your crew, frantically looking for an escape. But, if you translate the Russian memo sent to your phone then you may be able to find your way out with ease. Jot down answers and team up with your BFF to make it happen, OK?

8. ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Escape Room

Are you watching every episode of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix? Check. Trying out this Schitt’s Creek-inspired virtual escape room? Well, that’s next on your at-home bucket list. To be honest, you didn’t know such a beautiful excursion existed, but now you’re excited to tackle all three levels of gameplay — named after the characters, of course.

9. Escape Room L.A.’s “Escape From Planet X”

Charday Penn/E+/Getty Images

A vacation in space sounds pretty cool, right? You would likely lounge with the aliens and teach them about the constellations in the sky. During Escape Room L.A.’s “Escape From Planet X” experience, you may change your mind, as it becomes your mission to get your spaceship up and running before aliens attack you. The experience lasts an hour and can be played with your bestie by booking a slot with a live host for $15 per person.

10. Ultra Mega Super Death Escape Room

Give the Ultra Mega Super Death Escape Room a try when you’re kicking your boredom to the curb with your bestie. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and has a storyline you’ll likely find #relatable. You and your bestie are in quarantine — as you may be now — and you have to unlock a secret stash of Nintendo Switches. If you get to the stash, your character will be able to ditch TV episodes they’ve seen already and go play Animal Crossing: New Horizons instead.

 

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How To Have A Zoom Game Night

Now that the majority of the country is practicing social distancing, the way we entertain ourselves has drastically changed. Musicians are streaming concerts on YouTube, comedians are going live on Instagram, and people all over the world are using Zoom well after their work calls are over in order to spend time with loved ones. But if your video chat hangs are starting to feel a bit repetitive (read: You’re drinking way more wine than usual), a game night on Zoom may provide a much-needed reprieve.

“Using video conferencing technology to have fun, to engage with other people, and to connect socially, reminds us that we are not alone and that we have people there to support us,” Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells phicklephilly.

Hopping on video chat can be a great way to feel less isolated. Folks everywhere are propping up their phones while they cook together, watch movies, or simply have conversations. But the fun of a game night, in particular, can make these quiet evenings seem a little less strange and a lot more nostalgic. Battling it out with friends might even ease coronavirus-related anxiety, at least for a little while, as you focus your mind elsewhere.

Here, a few ideas for ways to have a Zoom game night, so you can stay connected from afar.

1. Trivia Night

You may not be crammed into your favorite bar booth with five of your closest friends, but you can still recreate trivia night by playing together on Zoom. Start by assigning a host (like yourself) and coming up with questions. Aim for five or so categories, with about eight questions each.

From there, figure out how you’ll communicate. Each team will need a private space to whisper answers, like a breakout room, but you can all meet back in the main “bar” area on Zoom. Give everyone 30 seconds to deliberate, and then have them submit answers via DM.

Of course, as with any trivia night, you’ll want and need rules. Remind players to stay off Google, to put their phones down, and to only get answers from teammates — not their roommate, who is a fount of 90s music knowledge. And just like that, you’ll have recreated trivia night from the safety of your homes.

2. Punderdome

A rousing game of Punderdome can easily be played via Zoom. To begin, gather at least three people, ensure that someone (again, probably you) has the deck of cards, and spend an evening making awful jokes.

To play, the “prompter” draws two cards from the deck and then reads them out to the rest of the group. Everyone has 90 seconds to create the worst pun they can come up with that combines the two prompts.

The prompter then chooses the pun they like best. The first person who gets 10 pairs of cards wins!

3. What Do You Meme

The “adult party game for meme lovers” is another one you can play from afar. If you’d like to show your cards, simply angle your camera so everyone can see what’s on the table. Get creative with this, and it’ll feel much more interactive.

What Do You Meme is all about matching up photo cards with caption cards to create your own meme. Similar to Cards Against Humanity (we’ve all played that, right?), the winning puns will come down to personal preference and can lead to heated debates over what’s funny and what isn’t.

Since you can only play with up to six people, it’s a great game to try on video chat without feeling too overwhelmed. Drinks, snacks, and other social distancing comfort optional.

4. Truth Or Dare

This classic game is a fun one to try from the privacy of your own home and can be played with as many people as you like. Ask your friends “truth” questions to learn more about each other, or go for a “dare” if your goal is to crack each other up. The possibilities are endless, as long as they all involve staying inside.

5. Charades

In case you need a reminder, charades is that game where you act out a word or phrase without speaking, and your teammates have to guess what it is. To do it over Zoom, simply move your camera when it’s your turn, so everyone can see what you’re doing.

You’ll need two teams, a list of suggestions, and a timer. Each person will get a chance to act out their word, while their team tries to figure it out. You might get something like “gardening,” at which point you’ll get down on your hands and knees, dig in the dirt, plant flowers, etc. Use your imagination.

You can’t, of course, mouth the answer, make noise, or use items in your room as clues. That’s some hardcore charades cheating, right there. But you can think back to your high school theater arts class, and put your old miming skills to work.

6. Dungeons & Dragons

The cool thing about D&D is it’s an imagination-based game, making it something you can easily play on Zoom until you can meet up with your friends in real life.

The majority of the work will fall on the game master (probably you) since it’ll be important to consider ways to keep everyone involved. But it can be done! Just pretend you’re all sitting around the same table, as per usual, and continue your story.

If a player needs dice to roll, they can do so online with a quick Google search. There are also fancy virtual tabletops you can try out. But you may want to keep things simple, especially if you aren’t too experienced with the game or have never tried it before, and stick to fun, light-hearted role-playing.

7. Mind Meld

Have all your friends sign on to Zoom, then take turns going in a circle while trying to “meld minds,” aka say the exact same word at the exact same time.

Two players will start by counting down from three and then saying any word that comes to mind. One player then turns to the person “next to them,” and they count down from three, then say a word that the two previous words made them think of. And so on.

It’s basically a game of word association, and if you play it right — where no one’s trying to be funny or saying random things just for a laugh — you will eventually hone in on the same word, and it’ll feel like magic.

8. Never Have I Ever

This is a classic drinking game that can be played with or without alcohol over video chat.

Have everyone hold up their hand as players take turns sharing something they’ve never done before. If someone in the circle has done it, they put a finger down (or take a drink). Go for spicy questions to keep things interesting, and to make it less likely that everyone’s done it.

Ideas: Never have I ever fainted. Never have I ever bungee jumped. Never have I ever had a paranormal experience. Never have I ever had a one-night stand.

The person with the most fingers remaining up at the end wins!

9. Quiplash

The rules of Quiplash are super easy, as there are no rules or correct answers. All you do is answer prompts within the game, then everyone votes on the wittiest answers.

According to the game’s creators, you can play with up to eight of your friends, as well as up to 10,000 participants in the in app “Audience.” Playing on a stream? Your viewers can join in and participate in the game, too.

10. 21 Questions

Woman using a laptop in the night sitting on a couch in the living room at home
Shutterstock

Get to know your friends even better by playing a game of 21 Questions. To get things started, have everyone come up with a list of 21 Qs, then roll a die, and have the person with the lower number answer first.

The person who is asking should start with easy questions, like, “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” Then move onto ones that are more risqué, if your friends are OK with that.

You can ask “what if?” questions, pose interesting scenarios, ask about dreams and fears — or whatever else sounds fun.

11. Two Truths & A Lie

Two Trusts & A Lie is another party game that focuses on telling, well, two truths and a lie. Each player will have a chance to share two facts about themselves plus something that’s entirely made up, and the goal is to correctly guess which one is the lie.

To throw everyone off, choose two truths about yourself that people might not know, or two things that seem a bit outlandish or out of character for you. Mix those in at random with a lie, which can be equally outlandish, and chances are everyone will have a hard time figuring it out!

12. Read My Lips

To play Read My Lips, have the person who is “it” turn off their microphone. They will then say a series of words in a given amount of time while everyone else reads their lips and writes down what they think they’re saying. The person with the most correct guesses is the obvious winner.

13. Pass It Along

This game is all about creating a story together, one sentence at a time. Start the story, then pass it off to another friend who will add the next sentence, then someone else will add the third sentence, and keep going until it feels like the tale has reached a natural conclusion.

You can be as serious or as silly as you want, but think about the plot, remember to add in characters and details, so the story is interesting. Try to recall what was said before you and work together to create a narrative with rising action.

For an added element, record the story and listen back afterward to hear back how utterly ridiculous it was.

14. Scavenger Hunt

If you’re hosting this event, create a list of things people may (or may not) have around their apartment. Add everyday items to the list, like a coffee mug or a box of pasta, as well as a few unique items, like an antique watch or a Slinky. Set a timer, share the list, and see who can come rushing back to Zoom with the most items on the list.

15. Drawing Challenge

Pick a category, form teams of two, and have one person from each team do a Google image search of abstract shapes or pieces of art that fall within the category.

Go into Zoom breakout rooms so you won’t be talking over each other, and then be as specific as possible as you describe the image to your partner, so they have a better shot at drawing it on a piece of paper, with paint — whatever medium you’ll all be using.

Give everyone five minutes to draw, then come back into the main chat and vote on the winner.

16. Last Letter

If you’d like to keep your brain sharp during this time of social distancing, play Last Letter with your friends. All you need to do is choose a category — ’90s movies, flowers, states, colors, etc. — and say a word within that category. The next person will say a word that starts with the last letter of your word, and on and on you’ll go until someone comes up blank. That person will then sit out the next round. Keep playing until only one player is left standing.

17. Would You Rather?

Ask each other “would you rather” type questions, such as “Would you rather have really long arms or really long legs?” or “Would you rather have super strength or super speed?” Be creative and have fun!

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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Woman asks if she’s an asshole for choosing video games over her ex. The internet is divided

Long-term relationships always require compromise in order to thrive. Regardless of how peaceful the waters are, or how much you have in common when it comes to world outlook, there will always be small sacrifices required to make a relationship work.

One of the hardest parts of compromising in a relationship is figuring out the lines between giving up parts of yourself, and making changes for your partner. For example, demanding someone gives up a hobby is a different request than asking they cut down some of their hobby time so you can hang out.

In a recent Reddit post on the subreddit Am I The Asshole, commenter yhrowawayvideoganems asked the internet if she mishandled a situation with her now ex-girlfriend.

“AITA for breaking up with my girlfriend over my video games.

So I have a decent video collection, I will not post pictures as I do not want this post linked to my actual account.”

The OP (original poster) has collected and played video games for years, and it’s a solid part of her relaxation time. After two years together, her (ex) girlfriend and her decided to take the leap to move in together. However, OP’s ex-girlfriend had one fairly large request before moving in: that OP get rid of her entire video game collection.

“My girlfriend of 2 years 25f and me 24f decided we wanted to move in together, she kinda mentioned getting rid of my collection but I thought she was joking so I brushed it off. Turns out she wanted me to get rid of my whole video game collection, some of my games are worth some money and I’ve been keeping them so they can become more expensive. My collection is also 3 years of me thrift shopping and I do not want to throw that away, I tried to explain it but she refused and told me that I did not love her enough to make this sacrifice.”

When OP explained that she really values the games, and at this point getting rid of them would be a huge and unwanted sacrifice, her ex gave an ultimatum: the relationship or the games.

“About 2/3 days ago she called me and said it’s me or the fucking video games. I chose the games and she hung up on me. Everyone that I’ve spoken to (excluding a few people) have been telling me I fucked up, and that I should of picked her over some games. AITA?”

In the end, OP chose the games over her ex, and now people in her life are claiming she made a mistake. So, as many of us in the modern age do, OP turned to the internet to get a consensus on whether picking the games made her an asshole or not.

AnimalLover38 doesn’t think it’s a jerk move, since relationships shouldn’t be made or broken based on ultimatums.

“NTA, ultimatums almost never work anyways and are sometimes used as an easy way out of a relationship.”

“Unless OP was jobless and spent every waking moment playing games rather then being an adult with a job then there’s no reason for her gf to make such a big deal out of it. Maybe OP’s girlfriend wanted out of the relationship but didn’t know how to do it so she just chose the one thing she knew OP would never part with and made a big deal out of it.”

dandelionii echoed the fact that ultimatums are manipulative, and it was perfectly fine for OP to pick her hobby.

“NTA, ultimatums are stupid and unfair and if she’s willing to make this big of a deal over a videogame collection (which you presumably purchased with your own money) it doesn’t bode well for the future.”

merinis pointed out the fact that a healthy relationship would involve someone who shares an interest in video games, or at least understands and doesn’t mock it.

“Exactly. OP would be better off finding someone that isn’t trying to be so controlling, and maybe even someone that shares his her interests.”

Hunterstewartmurdock defended ultimatums as a right in any relationship, and pointed out that people are allowed to have dealbreakers and lay them out for their partner. That being said, they don’t think OP is a jerk for wanting to keep their collection.

“I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with an ultimatum, some things are dealbreakers for people and that’s alright. If I dated someone with bad hygiene and they refused to shower every day, I would demand better hygiene from them. If not I would leave. It doesn’t make me an asshole and it doesn’t make them an asshole, it just means maybe our priorities don’t line up and we aren’t right for each other. They can do find someone else who is ok with their flaws and I can find someone who is ok with my flaws.”

“That being said, demanding that she get rid of her collection is petty and demeaning. NTA in this case for sure, but very close to NAH in my opinion.”

Rich000123 defended the ex-girlfriend by pointing out how vague the original post is, and that it sounds like there are important details left out. It’s never made clear how large the collection is, or whether OP has a videogame addiction, or whether this has been an ongoing conversation, all of which would paint the larger picture.

“The vague response from the OP makes me certain that there is more to it. OP is also not even offering any potential reasons for why the gf is making the ultimatum. I can’t accept that they have been together for 2 years and she has no idea where the ultimatum is coming from. The intentionally vagueness, along with the friends saying she is TA makes me lean towards believing that the OP is intentionally leaving INFO is therefore the TA.”

“As a side note – I see a lot of projecting in the comments for why people are claiming the ultimatum happened. I can agree in some ways that a ultimatum alone is a reason to end the relationship but there is a lot of excess explanation that people have determined (e.g. the gf doesn’t like gaming, the gf wants all the attention on her) which the OP has never claimed. Let’s everyone try and stick with the fact that we know.”

not_really_an_elf brought up the fact that OP’s IRL friends think they’re an asshole, which indicates there is more to the story than is being told. The fact that they refused to post a picture of the collection doesn’t make them look good.

“Mate, I bet the reason people you know irl are telling you you’re an arsehole is because they’ve seen your collection. Post pictures or describe exactly how much space they take up.”

PolitenessPolice echoed the call for more info, because the omissions seem purposeful.

“INFO

I refuse to believe that’s all there is to this, people don’t just act like this unless there’s something wrong. Like, how they’re stacked, is it a hoarding problem, how much money do you spend on games, how much time do you spend playing them, etc.”

“Like, nobody acts that irrationally for no reason and especially not over bloody games. There’s got to be more. Did she give a reason? Has she ever shown any disdain for your collection previously over the years?”

DirtyPotatoPeople suspects this may be a hoarder situation, in which case the OP is the asshole in denial.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable – depending on how big this “collection” is – to not want a big portion of your space devoted to games no one is playing. I wouldn’t have thrown out an ultimatum like that but the gf is perfectly justified in pushing for them to be put in storage or something.”

“OP is also being suspiciously vague about the whole situation, including the extent of her collection, which makes me think she’s either being dishonest or simply in denial about her hoarding habits.”

“Just sounds like a validation post to me and all the immediate jumping on board with OP because of reddit’s hate of anti-video-game anything makes me sad because I honestly don’t think what she’s collecting is the issue here.”

 

The real question left at hand is what do YOU dear reader, think of this situation?!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Penelope – I Should Have Known Better

The Encounter

I met Penelope in a group setting. It was at the apartment of one of my friends and we gathered together for our weekly game night. I was friends with both hosts, who were roommates at the time. She joined that night through Roommate A, which seemed normal enough since game night is open to all who want to participate. Game night ended with no incident. I think we took a group photo. She chose to sit in front of me and lean back against my legs, scooting around until she was in position. I thought nothing of it. I should have known better.

 

The Facebook Interaction

Back then, I had a tendency to add people on Facebook after meeting them in person for the first time. Over time, I would unfriend many of the ones who I never met again. Seems like extra work for no reason now, but felt practical at the time. My mistake. I added her and she messaged me almost immediately. As a single guy, I kept several women friends around at arms’ length to help satiate my own need for validation. You could almost consider it to be a male version of the girls who say they have so many guy friends. As you’re cringing after reading that, I’m shuddering right now after typing it. After a few messages with Penelope, we got to exchanging phone numbers. The twist is that she asked me for mine first. I thought it was refreshing because I usually ask first. I should have known better.

The Super Bowl

Like many people in the US, I watch the Super Bowl every year. That year was no exception. It was Super Bowl XLVI with Patriots vs. the Giants. Everyone outside of the New England area hates the Patriots. Guess which team I rooted for. Since I didn’t want to watch it alone at home, I joined a party at someone’s house. Lo and behold, Penelope is there. How? Why? She knows enough mutual people at the party itself, so maybe it works through that logic. I thought nothing of it and watched the game, as well as engaged in the party games during halftime. Penelope sat next to me through most of the night. Some people took notice and ribbed me a little, but whatever. This is all normal behavior, right? I should have known better.

 

The Movie

Chronicle (great movie by the way) had come out a few weeks before and I wanted to see it. I texted about 10 or so people to ask if they wanted to go. It might have been a group text. Like clockwork, one after another had something else or just didn’t want to see the film. Since I didn’t want to watch it alone (is this a pattern?), I did the unthinkable. I texted Penelope to ask if she wanted to see it. Her enthusiastic quick response actually made me feel better, because I thought she was into science fiction and everyone else said no up until then. We met at the local theater. A few minutes before the movie started, I looked up something in my phone. I don’t remember what exactly, but I do remember her leaning in very close and looking at the info too. At that point, I knew she was giving me flirty cues and I was just lonely enough to get an ego boost from all her attention. I should have known better.

 

The Coffee

After the movie ended, we went our separate ways. I felt kind of bad because it seemed like I used her just to be a presence so I didn’t have to watch a movie by myself. Maybe that’s exactly what it was. Maybe it would have been better if I left it at that. But my brain told me to justify her kind gesture with some coffee. I texted her again asking if she wanted to get coffee from the nearby Starbucks. Her immediate response again gave me that false ego boost. We met up and talked over coffee. She laughed a lot. I think I’m pretty good at keeping up conversation and causing a few chuckles, but she was really into it. She was too into it. We may have talked for 30 minutes to an hour, until we finally left. I think she said something about doing this again some time. I agreed. I should have known better.

 

The Words with Friends Confession

Since the Facebook friend request, Penelope and I had been playing each other on Words with Friends. I had a pretty good record, but she schooled me. This is what actually prompted me to want to get to know her more, because not many people I knew in real life could take me down as badly she did. During one of our regular matches, she used the messaging service to talk and flirt. At some point, she told me she was drunk. I think she was out with friends. Then, it happened. She said something like “I’m messaging the guy I like and want to date through a word games app. OMG I’m so embarrassed.” That was direct enough for me to understand that she confessed in her drunken stupor. I hadn’t received many confessions in the past, so this should have been flattering. But it wasn’t. It just felt off. We hadn’t spent enough time together to constitute a desire to date. I don’t remember my responses back to her, but they were definitely not reciprocal. I think I told her we should talk about it more after she becomes sober. She said okay and the conversation ended there, or so I thought. I should have known better.

 

The Crazy

Later that same night, I received apologetic text messages from Penelope. The contents were along the lines of her being sobered up now and blurted out something she didn’t mean. I was relieved because I actually believed her. I replied back thanking her for clarifying and to have a good night. But then, she asked “what if she did mean it?” Since any budding interest had fizzled away at that point, I told her that whether she did or not, I will need more time before making any hasty decisions. We had not spent enough time together yet and I didn’t want to rush into anything like I have in the past. She seemed unsatisfied. We said our goodbyes at around 10 pm. I thought that would be it until our next in person encounter. Nope. She called me at 11 pm. The call consisted of her repeated question and wanting to get a full answer on why I didn’t want to date. My fight-or-flight senses started flaring up. I tried my best to explain that I rushed into relationships in the past and learned from it, so I would appreciate if she could let a friendship start out first to see where that goes. However, I was done even being an acquaintance with her by then. She persisted but eventually hung up. I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning to find 2 voicemails. One was at 3 am. Another was at 5 am. I also had several text messages from Penelope. I don’t remember much of what she said in the voicemails, but they involved how she felt stupid for letting herself get vulnerable. I couldn’t tell if she was blaming herself or blaming me for rejecting her. There was a lot of scream-crying. The text messages tried to convince me to not listen to the voicemails, then to reassure me that whatever I heard was not who she really is. I deleted everything and moved on with my day. I should have known better.

 

The Follow-Up

Penelope was still friends with some people I knew, so she continued to be a presence for a bit. She sent a message to me that looked like it was meant for another guy, saying something like she can’t make it on a date with him that day. I knew enough to recognize this cheap tactic of trying to instill jealousy. It didn’t work. I unfriended her that day. She kept showing up to larger mutual friend group settings, like barbecues and events. She eventually started dating one of the guys, who was becoming a friend of mine. He fell off the deep end with her. I think she fed him some set of lies that got him riled up. He randomly called me to ask a slew of questions about what my relationship with Penelope was. I told him as concisely as I could that I had no relationship and the most we did was watch one movie together. I kept away from any connection to her until she gradually went away, with the poor guy. I saw at some point that they got married. Years later, turns out they divorced. I should have known better.

 

The Questions

Well, that was my convoluted brain dump of a story. If anyone is interested in more info, feel free to ask questions. I hope this helps anyone else out there in a similar situation. If you sense something is just off, listen to those gut instincts.

I should have known better.

 

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