Hey, thanks so much for inviting me to your party! I know everyone’s having fun drinking and dancing and socializing, but—and hear me out—what if we cut the music, brought the energy, like, way down, and played a game instead?

Yeah, low-stakes mingling is fun, but getting to explain the rules of rummy to a captive audience makes me feel alive.

If card games aren’t really the move right now, we could always pull out the Ouija board and see if David’s late father has any last words for him? I promise not to spell out, “You’re no son of mine” this time.

Hey, sorry, I said to turn the music off. Not down, off.

Oh! Spin the bottle is always fun! But what if we reimagined it through abstract expressionism? I call being the bottle!

I know we’re a close-knit friend group, but should we play Twister and see if things get weird and sexually tense?

No? Okay, how about this one: the party continues as normal but now we’re all holding a spoon and there’s a palpable tension in the air. No again?

Fine, let’s just keep it simple: on the count of three, we’ll all point at the person we feel closest to in the room. No, no, you don’t understand, stewing in the uncomfortable aftermath is the fun part!

Will I force you to play a game? Of course not. Will I yell over the music (I said turn it off!) that it’s your roll as you quietly try to reintegrate yourself back into the non-game-playing side of the party until you’re ultimately forced to acknowledge me and sullenly make your way back over to the game-playing side? Yes, but only because it’s your roll! IT’S YOUR ROLL!

It’s not that I hate fun, it’s just that I can’t have fun outside of the highly structured parameters of Strip Monopoly.

What if we each call a random number on our phones except, no, I can’t call that one you guys, it would significantly impact my career.

Okay, I’m just going to rapid-fire some ideas until something sticks: trivia about the thing I know a lot about; tackle football, no pads, no football; Guess Who except we play it subjectively and I reveal a cruel, mean-spirited side of myself that I had previously kept well hidden: Does your person look like they never, ever, ever fucked in high school? Like, not in a million years?

How about two truths and a lie? Really? Everyone’s into that? Wow, okay, great! I’ll start: I use rulebound gameplay as a barrier between myself and real human connection because I’ve never truly been comfortable with who I am at my core.

Actually, are we sure Strip Monopoly’s a no-go?