Is Playing Games with Another Man REALLY Flirting?

Until recently I would have answered that question, "No way, playing games against anyone, men included, is innocent fun." But now I'm not so sure. What happened? The other day, after scoring 72 points with Q-A-T-S (yes, it's a word) while playing Words With Friends, I got a chat IM asking me to text a sexy picture of myself. WHAT?

Look, I haven't been hit on in quite some time, but that's flirting, right? Horrible, letchy, uninvited flirting. Couldn't he have gone with "Nice word"? Seriously, I have a rule that word games should never make you feel like you need a shower.

Here's the thing: many of us enjoy playing games on our smartphones and tablets. Okay, many of us are addicted to these games. We're playing them with more than a handful of friends, as well as random Facebook connections we couldn't pick out of a lineup. So, where's the harm? They're just games, right?

Or are they?

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One time, after beating an old high school acquaintance at Scramble With Friends, I got this message, "Hey, how come we never dated?" Um, I don't know, because you're four inches shorter than I am? (Sheesh, why do men always assume it's their choice?)

Now I don't want to sound too self-righteous. If a hottie from college had written something similar, I may have gotten butterflies. Oh, stop judging! I don't care how old you are, or how bald and fat said hottie has become, it still makes you giddy when he suggests you should have dated. Even if it's 20 years too late.

So I'll admit, there have been a few blips on the radar that suggest playing games with the opposite sex encourages innuendo. Recently, I was challenged to WWF by what I call a "power player." We played -- I won, he won, I won ... you get the picture. We never messaged other than to say "Good one" or "I have no vowels."

We were still playing at 11 p.m. on Saturday night, when suddenly I got this message: "Text me a pic, I want to see how you look tonight, sexy." I stared at my screen in shock. I'm surprised my laptop lid didn't slide under my chin and close my slack jaw.

Apparently when he said he "had no vowels," he meant he "took no vows very seriously." I was in an awkward position, and I don't mean the kind where you decide whether you have enough points on a double-double to leave a triple open.

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The next morning, I told my husband and he was mad -- but not at my inappropriate acquaintance. At me.

"Why are you pissed at me?" I said. "I haven't done anything other than reinforce the intelligence associated with our family name!"

"Are you that naive? You think he challenged you because tales of your Words With Friends acumen have traveled across the land?" my husband said mockingly.

"First, will you stop talking in Old English? Second, everyone plays games with random acquaintances!" (Don't they?)

But I had to admit, it did appear that this guy and I weren't exactly playing the same game. Should I have known that, as my hubby suggested? I don't know, I may have been married for a decade or so, but looking back, I don't recall phrases like "Can you use that word in a sentence?" implying anything sexual.

Is playing games on your phone opening a door to flirting? Do you play games with random people? Was this all my fault?

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Written by Jenny Isenman on CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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