“We can’t win if I don’t play any of the hands.” I write one nice thing about the Mad Scientist’s declaring ability and it goes straight to his head. Not that he doesn’t have reason to cringe when his system fails and I end up as the declarer, but I really did play a hand well … once.
The fact that women-only bridge events still exist boggles the mind. (Is it our lack of upper body strength?) There is undeniably a strange shifting that takes place. At the club level there are more women than men playing this game; but at at the national level, the men dominate the field. I could chalk this up to biological reasons, testosterone driving men to be more competitive. Or sociological reasons, women often get stuck at some key point in their career (bridge or otherwise) raising children. It’s probably both, but today a factor that I had never before considered came into play: bras.
There are a few different stances I’ve noticed that I slip into when I’m playing a hand. Lots of people have commented that declarers all have a somewhat similar “about to claim” posture: sitting forward in their chair with their cards ever so slightly tipped forward in preparation of showing their hand to the opponents. I’ve also felt myself slip into a defeated slouch that roughly translates to I’m going down 200 or 500 or 1100 and all that remains is to find out just how much blood is to be lost. Then there’s my “going in for the kill” stance, for once I know precisely what the opponents’ have in their hands, I’m about to force them to do something they aren’t going to like one bit and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. This one is an aggressive forward lean, but with my hand tipped at a sharp angle back toward me. It’s weird to me that I’ve developed these bad habits, but I just don’t have the mental energy to play and keep a “poker face” on most of the time. So today I felt myself slipping into “kill” mode, reaching out my right hand to drop the key card on the table and at the same time something gave way under my shirt followed by a very unpleasant, pointy sensation. After I had completed my mission, I scampered off to the restroom to find that my bra had failed in a most peculiar way and that I now had a bare wire digging into my chest. Had this happened at a tournament, I would have been faced with a number of bad options — the best of which would likely have been to discard the infernal contraption altogether; it really was that distracting. Could it be that our unmentionables are keeping women in the bridge community down?