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January 12th, 2007


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08:14 am - Truth or Dare
Why does anyone ever play "Truth or Dare"?

A truth I would not like to tell, and that (as generically as I can express it) I cannot imagine anyone wanting to tell, would be "Exactly why do you feel most guilty about whatever it is that you feel most guilty about?". Similarly, a highly generic dare anybody would not like to have to perform would be "Try harder than you have ever tried before to conquer the fear of whatever it is you fear most". If you are unprepared to answer that truth or perform that dare, and I'm sure it's possible to compose equally generic fates that are less pleasant still, you should never play "Truth or Dare". I would be most unwilling to do either, so have no desire to play the game for the reasonable fear that either challenge might be imposed upon me - and I am most emphatically not challenging you either to tell me that truth or perform that dare on my account.

I can understand daring sporting pursuit of superlatives - first, fastest, highest, youngest, longest, most. I applaud those who seek to innovate, or those who push back their own barriers in the course of self-improvement. Nevertheless, proving yourself to be daring simply so that you have proved yourself in some sense more worthy, by some metric of worth, than those who are not prepared to take the same challenge strikes me as a very arbitrary and unproductive sport. Climbing Everest "because it's there" is noble in a way that a probably-drunken party game that sets out to remind people of their failings, or to demonstrate just why something happens to be conventionally regarded as foolish, is not.

There aren't any anecdotes I'm hiding or leading up to here; I'm just sayin'.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(26 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:hermorrine
Date:January 12th, 2007 08:35 am (UTC)
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I've always thought that people liked to play it because they like to show off. "Look what I can do!" "Look what I'm willing to reveal!" But maybe I'm just cynical.
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From:foreverdirt
Date:January 12th, 2007 09:29 am (UTC)
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I think you're putting the focus the wrong way round. One reason to play truth or dare isn't anything to do with what you'll be asked -- it's to see what other people will say or do. Doing/revealing whatever you don't want to is the price you pay for getting to hear about other people's most embarrassing sexual exploits and seeing your fried with no sense of balance pull faces as she tries to stand on one leg for five minutes while wearing a condom on her head.

Hmm, also, I think you're treating ToD as a competitive sport, rather than as a bonding activity between friends. It's meant to be fun, and there's a lot more fun in silly dares and mildly embarrassing truths than there is in forcing people you like to confront their demons in front of several people. Also, with friends, there's the option of just saying no -- I've refused dares in the past.

So, yes, I totally agree that I'd never want to play ToD to win, but I don't think it has to be the sort of game you're making it out to be.
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From:imc
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC)
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That icon is reminiscent of Robin Wilson's sense of humour. Truly groanworthy. :-)
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From:foreverdirt
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
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Heh. Well, the joke is taken from his Introduction to Graph Theory.
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From:ringbark
Date:January 12th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
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If I remember correctly, Peter Giblin's "Curves And Singularities" has a similar tree joke. It contains "this is a tree" by a tree similar to your icon, and a closed curve in the shape of a stylised Christmas tree with "this is not a tree".
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From:foreverdirt
Date:January 13th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
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Heeeh!
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From:bateleur
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
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I see Truth or Dare as an example of a category of icebreaker games based around structured intimacy. It's for playing with a roomful of singles (or people in very casual relationships) who don't already know each other so well that most truths will be dull. It also needs to operate under the implicit rule that anyone playing can refuse something which falls outside their personal definition of fun gameplay.

You mentioned on my LJ the other day how the "set a rule" rule of Hex Hex would be good in the right company. Exactly the same observation applies here. Indeed, there is no reason why a set rule in Hex Hex couldn't incorporate a truth or a dare as a kind of forfeit for being hexed. Except that for some (most ?) playing groups this would be against the spirit of the game.

I wouldn't personally play Truth or Dare, but that's because I'm secretive and not very bold. ;-)
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From:j4
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)
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I thought 'truth or dare' was commonly played by young teens and/or drunk adults, and the reason they did so was to extract gossip-worthy 'truths' about who has done what and with whom and how many times, and to insist on silly/mildly-humiliating dares which probably involve drinking and/or snogging and/or setting fire to your farts. Expecting people to try to use it for total public character annihilation, or to make you put your life at risk with the dare, is like saying "I won't play poker with my friends because there's a reasonable risk that they will demand that I put my house up as a stake and then take me out and shoot me if I refuse".

To be honest, I think asking either of the examples you give would be generally accepted to have broken the unwritten rules of the game (in a way that the participants wouldn't necessarily be able to define, being drunk and/or children). It'd be stepping outside the boundaries, or whatever the gameplay equivalent of an error of scale is. The wrong register for the game.

And, um, this may scandalise your desire for total honesty, but I think there's also a general expectation that you may not be telling the complete truth (whether you're exaggerating to impress your peers or concealing things you really don't want them to know).

OTOH, y'know, if there are things you couldn't bear to be asked but wouldn't feel able to simply refuse to answer and/or lie about in the context of the game, then playing Truth or Dare is probably a bad idea anyway...
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From:kay_taylor
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
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Expecting people to try to use it for total public character annihilation, or to make you put your life at risk with the dare, is like saying "I won't play poker with my friends because there's a reasonable risk that they will demand that I put my house up as a stake and then take me out and shoot me if I refuse".

Exactly! That's how I feel about Truth or Dare. It's all about the perception that it's daring and there's a lot at stake, rather than the actual no-holds-barred awfulness that such a game should lead to if played to win. A bonding activity for a bunch of drunk people. Personally, I can't think of anything that I could be asked as part of a Truth that would sincerely bother me, because I'm a compulsive over-sharer anyway, and as for Dare - well, unless you have the parachute jump set up right there with the tequila, I'm fairly sure I won't get too upset... But it's more about the fun and the "ooh!" and the "you never!" and the "you won't!" than anything else.

It's also about the fanfic plot device cliche, too. Nothing, bar Spin the Bottle, is more of a gift to the deus ex machina-inclined author...
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From:kay_taylor
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
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ETA: not as much fun as I Have Never, though, which was the ultimate in uni drinking games. We'd never have found about our tutor, those fishnet stockings and pissing himself in front of a teenage nurse otherwise...
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From:bopeepsheep
Date:January 12th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)
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"Exactly why do you feel most guilty about whatever it is that you feel most guilty about?"
I'm not going to actually answer this in this comment, but it's something that I wouldn't actually object to answering in the context of ToD, because the thing I feel most guilty about isn't something that is a Deep Dark Secret, a key to my hidden inner psycho psyche, or something not suitable for mixed company. In the nature of most huge guilty feelings, it's somewhat irrational in basis, and as such all it reveals me to be is somewhat confused about what can actually be attributed to an individual and what is out of his/her hands but still feels like it should be his/her fault.

However, that would probably still be too deep for most games of ToD and thus I'd answer something flippant, as any ToD player does when things are getting uncomfortable, and no one is actually likely to call you on a mild untruth or joke. ToD is a game, not a Game, for most people, and the laugh you can get from a blatantly false 'truth' is usually worth getting.
From:scat0324
Date:January 12th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
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Like bopeepsheep, what I feel most guilty about is not a secret.

And I'm often trying harder than I have ever tried before to conquer the fear of whatever it is I fear most (heights).
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From:leiabelle
Date:January 12th, 2007 11:53 am (UTC)
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I always hated Truth or Dare, since in middle school I had friends who tended to make fun of each other later for confidences shared during the game.
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From:meggitymeg
Date:January 12th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)
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I had friends who tended to make fun of each other later for confidences shared during the game.

Didn't we all? :P
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From:leiabelle
Date:January 12th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
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Fair enough. I guess I was a "sensitive child", or at least very strongly did not want to be teased about things that were meaningful to me.
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From:meggitymeg
Date:January 12th, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
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Oh, no - I didn't mean that we all teased each other - I meant that I, too (and many of my friends) also had "friends" who tended to make fun of us later for confidences shared. Some friends!

I tended to avoid Truth or Dare in the same way that I still tend to avoid Never Have I Ever - I feel that if I want to share a secret, fine, but I'll do it on my own terms, not as part of a drinking game!
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From:sophie10
Date:January 12th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
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I'm always completeley honest.
From:quidditchmaster
Date:January 12th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Or maybe -this- is a lie?
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:January 12th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
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No, that was...
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From:applez
Date:January 12th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
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I can't argue with the results. Even if it meant running around Sommerville College's quad in my pants.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:January 12th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
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You mean without pants?
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From:applez
Date:January 12th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
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If you like. Define your terms. ;-)

At the time the others insisted I not go so far.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:January 12th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Isn't that more of a teenager game? And, it's probably more about daring Missy to kiss Bobby than it is about conquering ones greatest fear or jumping off the roof...
From:cyanei
Date:January 12th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
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When I've played it, it has basically ended up being an outlet for socially-sanctioned homoerotic experimentation. Once all the boys have kissed each other, everyone loses interest. ( ;
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From:rhysara
Date:January 17th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
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My friends and I actually play truth or dare a lot. Unfortunately we're a rather lazy bunch and typically the only reason we play this is because we're all too tired to move to the table for real gaming, as a result we play truth or truth.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 29th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
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your story sucks get a life

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