“In fact, I’ve never seen her this excited for me to go play D&D.”

In my keynote to PAX East last year, I said that gaming is the foundation of, and the mortar that holds together, the strongest and longest lasting friendships in my life. I've been playing with the same guys since high school, and even though we all live in different states (and some of us live in different countries), a few times a year we all gather at someone's house (usually our friend Cal's house) for a day of gaming, eating, drinking, and more drinking.

Over the years, girlfriends and boyfriends have come and gone, members have been added to our group, and our family has grown. We've introduced our gamer-adjacent partners to the hobby that we love so much, using infection vectors like Wits & WagersPandemicFrank's Zoo, and Shadows Over Camelot. We've had children (Yay! Future gamers!), divorces (Boo! Now it's awkward!), and a D&D campaign that lasted for a decade. Without gaming, we'd still see each other, but I know we wouldn't see each other nearly as often as we do.

About a month ago, we got together for our annual holiday gathering. Cal told me that he wanted to run a D&D one-shot, and that he wanted me to set the date, so I wouldn't be able to back out for some series of reasons that were defined as "bullshit."

I pulled out my phone, and looked at my calendar. "How about January 29?"

Cal called our friend Steve over to the kitchen. Steve lives in Northern California, and getting down to Cal's for game day is about as complicated as flying to LAX from SFO.

"Wil says he can play on the 29th. Can you come down?"

Steve didn't hesitate. "I can do that." He looked at me, pointedly. "…but can you?"

"I just said I could. That's why Cal called you over."

They looked at each other. We've been planning a one-shot for a few years, and it always falls apart because of me, and some series of reasons that are always defined a "bullshit." They looked back at me. Nothing needed to be said.

"I promise that I will play on the 29th," I said. I typed it into my calendar. "See? I'm typing it into my calendar right now. That makes it official."

Cal set his wine glass on the counter, and pointed at me. "Okay, we'll play on the 29th, but if you don't show up, I am coming to your house, and I will punch you in the dick."

Steve said, "I will also fly down from San Francisco and I will also punch you in the dick."

I said, "Well, I don't want to get punched in the dick, and I really want to play D&D with my friends, so I don't think it will be a problem."

We made celebratory noises, and opened another bottle of wine to mark the occasion.

While I was in Portland last week, Anne called me. "Are you still playing D&D with Cal and everyone on Saturday?"

"I don't want to get punched in the dick," I said.

"… um."

"Yes. Yes, I'm playing D&D on Saturday. Why?"

"All the wives are getting together for an anti-D&D-girly-spa day while you guys play, and then everyone is getting together for dinner after. I wanted to make sure you were playing before I told them I'd go."

"Woah! That's awesome," I said. Then, I had a million dollar idea. "Someone should open up some kind of non-gamer spa or something right next to a game shop, so nerds can drop their Muggle partners off while they play."

"Muggle?"

"Yeah, if you don't know what a Muggle is, you're a Muggle. That's just science, Anne."

In the silence that followed, I could feel The Look coming through the phone at me.

"Anyway. Yes, I'm playing, and yes, you should go, because that will be awesome for both of us." 

"Mmmmkay," she said.

Our undying love was declared, and we hung up the phone.

Over the next couple of days, Anne texted me frequently about the spa day, and how much she was looking forward to getting together with her friends while I played with my friends. This morning I e-mailed Cal with some questions about the game. In his reply, he told me to make sure Anne was connected with the girls for their spa thing.

"Oh, she knows all about it," I wrote back. "In fact, I've never seen her this excited for me to go play D&D."

When I told PAX that gaming was so important to my friends and me, I didn't even consider that all of our wives, who only know each other because of us, have formed their own friendships that are independent of their nerdy husbands. So, in a way, gaming didn't just bring my group of friend together (and keep us together), it brought our wives together, too. The next time some idiot says that gaming and gamers are antisocial, I think I'll mention this … and then punch them in the dick.

80 thoughts on ““In fact, I’ve never seen her this excited for me to go play D&D.””

  1. Well, I suppose not getting a dick punch is always a good reason to play D and D but let me ask you this… is that as scary as Wheaton’s Vicious Cock Punch of Furious Anger? lmao

  2. My group is exactly the same. The core group, including myself, all went to school together. A few others have joined over the years but the group has essentially been unchanged for over 20 years. D&D is definately the glue that bonds us together.
    No one has offered to cock punch me yet, but there’s always time.

  3. Wow. Just. Wow.
    I just read the article, and have to say:
    Really?
    I mean… really? I don’t get it. I just don’t. That argument makes the “D&D will turn you into Devil Worshipers” argument sound completely reasonable.
    Wow.

  4. This piece made me smile on many levels (pardon the pun :). Gaming has helped me as well to keep a strong link to my best friends down the years instead of just promising to “meet up for a few beers sometime”.
    In fact we’re getting together on the 29th to start a campaign of the 40k rpg Deathwatch while our other halves entertain themselves as has become their tradition.
    My wife has long suggested a idea similar to yours but in regard to geek stores – a comfy couch/cafe area in the store for partners to relax while their geeks perused the shelves. Even as a married gamer playing in a group of other married gamers I couldn’t resist the joke of describing the couch as being covered in cobwebs from lack of use…

  5. Wil I think that is great. I just got back from a long weekend of D&D gaming with old friends in Nor Cal myself. We try to play annually and all the wifes are very supportive. Gaming for us is a way to reconnect and relive the past together. It keeps us connected over time and distant.

  6. I totally agree with your sentiment, Wil. When said douchebiscuit make that statement about being antisocial, know that my fist is with you on said dick-punch.

  7. Loved this. I’m not a gamer (though I’ve played D and D a couple of times, but anything that keeps friends together, wives happy, and makes life just that much more enjoyable is a worthwhile pursuit!

  8. I get excited when my boyfriend is gaming with friends… because I love to game and I love his friends. Personally, that’s way better than a “boys in this corner and girls in that one” night, but to each their own. :)

  9. In SW Portland there is are two game shops nearly across the street from each other, Other Worlds and Alternative Universe (I think? too lazy to check) . . . anyway, there are salons right near by, although not the fanciest spa sort of places, still good enough to get mani/pedis. Plus there are 3 coffee shops there. Portland is like heaven.

  10. Wil, I need your help. You tweeted about the full works of HP Lovecraft being available at http://bit.ly/fjzZBK, but at the time I was in the middle of the Ringworld series. I’m almost done, and I’d like to read the Cthulhu stories next, but I don’t know what books/stories to read, and in what order.
    I’ve searched the Internet, and couldn’t find a simple list that said “Here’s what you should read first, then follow with this other one.”
    Can you help out here? Please?
    Thanks!
    Rick

  11. There’s no particular sequence to most of the stories other than Lovecraft’s development as a writer. The only suggestion I’d make is to avoid “At the Mountains of Madness” as one of your initial reads. It’s one of Lovecraft’s best stories but very long & dense so you’d be jumping in at the deep end.
    For myself, my own favourites include
    “The Colour out of Space”, “The Statement of Randolph Carter”, “The Rats in the Walls”, “Pickman’s Model”, “Herbert West – Reanimator”, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, “Whisperer in Darkness” and of course the iconic “Call of Cthulhu”.

  12. Wow. I can so really relate to this. Infact this name that I am using, Calen Nost was a name I created over 15 years ago for a D&D game that my friends and I were playing. I use it for everything. Instead of my real name on FB, I use this. Peeps at first thought my use of it strange, but I’ll tell ya this. I don’t give it out to people at work and therefore, I don’t get in trouble for things I post.
    And for the record, this is my first time to the blog and also Will, I did like your acting in Star Trek. Good Job.

  13. It wasn’t until coming out to grad school in Texas that I realized how much of my social interactions center on gaming. Not having that connection has just been weird, especially as I fall down the geeky rabbit hole and become more knowledgeable about my topic and less about pop culture, anime, and video games. We play online sometimes, but it’s not the same.
    I hope you’re having a great game day, Wil!

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