Purse Bingo. Whaaat?

“What do you suppose that’s about,” I asked George in reference to my invitation to attend. “Is it like Let’s Make a Deal, and I’m supposed to load all kinds of weird stuff into my purse so I can cover the bingo spaces?”

George didn’t look that interested, and in fact, took himself on his own local brewery crawl once I was safely out of the house. My daughter explained to me, in her sighing millennial voice, “You win purses, mom. You play bingo for purses.”

Oh! That was exciting. I’m always up for a new bag. Not to mention an outing with the girls. My dear friend, Penelope, has one of the most obliging and kind husbands around. On hundreds of occasions—two I’ve attended in just the last month, the boy has hauled Penelope and her large pack of girlfriends around as they scurry through legions of worthwhile entertainment.

The morning of, the eight of us loaded our giggly selves into Jack’s suburban and we made our way to the bar. Penelope is no rookie. She got us to the bar early so we could claim the best table in the house. In the center of the joint—on a raised dais no less—the wood table was huge and could accommodate not just us, but our ever-enlarging spread of nibblets.

One woman, Suzy Larson, (her go-to aliasshh, let’s not question why she has one) came prepared. With a head tip to Rosanne, Suzy pulled trinkets out of her bag and set them before her cards. Trolls, snow globes, lighters, purse-size deodorant, beanies—the table was also littered with the ink daubers and glasses of booze as there was a bottomless Bloody Mary or screwdriver bar and happy hour for the duration. Can anyone say yes please to 16 oz of wine for five bucks? It’s ten o’clock in the morning.

Besides drinks, we placed our orders for an enormous spread of food and then raced over to check out the hot line of purses. Coach, Michael Kors, and Kate Spade. Ooh la la. Grilling the operator behind the table selling the packets to participants, the lady told us the last two events had been sparingly attended, so we should have lots of luck.

But no. The place had lines going out the door. People were packing into the place. Bars everywhere should listen up. This is a gold mine, fellas. Women, mostly, were hanging from the rafters all trying to score a $400 bag. It was glorious.

By noon, when the games began, we were feeling the stress of being able to properly focus on the cards. To participate, you had to buy a $25 bundle. For that, you could play ten games. For each game, you got six cards—or six chances. Suzy Larson—yes, that one—has always been an extraordinarily generous woman (but she does have that alias she won’t talk about….), she purchased extra packets and passed them out to each of us. While this was very thoughtful of Suzy Larson, it upped our anxiety of keeping up on the cards. The numbers were thrown out fast and furious, and it turns out that scanning all those numbers while drunk can be very difficult. Who knew?

We passed the poor troll with the hot orange hair around the table, each woman doing unspeakable things to it. I’ll not name names, (Penelope), but didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s not nice to molest a troll? That troll saw a lot of boobs. No cleavage was left without some troll DNA behind. The deodorant too, …well I won’t go into it.

To up the tension further, the games weren’t regular bingo. They had crazy patterns for the win. Block of Eight, Letter X, Crazy Kite, Six Pack… it was a lot to keep up with. Suzy Larson—at some point wearing her hair in a pony shooting straight from the top, was the only winner from our table. Justifiably so, she more than earned it. (She’ll most likely later celebrate wildly with her tattooed and clandestine lover at some out of the way hidey-hole before they conduct their super spy missions.)

There were rules to this thing, too. They gave you a sheet listing a confusing 17 of them which were out of focus by the time the games even began. What I do remember was that there was a gambling hotline number in bold print, the phone number of a bookstore where you could get a copy of the rules and statutes governing bingo, and one that said there was “no illegal gambling permitted.” What’s that about? Oh, and you had to be 18 to participate. They announced that several times, but no one carded me when I bought my packet. I’m just sayin.

The event was what you might call a hoot and a holler. Conversation around the table was lively. We hit all the hot topics—upcoming vacations, crazy ass children (of the kind you supervise because you’re a teacher), crazy ass husbands (of the kind that leave your friend for a better model), sex—both good and bad, sex toys and helpful accoutrement, kitchen appliances, vitamin supplements, ice dams, the light rail system, tequila recipes, Dr. Pimple Popper, Storage Wars, and Suzy Larson spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the joys of ax throwing. (Hmmmm).

All in all, an excellent way to spend the afternoon. Purse Bingo—it’s the new best thing!

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