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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things I Think... How you play spades is how you partner

Ok. I started learning how to play spades in the hallowed halls on St. Paul. "St. Paul" was the family home that we grew up in for some of our childhood. I'll blog about the pros and cons of family houses next. Anywho "St. Paul" was delicately placed within Pine Lawn, MO. I'll tell you more about Pine Lawn later, too. Back to the story... I probably was 7 or so when Ronnice (my oldest sister- bossy as hell) and Shana (the middle kid who acted strangely like Diane from Black-ish... more to come) started my spades lessons. Let me preface this with... I didn't get a beginner's phase. They would flip tables, cuss you out and snatch those three books if you reneged. And we were kids. Carol's kids don't play.

Over time, I have developed into a rather serious player. It's made me think that how folks play spades is a good indication of how they are as a life partner. I'll explain... choose wisely.

1. You can't trust a potential partner that doesn't play spades. Ain't nobody got time to teach you everything. You need to come with some lived experience, lessons and some worked through trauma. I was saving myself for... looking @$$.

2. You got the skeptical player- I mean partner. They study long and always study wrong. Every decision is a multistep process. They are the kinda person that believes in committees at work. They convene meetings that should be emails. They say this is their process, but really it's a delay because they don't trust you or themself.

3. You got the over bidder. This person will promise you the world. They will use grand gestures to throw out the most basic cards. Thomas, your forehead didn't make that card any higher. Or Thomas, these lil carnations ain't really doing much. In fact, I end up spending more to buy Allegra to keep them on the kitchen table. But Thomas, will always Thomas and you better like it.

4. The under bidder. They think this is a safety technique, but really it's a sign that this person holds back. They are an emotional hoarder. They under-promise in hopes that they will look like the g.o.a.t, really what you look like is a bad math student.

5. The cutter. This person will do whatever they need to win, but they don't realize it's a partnership. They will cut you just to be able to get their lil card off. They are narcissistic. Everything is about them. After they cut you, they will give live recaps of it to prove they were the reason y'all won. They are not to be trusted.

6. Master player. This person knows the game in and out. They watch to see who's cutting clubs out the gate. They know every card that has been played. They anticipate what's to come. "Why you still holding that lil diamond?". People hate playing with and against them. They always choose lesser players, because who needs help when you descend on a cloud from heaven daily just to win games? They irk bad. You have to respect them though. This suck all the fun out, but they make you better. We get it Cheryl, you can play.

7. The table slapper. BABY. When they have that heat in their hand, everyone will know. You, yo momma and your cousin, too. They often slap the cards down in a sequence because they have to be right. This is the person that remembers that back on September 4, 2015, you let "Tanisha" be too friendly in your DMs. they forget nothing. They can't wait for just the right time to throw all of this in your face, too.

8. Unspoken vibes. This person can look at you and you know it's time to pull that lil ace you got. They affirm you. They encourage you when you mess up. Because why? Playas mess up everyday, B. This is the partner that's ready to leave the party when you are without saying anything. They read vibes. They can tell you if the potato salad has the blessing of Abraham on it long before y'all try it. They will gently check your cousin that fat shames you at the family bbq. They write "us" vs "them" because y'all are a thing. You have chemistry. You can negotiate, challenge and uplift all in one game. This is goals.

9. "We play it this way" person. This is the person who convinces you that the rules he and his cousin Tony came up with on the Westside are governed by the spades gods. He's the kinda guy that'll have you watching Hidden Colors and wearing patchouli oil. He's a hotep. He thinks Dr. Umar would make a good president and calls every woman player "queen". He believes feminism is to blame for the tension between Black women and men. He has trouble sounding out words that don't rhyme with "ankh".

10. On a serious note, spades is ministry. It's serious. Black folk have survived slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow, Mass incarceration and the inflation of oxtails. We get to have some joy, violence and mastery in things. Spades is one of those. I have reconsidered dating some of God's children because of how careless they were doing spades. "Oh you don't take the Lord's work seriously?" Any way, y'all are probably wondering which one I am... issa combo. I'm a 7.5 because baby I do petty and intuitive.

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