Lilly’s Blog: How the Popular Game “Ten Fingers” Shames Girls
I hate Ten Fingers. Absolutely hate it. Ten Fingers (or Never Have I Ever, as it’s also called) is a drinking game. Like Facebook, it has become popular with increasingly younger audiences. The first time I played Ten Fingers was in seventh grade. There wasn’t alcohol involved, but playing left me feeling regretful and foolish.
Ten Fingers begins with players getting in a circle and showing their fingers as if they’re going for a double high-five. Someone begins by saying “Never have I ever…”. Anyone who is “guilty” of the statement must either, depending on who is playing, take a drink and put down a finger or just put down a finger.
The game continues as the job of stating a deed rotates around the circle. The first person to run out of fingers loses. Anyone who has ever played Truth or Dare can guess that the nature of the statements quickly becomes scandalous and sexual.
When it comes to Ten Fingers, shame is the name of the game for girls. In school there may be no dumb questions, but in Ten Fingers there are no “right” answers for us. In one scenario, a girl, let’s call her Jessica, is the first one out. She has now publicly branded herself a slut. The momentary feeling of pride she has for being the most grown up and adventurous is replaced by humiliation.
Why can’t she be a good girl like Becca, who’s still in? Meanwhile, Becca is starting to feel like Steve Carell’s character in the film The 40 Year-Old Virgin. “Ugh,” she may think to herself, “why am I such a prude?”
Ten Fingers is like Teenage Girl 101. So much of being a girl is about figuring out where you stand in relation to the girls around you. Am I too dumb? Too smart? Too blue? Too green? Ten Fingers reveals vices and virtues, but this new knowledge fails to enlighten. Instead, I imagine that every girl is picturing an inverted social pyramid. And we all leave feeling as though we are at the very bottom of that pyramid. We imagine ourselves there because we are either too slutty, too prudish or too in-between.
I wish I had some profound to solution to this Goldilocks nonsense. But like I said, I hate Ten Fingers. And I’ve always been Becca. Put me in a room of third graders…I am still the last to run out of fingers. That’s so not cool. But the fact is, when it comes to Ten Fingers and maybe even in life, we can count on one thing: A little part of every person feels like they’re doing it wrong.
And maybe that’s somewhere to start. Never have I ever promised myself to just stop playing a game that makes people feel bad about themselves. Ha! I just put a finger down….sucker.
Lilly is a high school senior and guest blogger for RachelSimmons.com. Read more about her here.