Upon seeing the loss, his girlfriend subsequently challenged me. Knowing that women throw scissors most often, statistically speaking, I excused myself to the jukebox, flipping on the Scissors Sisters.
In the background, “Take Your Mother Out” washed over the room. The stage was set. "Listen, I'm going to throw rock," I told her, already digging deep into Rosh's bag of tricks.
She looked at me, quizzically, but tried to brush it off. "No seriously, I swear I'm going to throw rock," I assured her. After she muttered a few choice words under her breath, we primed, and threw our fists. When I looked up from my confidently tossed rock (I told her I was going to throw rock...), two spread, acrylic tipped fingers stood shaking in the air in front of me. Just as I had anticipated.
Holy sh*t. This stuff actually....works.
A test of confidence: challenging my girlfriend
Unfortunately once you get out of the minor leagues, subliminal messaging starts to lose its efficacy at an exponential rate. During our talks, Master Rosh addressed my concern by alluding to passive, “reading” techniques (like guys throwing rocks, or watching your opponent's hand before a throw) but noted they can only take you so far. “The real way to win consistently, is to influence your opponent. To make them throw what you want them to throw. In conjunction with these passive strategies...this is how you get to the next level.”
His words echoed in my head as my girlfriend suggested something "be done" about the garbage bulging out of the waste bin. "I play my wife in RPS all time, to determine chore-duty...it's really the only fair way to go about it, and no one feels guilty afterwards," World RPS Society Founder Douglas Walker confided. I knew how we would settle this trash situation.
Before we played, I casually asked her: "Should we play 1, 2, 3, shoot...or 1,2, shoot?" After each query, I displayed scissors as my example. Since women statistically threw scissors more often, and I had just planted the idea of scissors in her head twice, I knew I had this. Round one, the scissors came snipping out, and my rock was victorious. I had taken the first throw.
"You cannot construct a simpler game that would actually involve some element of choice within it."
Knowing that it’s likely a person will toss the throw that just beat them in subsequent matches, I threw paper to beat what I thought would be a rock—only to be faced with another pair of scissors. We were deadlocked, but I knew she wouldn’t toss up three of the same moves in a row (that's VERY unlikely, for any player). It was either paper, or rock. “Knowing what your opponent isn’t going to throw, is almost as good as knowing what they will throw,” Rosh explained.
When we drew, her arm cocked out distinctly to the side: a sure-fire paper giveaway. I tossed my scissors triumphantly with a millisecond’s warning. I was victorious! Yet somehow I still ended up taking the trash out.
"One piece of advice," Master Rosh cooed, "always let your partner win. Trust me."