Cheating at Monopoly

Conversation with me and another about the behaviour of the cheater and cheatee of Monopoly

Those who cheat and then dismissively claim "it's only a game" miss the point.

Games are SUPPOSED to have rules, for that is how we have agreed to compete.

By contrast in life we are sometimes allowed to make up rules as we go along, but cheating in sports and games is always deeply immoral.

I am myself very straitlaced about the rules. It just would not occur to me to cheat, but if I landed on your hotel and you did not notice, I wouldn't feel obliged to tell you.

"if I landed on your hotel and you did not notice, I wouldn't feel obliged to tell you."

I ought to be paying attention, so this is quite justified.

"Rules are meant to be broken." Discuss.

What happens when we break the rules? If it remains undiscovered then nothing at all. If our infractions are found out, then we must accept the consequences. Personally I wouldn't continue to play with someone who flouted the rules.

No, I wouldn't either. Perhaps it depends on how we used to play Monopoly when we were children. Or even our gender and our age.

Let me give you a situation then.

Dinner party. Female dinner guest tells male dinner guest that she and her ex-boyfriend always cheated when they played Monopoly with each other.

Later, it was decided to play Monopoly. (Probably not a good idea as it was about 10 pm and a deal of alcohol was consumed.)

Female guest deliberately moves male dinner guest's piece and tells him she has done so.

Male dinner guest - who really wanted to play the game properly - rounds on her and tells her that rules are meant to be followed and that it meant anarchy not to do so. He proceeds to tell female dinner guest that she "has no decency" and described what she did as "despicable".

What should the hostess have done?

Clearly, the female guest should not have cheated or even pretended to cheat. It was a silly thing for an adult woman to cheat or pretend to cheat at Monopoly.

It occurs to me that the female dinner guest, if she has been a male dinner guest would have either played properly or not played at all.

However, since the dinner guest was female she behaved in a way that could perhaps be described as schoolgirlish.

The male dinner guest might have been expected to make allowances, but he did not.

However, in an age of gender equality, should a man be morally obliged to make these allowances?

‎"Female guest deliberately moves male dinner guest's piece and tells him she has done so."

This is not quite what happened. In fact female guest repeatedly took the male dinner guest's turn while he was acting as banker for another player.

She did NOT say she had done so.

She only commented – as though it were an amusing observation - that the 'order of play keeps changing'.

Male dinner guest could see no reason why the order of play should change, since this matter had been decided at the start.

Eventually female dinner guest was caught red-handed and denounced.

Today the male dinner guest happened to be listening to Thinking Allowed on Radio Four in which an academic (female) guest (in collusion with the liberal-minded presenter of the show) seemed delighted at the outcomes of certain American trials in which female murderers - although they had been definitively found guilty - managed to avoid being sentenced.
The Politics of Sleep - Women Who Kill

This was especially celebrated when a woman had managed to pull off the trick of killing a man and getting away with it.

Murder & Monopoly - yes, I can imagine you sneering at this!

However we either live in an age of gender equality or we don't.

If we don't, then allowances need to be made for women – or some women – because they are childlike.

If they refuse to be thought of as childlike then they must behave like adults.

Yes, if female dinner guest had been male dinner guest, or even pretending to be a male dinner guest, she would not have done such a thing.

Women tend to have allowances made for them and very often, they are. Therefore they can claim to be simultaneously equal yet childlike yet also morally superior to men.

In an age of gender equality there ought to be no special pleading on grounds of sex.

I imagine other men would probably condemn the male dinner guest for not behaving like a gentleman, and making allowances for the frivolous and erratic behaviour of female dinner guests.

I can imagine that it would quite difficult for a typical male to negotiate so many twists of think and double-think in our age of equality and hypocrisy.

I think chivalry can only come naturally if one feels one is in a superior position, not when one already feels put upon and under siege.

I am reminded of this story about Sun Tzu.

One of the more well-known stories about Sun Tzu, taken from the Shiji, illustrates Sun Tzu's temperament as follows: Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests. He explained that if the general's soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that once a general was appointed, it was their duty to carry out their mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly.

[FURTHER THOUGHTS:  Both dinner party guests are in fact older than the hostess who is no spring chicken herself.

The hostess consulted an older male friend who at once declared that the male guest was a churl, a boor, a cad, not a gentleman and should be horsewhipped forthwith.  But the hostess wonders why a man should be expected to behave like a gentleman (even if he is from an age when such things were taught to boys) when women are no longer taught how to behave like ladies or indeed expected to.

The female guest withdrew gracefully and in a lady-like manner, not making a fuss or protesting that she had never been so insulted in her entire life, or anything like that.]

You are invited to comment on the behaviour of the male and female guest. 


ClairF said…
You mean I could murder my hubby and get away with it..... ;-) ?

Sounds like a nightmare situation but not unexpected given the way roles have changed. They have not all changed for the worse but I worry about men having no useful function in society. I worry particularly about the lack of support for young single men whose needs are ignored by society. I work at times with charity providing food and clothing to young men of no fixed abode. Getting housing for them is nigh on impossible. Getting housing if they are working and earning even a small amount above the minimum is definitely impossible and they are often priced out of the market in the private sector. No wonder many men still live with parents.
I would like to see enough in the way of change, to make housing available to men as well as women. I'd especially like to see support available for those who work but who cannot afford the huge private rents.
Wildly off topic, or not - your retelling of the situation could easily act as a metaphor for the way society has reduced the role of men to little more than baby provider, meal ticket provider (or both).
I have met plenty of good men and good women who understand this and live their lives acknowledging the strengths of each other and supporting the weaknesses ( hey - we all have em).
Sadly I have met men and women who have accepted the status quo and who live in the same way. This reduces men to worthless people not needing our support and women to baby producers and single parents. This is worse if the man feels as worthless as society has told him he is.
So we have single mothers, absent fathers and children growing up without a single supportive male role model in their lives. Sad.
Claire Khaw said…
Wow, thank you for the one and only response I hoped to receive, but better! x

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