Congratulations! You are now playing Happily Ever After or Turtles. If you make all the right moves, you will live happily ever after with a loving partner and 2.3 beautiful children. But if you make one wrong move, someone else will marry your true love and you will end up living in your sister’s attic with two pet turtles both named Gladys.
HEAOT also lets you view the status of your friends who are currently playing. Oh look, Debbie is on Level 2: becoming partner at her firm and buying a house with her fiancé. And there’s Cathy, who married her college sweetheart, already has two kids and a vacation home in Maine. Congrats on level 5 Cathy! (Developers note: one wrong move and Cathy could lose it all. No pressure Cathy, keep up that Pilates!)
You’re still on level one. At 34? Really? But ah, that’s ok! Just have fun! Be yourself! Love always finds you when you least expect it!
Let’s get started.
A guy you like, let’s call him Stan, texts you to grab drinks. You must wait 17 minutes to respond to Stan’s message so that you seem casually interested, but not overeager. Jesus, never overeager, okay?
If you are able to wait, your response will unlock the next level.
You have a great time with Stan. On the subway the next day, you see an ad for that silly toothbrush company you both admitted to using. Do you text him some friendly banter?
Before answering, please read an excerpt from this article, “Brenda: The Woman Who Texted First.”
“They always said, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Just text him. It’s not like if he doesn’t respond you’ve ruined your one chance at happily ever after,” Brenda said, feeding one of the Gladyses a lettuce leaf.
A text? Are you sure? Turns out, it doesn’t matter. You earned five gold stamina coins for that internet date you went on last week during which he threw up on your shoe. You advance automatically.
Stan never responds to your toothbrush message. You presume him dead, but two weeks later he texts you the frog emoji. What is the appropriate response? How do you seem easy, breezy, and flirty, while also like a respectable woman who would like to be asked out by a man with words and not digital icons?
You’re going to send the dolphin emoji? Are you sure? You know dolphins mate for pleasure right?
Whatever, go ahead.
Oh! This was a trick. You weren’t supposed to respond at all.
To continue moving forward, you must watch a 30-second video clip of your mother explaining “Why a man won’t buy the cow when he can get the milk for free.”
You now have the option to keep playing or just move to the attic with the turtles. Think carefully.