As Words With Friends Spreads, Some Fear Its Impact

NATICK, Mass.  It’s been a long week for Tony and Dee Ann Stefano, what with two jobs and drop-off and pick-up of kids to and from school, tap dancing lessons and youth hockey, so the young couple is about to enjoy an evening of conjugal bliss while their children spend the night at their paternal grandparents.  “Having your in-laws close by can be a pain sometimes,” say Dee Ann as she slips into her Frederick’s of Framingham Peek-a-Boo teddy, “but it’s nights like tonight that make up for it.”

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“Hold that thought, sweetie!”

The couple slips into bed to try “The Mongolian Cartwheel,” a sexual position that requires a working knowledge of the Kama Sutra and a movie-theatre size package of Twizzler’s red licorice.  “We like to make our love-making special,” says Tony, “since we get so little quality time together.”

The two are just about to enter the “Vestibule of Pleasure,” the recommended method of foreplay for the somewhat complicated maneuver they are about to attempt, when a “sproing” sound is heard from Dee Ann’s iPad, which sits on her night stand to receive urgent messages about their children from her aging mother-in-law.

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“Who’s that?” Tony asks, a look of concern on his face.

“I got a word from Karen,” she says, referring to a woman across town with whom she plays “Words With Friends,” a multi-player word game that resembles Scrabble.  “This will just take a minute.”

Tony rolls over, forgetting for a moment the couple’s package of licorice, which he removes from behind his back for a piece to chew on while he bides his time.  “It’s the same thing every time,” he grouses to this reporter, who has been allowed into the couple’s bedroom as part of a three-part investigative series.  “We’re just about to get intimate, and she has to go back to her damn Words With Friends friends.”

Portrait of unhappy young couple in bedroom
“Is ‘fluevogt’ a word?”

Experts say the addictive powers of Words With Friends on women is upsetting the nation’s love life during male workers’ prime earning years, with potentially devastating consequences for productivity and standards of living.  “You get guys coming into work grumpy on Monday mornings, just when we need non-farm labor output to pick up the pace,” says economist Fred Metzger of the University of Georgia-Statesboro.  When this reporter expresses skepticism at the somewhat far-fetched theory, Metzger grows defensive.  “You try staying awake studying other people’s mating habits,” he snaps.  “You think I like watching young couples go at it like randy minks for a living?”

Wives and girlfriends say they’re not to blame since Words With Friends offers them relief from the tedium of suburban life.  “Tony says it upsets his Circadian sleep rhythms, but I know better,” says Dee Ann Stefano as she taps in the word “oxen” for a 70-point score and a win.  “I’ve seen him with his clothes off, and he’s no cicada.”

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