"Is anybody playing the winner?"
We paused at the question, because it was something we hadn't considered. We had just assumed that, whichever team won, the other team would play against them again, and the four of us would just continue playing until we got sick of the game or Bart's closed, whichever happened first.
But this was cornhole, and the etiquette is clear. "No, you can play the winner," one of us said.
Very shortly, Mr. W and I became that winning team, and the newcomers lined up next to us. Like us, they were a boy-girl team.
I'd never met the girl before, but all the same, I'd met the girl before, know what I'm saying? She was the sort of girl who approaches strangers in nightclub bathrooms and tells them she looks fat so she can hear them say, "Oh, no, you're so skinny! I'm the one who looks like a big whale!"
And she didn't know how to play cornhole. Which, OK, a lot of people don't know how to play cornhole. When this happens, you tell them, "Aim for the board and try to get it in the hole." At that point, your student is ready to play cornhole.
Not this girl. With every bad toss, she would wail about how terrible she was and how her partner shouldn't have picked her in the first place. After two rounds, the game had to be halted so her partner could give her a crash course in cornhole technique. "Hold the bag gently," he instructed as I stood two feet away, uncomfortable and uncertain if the lesson was going to be long enough to make it worth my while to join my friends across the courtyard.
As the game progressed, it began to feel less like a cornhole game between two couples in a small bar in Newport and more like a battle of achetypes - her, with her four-inch heels (by the way, Bart's has no convenient parking lot, so anyone who's there probably had to walk a few blocks), casually foul mouth and insistent whining that she was terrible at cornhole but didn't care because she came to drink, not to play some stupid game; and me, with my flat shoes, glasses and ability to at least get the bag on the board most of the time.
And yet, I still found myself playing the role of the girl in the bathroom, feeding her ego. In cornhole, this works by cheering on your own opponent, saying things like, "I knew it. You're a ringer, aren't you? Any moment now you'll say, 'Why don't we make things interesting,' and then I'll be out 20 bucks." Or you can give her tips like, "Well, it's kind of like pitching in softball." (At which point, she will huffily say, "Ohmigod, softball?")
Mr. W and I won the game, of course. The other couple disappeared, our friends returned, and we played each other for the rest of the night.
Winning at cornhole is easy enough. But I still haven't figured out how to win against the girl in the nightclub bathroom.