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THE MAN ABOUT TOWN: Online bingo adverts give me the blues
Bingo! I’ve said it. Once (in the bath). To my shame. And I’ve played it too. Several times. In one of those converted cinemas called either the Roxy or Regal.
Not surprisingly, I enjoyed it – it’s social, harmless, fritters away a few hours, and if that weren’t enough, I managed to come home with a free pack of Pampers Like WeightWatchers or wrestling, what’s not to like?
But bingo online? Yes, well, that’s a different beast altogether...
There are currently, as far as I can see, at least 237 different online bingo sites (an exaggeration, of course, but not by much).
There’s whichbingo, foxybingo, meccabingo, bingobus, poshbingo, bingonation, redbusbingo, winkbingo and, in particular, tombolabingo, whose TV ads always force me to pluck my femoral artery.
Naturally it’s a kneejerk reaction but I can’t stand the way its commercials suggest playing tombolabingo is somehow life-affirming – like swimming with dolphins or curing impetigo.
In a genuine, made-with-bricks, city centre venue, I can see the attraction, since you dress for the occasion, meet up with friends and enjoy drinks before, during and after.
But in a virtual bingo hall, the only thing to get aroused is your forefinger. You don’t even have to leave the house. Or get dressed. Or slip off the loo.
Still, the commercials would have us believe that online bingo brings us closer together, as people, communities, spirits united by a sense of friendship and trust.
Rubbish, isn’t it? I can’t for a second believe people who live in middle-class homes, afloat with expensive sofas, beautiful kitchens and partners with rampant libidos, feel their lives are only further enhanced by the joy that Legs Eleven (11), a Duck and a Crutch (27) and Dirty Gertie (30) can bring.
In fact, so blissful is the experience, it seems they and their online mates then have to bond over real-world barbecues and real-time trips to the local fair.
Now I like computers, but there’s no way a bingo game displayed on a laptop while your husband’s out getting lashed with the lads can replicate the genuine thrill and exuberance of playing with real people (unless, that is, your foxybingo online venue boasts all the sophistication of a starship holo-deck).
I grant you it may pass the time, but not the comfort nor reassurance.
And if you don’t believe me, get together with friends and play Monopoly online – it’s as grim and drab as trying to play Twister with the flu.
Is it any wonder so many of us are on anti-depressants?
After all, if onlingo bingo doesn’t introduce you to a whole new world of amazing people and experiences, it’s clearly we who have the problem.