Auntie Comes to Tea is a duet game about boundaries and consent. The two characters haven't seen each other for awhile. One character, Auntie, dearly wants to catch up over tea. The other character, Host, doesn't want to see this family member. 1. Decide who will be Auntie and who will be the Host. 2. Write down your character's name, pronouns, and other important details. 3. Decide why you haven't seen each other in some time. 4. Decide together or separately: a. Auntie, what do you miss about Host? b. Host, why do you want to avoid Auntie? Auntie narrates beginning the conversation (phone, bumping into each other, etc.). Share pleasantries and small talk. Play truly begins when Auntie asks Host if they want to have afternoon tea sometime: Unless Host gives a clear 'Yes' or 'No', Auntie must keep making requests for afternoon tea. Host, you are worried about offending Auntie, so must reject Auntie's requests without saying 'Yes' or 'No' for as long as possible. Play ends when Host gives a clear 'Yes' or 'No'. Narrate your characters parting ways. Debrief your feelings, the discomfort or difficulty of saying 'No', and how it relates to the real world.
This game comes from my personal experience and research into navigating consent, particularly around sexual activity. Saying “no” to social requests is generally a delicate matter, and is not specific to sexual activity. In fact, saying “no” is especially difficult if you personally know the person approaching you.
Yet rape culture is filled with discourse around “they’re playing hard to get” or “I know they want it” or “they’re leading me on”. Rape culture does not respect the delicacy of saying no, and accepts that a “yes” is a “yes” even if it comes from multiple soft rejections or a place of acquiescence.
I wanted to illustrate how saying “no” is difficult in even the most mundane situations – such as turning a family member down for afternoon tea.