It ended up taking 18 months, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The pair would meet each night at 9 and work until 2 a.m. trying to come up with questions. They culled questions from cookbooks, etiquette guides and sports encyclopedias. They looked through literally tons of magazines for survey answers; they looked for the same stuff in self-help books.
"I'd go to a bookstore and I'd get every self-help book on the shelf," Klisares said. "'Men Are From Mars . . . ' stuff like that. I'm sure those people probably thought I was the most dysfunctional guy in the world."
Klisares admits that searching those books many times provided the answers that were useful beyond the makeup of the game. In fact, looking back, he and Parker believe the game itself was sort of a way to get on with their lives.
Their success so far in marketing the game has been remarkable.
"Most people have one really good game in them, the difference being [their ability] to follow it through; marketing is no small part of this," said Sam Hamo, who owns Gamesmanship in Costa Mesa, which has sold out of the game several times. "That's what makes them unusual and well suited for this. They've put together a lovely package, and they've sold it properly. Of course, it helps that their own stories are compelling and that they're a very attractive couple."
Parker, a former marketing executive whose previous clients had included Kemper Financial Service, pushed the game hard. It was Parker who pushed to get on the "Mike and Maty Show" and ended up there just three days after the game had hit the market. The appearance on the show went so well that a second appearance was quickly scheduled. The pair appeared along with Regis Philbin, and midway through playing the game, Klisares proposed marriage on the air to Parker.
"I arranged it with them. I even had to rehearse how I was going to do it," he said. "They told me I had 13 seconds to get everything out. I said, 'The most important thing I'm ever going to say and I've got 13 seconds?' And they said, 'OK, take 15 seconds.' "
It is Klisares and Parker themselves who sell many on the game.
"I get letters from women thanking me, not for the game, but for letting them know that you can do it on your own," said Parker, who is no longer surprised when she is asked to autograph a game.
"I think people are drawn to her story, but I also think there's something about the game that draws them too," Klisares said. "I think they see a pattern in the game, that there are simply differences between men and women and that they shouldn't make you crazy."
Of course, none of this would be if friend-psychic Linda Baldy hadn't predicted and pushed the relationship from the get-go. Asked now how she knew that Klisares and Parker were good for each other, she only shrugs.
"I just knew. I can't explain it; it just seemed right," she said. "I've never done anything like that before. But looking at the way this worked out, maybe I should go into business for myself. Maybe I'll be as successful as them."
You never . . .
A) Can say goodbye.
B) Eat oysters out of season.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Bridging the Gap for Answers
Here's a sampling of questions in the Gender Gap board game. There are six different categories each in the men's and women's divisions--ranging from sports to fashion, automotive to cooking. Most of the questions here are from the relationship category.
1. What percentage of women like the way they look in the nude?
2. What percentage of wives who suspected their husbands were cheating were correct?
3. What percentage of women would choose to be very smart over very beautiful?
4. What do a majority of women say they argue about most with their husbands?
5. What would most women of the baby boomer generation do differently if they had a chance to change their lives?
A) Wait until they were older to get married
B) Choose a different career
C) Choose a different husband
D) Get more education
1. What percentage of men like they way they look in the nude?
2. What percentage of divorced men surveyed said they would remarry their wives if given the chance?
3. About which of the following do men keep secrets?
4. If a man could be certain that his mate would never know, over 50% would want to have sex with which of the following?
A) One of her friends
B) A stranger
C) A female co-worker
D) A prostitute
5. Which one of the following scares men most about fatherhood?
A) Not having enough money to support their family
B) Not getting respect from their children
C) Raising a troubled child
D) Losing all their free time
Women: 1) A; 2) D; 3) D; 4) C; 5) D. Men: 1) C; 2) D; 3) B; 4) A; 5) A.