Collector: Talk to me about cooties.
Informant: Like, it’s what younger kids, well like, boys and girls think each other have cooties because they don’t like to interact with other children of the opposite sex.
Informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is studying Theater Arts in the School of Dramatic Arts here. She is from Austin Texas. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house. Much of what she told me was learned from her sister or her own experiences.
This is a part of folklore we discussed in class, and we can see here that it has spread to this area of Texas. While the informant doesn’t go into huge detail about the piece of folklore, we get the main part of it: that it separates the genders. In my experience, cooties were passed by touching the opposite gender and could be passed along and gotten rid of. Many people have different versions of how cooties spreads and how to get rid of it like the cooties shot. This seems to be specific to a young age.
For a more in depth look at cooties and its variations, visit: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1499801?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents