Tag Archives: teenage game

Lemon

Form of Folklore: Game

Informant Bio: The informant was born in Yerevan, Armenia, moved to Moscow, Russia at six months, then to Detroit Michigan at age three. Since she was five years old, she was raised in Glendale, California. Most of the folklore she knows is from her mother (passing down traditions she learned) and from peers at school. Her mother remains as her main source of cultural folklore (Armenian) whereas her friends in school exposed her to the folklore of American culture.

Context: The interview was conducted in the living room of the informant’s house in the presence of two other informants.

Item: This is a game called Lemon. Ok so basically ahh the first part is just picking four girls names. It works out better if you do four girls you know; it just comes out funnier. So four girls you know, things you do to a lemon (things like lick or zest or cut or squeeze, things like that) so four of those. Four boys names, again four boys preferably that you know or who also know the girls you listed. And then four body parts (elbow, finger, arm… doesn’t matter). And that’s about it. The numbers are jumbled in each category, so then you just match up number to number… to number… and it comes out like … a girl’s name does this thing to this boy’s body part. It’s not something really done for a person, this is more mutually played between whoever’s there; it can be four people, five people together just making it for fun… just to see the results.

Informant Comments: The informant learned this game in high school. She believes it was a fun way for teenagers to see what weird and sometimes perverted results came from the game. Usually, the game would lead to some sort of sexual act or an action that seems nearly impossible. The game was not played often, but when it was, all of the participating players would take advantage of the rare opportunity to make certain girls match with certain boys.

Analysis: This game seems to bring out the curiosities of teenagers who are going through all sorts of new experiences (in high school). Having their hormones increase and decrease on different levels, teenagers pass down this game from person to person, as a way to vent out their sexual thoughts. At a younger age, this game would not be as popular since most pre-teens are not as obsessed with sex and physicality as teenagers are. Similarly, adults (over eighteen years old) are more experienced and knowledgeable than teenagers, so Lemon does not have as much entertainment value. This is a teenage game that will most likely continue to exist (or at least some version of it) as long as teenagers are sexually curious.

MASH

Form of Folklore: Game

Informant Bio: The informant was born in Yerevan, Armenia, moved to Moscow, Russia at six months, then to Detroit Michigan at age three. Since she was five years old, she was raised in Glendale, California. Most of the folklore she knows is from her mother (passing down traditions she learned) and from peers at school. Her mother remains as her main source of cultural folklore (Armenian) whereas her friends in school exposed her to the folklore of American culture.

Context: The interview was conducted in the living room of the informant’s house in the presence of two other informants.

Item: Ok so you write down “MASH” at the top of the page; “MASH” stands for… “M” for Mansion, “A” for Apartment, “S” for Shack, and “H” for House and those stand for where you’re gonna live. Under that you make categories for “Husband”, “Wedding Dress”, “Cars”, “Pets”, “# of Kids”, and “Honeymoon”. Each category has one through four; the first three being what you’d like to happen, the last thing, what you wouldn’t want to happen. And then the person you’re playing with tells you when to stop as you’re making tally marks. And you stop and that’s the number you count to going around and around all these categories and crossing of when you stop at that number. And at the end you’re left with one thing in each category and that is supposed to be telling them their future and what will happen to them.

Informant Comments: The informer learned this game when she was in middle school. She does not believe it can actually predict the future; she used to play MASH as an entertaining game just to see what life (and which celebrity) she would end up with. Even though she never thought it would actually tell her about her future, she still felt a certain degree of disappointment when she did not get a future she was really fond of.

Analysis: MASH is a harmless game which is used as a way to predict the future lives of kids. It has an element of fear that the person MASH is being done for will end up with all of the things that they would not want to happen. Most children’s games do not have this quality; most have a happy ending no matter what. Also, this game introduces children to the idea of marriage and motherhood. It is clear that this is a game for females since it has categories like “Husband” and “Wedding Dress”. Many girls begin to think about their futures as a woman simply by playing this game that was intended to inform them of their futures. Though the game does not actually predict the future, it does make it a part of the reality that little girls will eventually have to deal with.