Nationality: United States
Residence: El cerrito, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/20
Primary Language: English
BR: At my old high school, we’d do this thing called bottle flipping…
MW: Oh yeah! We did that too. Was that just like a NorCal thing or…?
BR: I mean I don’t know, but we’d do it and kids would be flipping these dumb bottles everywhere and the goal was to flick a plastic bottle upwards and have it land on its bottom again. And they boys would be like, oh, if I flip it and it lands right it means she likes me…
MW: Oh, that’s interesting. I’ve never heard that version before…in my school we just did it to do it, you know? There’d be bottles, like, stuck in weird places because of it…
BR: haha. Yeah, all the band kids did it. It’s actually kinda funny because it’s actually kinda hard to get the bottle to land right, so it means, or like was implying, that girls weren’t liking guys back. Especially the band kids.
The informant, BR, was born and raised in the Bay Area, specifically El Cerrito (the East Bay). He remembers this tradition specifically because it was a fun bonding activity, and also a meme at the time. He looks back on this memory fondly.
This story was brought up in a FaceTime call. I asked the informant what traditions he remembered in high school, to see if we could cross compare since I went to high school not too far from where he did (San mateo).
Upon further research, I believe that bottle flipping was done across America, maybe even more globally. It was perpetuated by the internet and made into one of the most popular memes of 2016. I think that BR’s school’s addition of having a girl like you back is really funny because it is so reminiscent of other children’s superstitious games. As we talked about in class, a lot of childrens’ superstition (especially girls’) revolves around who you will marry or relationships, etc. I think it’s just so fascinating that something as seemingly dumb as bottle flipping was able to work its way into that same pattern, probably just because it’s something the youth was doing. It’s also interesting to note that this phenomenon applied mostly to boys getting girls to like them back, as usually it’s a “girl’s game” that involves relationship fortune telling, as we talked about in class.
(For an example of bottle flipping, please see this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp5QMSbf-a0)