“Not it Noses”

I was hanging out with my friends and we all decided to go out to eat for dinner  Someone asked out loud, “So who’s going to drive?” then my friend Kelsey said, “Not it noses!” and touched her nose with her index finger.  Everyone else quickly tried to touch their noses because in this game the last person to touch their nose would be the one who would have to drive everyone to dinner.  According to the game, if there is something that has to be done but no one wants to do it, someone says “not it noses” and the last person to touch their nose has to do whatever is was that no one wanted to do.  It is also important to note that you have touch your nose, usually you touch the tip of your nose with your index finger.  The person who touches their nose last is the one who has to do the undesired task of the group.

The game could be viewed as a modern day version of pulling straws or sticks when there is a task to be done but one wants to do it and the group can’t decide who should have to do it so they come up with an arbitrary way of choosing a person and this is generally considered a fair way of deciding such a thing.  For example, when pulling sticks usually the person who pulls the short stick has to do whatever the everyone in the group does not want to do.  Not it noses is just another game and another way of arbitrarily deciding who should have to do something.  Another version of this game/ritual is something called nose goes which is also documented in this folklore collection.  It is essentially the same game, the only difference being that instead of saying “not it noses” one would say “nose goes” before proceeding to touch their nose.

This game is typically played among friends and I have only seen it played within the high school/college student age range.  This is probably so because adults might find it too foolish to touch their noses in order to get out of doing something.  It is also fun to play because it is sort of like a competition of speed and to me seems to resemble the childhood saying “Last one there is a rotten egg”.  Not is noses draws on childhood memories and plays into this whole idea of not being the last person, and to be last is not a good thing, which could also explain its popularity and appeal to many people.

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