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.