Tag Archives: adultery

Chinese Green Hat Superstition


A, 18, is a student at USC. He is a French citizen of Chinese descent; he told me about how his mother would act when she found A wearing a green hat.


They say don’t ever wear a green hat because that means your partner cheats on you. One time I went home wearing a green hat and my mom was like “Take that off!” and she threw it in the trash. I asked her why and she said “If you wear that [a green hat] it means your partner or wife is going to cheat on you”; there are a bunch of beliefs like that in China.

Analysis:I did some research and found out that the reason for this superstition is that the phrase “wearing a green hat” sounds the same as the word “cuckold” in Chinese. Another apparent reason for this superstition is that during the Yuan dynasty, the relatives of prostitutes were forced to wear a green hat. In China, language and symbolism are connected, and superstitions formed around homophone words are very common.

The Pregnant Student


Location: New Lebanon, NY

Informant: J.R. – 23 year old male, originally from New York State, attended the same high school as the collector


Urban legend specific to a boarding school located in the remote mountains of the Berkshires in New York State, of which I attended. The rumor apparently occurred at least 3-4 years before my freshman year of high school. This urban legend had been repeated and modified over time; I have recorded the core legend here, as told to me by J.R.:

 Main Piece

There was a student and a teacher that developed a secret, romantic relationship. Because of the close proximity that being on a campus allowed, the relationship carried on for a few months, even though the teacher was married at the time. At some point, the student realized that she was pregnant and pleaded with the teacher to get her a pregnancy test so she could confirm. The teacher did buy the test, but was intercepted by school administration, who was unaware of who the student was or her relationship with the teacher. The administration insisted that the teacher inform them of the student’s identity, which the teacher refused to do. As a result, this teacher was fired and soon after he and his wife divorced.


As the collector participated in this folklore when they were a student, they choose to believe the story is an urban legend specific to the school, rather than a retelling of events that actually occurred. The emergence and continued telling of this story could represent the repressed sexuality that students attending the school feel. There are disciplinary consequences for being caught in a sexual act at the school, this heightened a lot of the sexual tensions or feelings that students may have had by making it somewhat taboo. It fits within the archetypes of “forbidden passion” by dramatizing the passion students may feel for one another in the context of a student-teacher relationship. Perhaps this story is a cautionary tale of what could happen if a student was to break the rules and pursue sexual experiences while on campus. This story also represents the very common idea of a student having a relation with a teacher, which is very popular in boarding school settings. The tension between the faculty and his wife is also a popular point of discussion in boarding schools, as salacious or controversial drama that occurs between faculty remains a point of interest for students attending the school.


Succubus and Incubus

“My uncle, he’s, uh, he’s a truck driver, so he’s constantly on the road and stuff. And, uh, this one time, he is driving with his buddy and they stay at a motel and, you know, it’s probably, like, three o’clock in the morning and he’s just, like, dead asleep. He hears someone, like, shuffling in the room and he’s thinking, like, oh, it’s, like, fucking Greg, like, his guy who’s riding with him. ‘Oh, it’s probably Greg.’ Like, ‘What the fuck is he doing up?’ Like, ‘We need to sleep.’ Um, so he just goes back to sleep and maybe, like, a few minutes later he feels like someone is perching up on his bed, like, someone is knees deep onto his bed. And he starts feeling, like, hands, like, he physically, he physically feels someone, like, about to, like, go on him. And in his mind, like, ‘Greg, like, what the fuck are you doing, dude?’ And he wakes up, or he opens his eyes, and he sees this naked woman on top of him. And at first, like, ‘Dude, oh, this is a fucking a—this is a dream, you know. It’s a fucking dream’ And once he starts to realize, he realizes, like, no I’m awake, lik,e holy shit, no wait– this is actually happening. He sees this woman, like, beautiful, like the way he describes her, he saw, like, her silhouette and he could just feel her hair on his face and it was wet, like, if she just got out of the shower, but one thing that he couldn’t shake off, was the fact that he just smelled, he smelled sulfur. He smelled, like, that… he smelled sulfur. He’s like, ‘What the fuck is that?’ And he’s just, he’s just lying there with this woman on top of him and she’s just, like, there, like, smiling, she’s like, ‘Oh, hi.’ And he’s just trying to register, like, what’s happening, like, ‘What the fuck? Who are…? Like, who the fuck are you?’ And she’s trying to seduce him, like, he felt like she was trying to seduce him, like she wanted to, she wanted to fuck him. You know. And it wasn’t until he kinda started putting two and two together that he was like, ‘Wait, this is not right. Like how the fuck did you get in here? Like you need to get the fu—like get off me! Get the fuck off me!’ But she was like, the way he described her, like, she was so persistent. There was something about her that was just, like, off. Like she was just so hungry for him. You know, to have him. And, like, he just, he got up, he shoved her off and he turned on the light to see, to see who she was, and she just fucking vanished. And he, once he saw that she, like, disappeared he got all his shit and he just ran out. Everything. And then after thinking about it and, like, doing some research, he, for him, he thought it was a, a succubus, you know. He genuinely thought it was a fucking succubus. And, um, it was just like in like in a rural part of America, like, in this motel, like, out in the middle of nowhere, you know. And he was just, he has no idea what the fuck that was. But from the way he described it, it was probably a fucking succubus. This thing that you know, takes men’s souls after having sex with them. You know, uh….

And you know what’s funny, uh, the same kind of story happened to, uh, my friend Valentina. Uh, this was when she was back in high school, she was living at her dad’s house and, um, she was home alone and she felt, you know, pressure being laid on her and she opens her eyes and she sees this guy. And at first she thought it was her boyfriend, Peter. And she looked at him like, ‘Wait, what are you doing here?’ lLke, ‘Peter, what the fuck are you doing here?’ And he’s like, ‘Hey.’ Like, ‘No.’ Like, ‘Don’t worry, like, just go with it, just go with it,’ you know? And she’s like, ‘Wait—like holy shit, you’re not Peter.’ And at first she thought it was just a fucking rapist, like, ‘Oh my God!’ She starts, she’s screaming, like, she pushes him off. And the way she described the way he moved, like, once she pushed him off, like, he jumped, like, into the air, like, this fucking thing, you know? Like ‘hisssssss’ you know? It jumped off and he went under her sister’s bed. Because there’s two beds, so he jumped off and crawled like… crawled under her sister’s bed. And she turned on the light and under her sister’s bed, there’s boxes. You can’t physically go under the bed. And she hasn’t, she doesn’t, she has no idea what the fuck that was.”


These are stories that my informant heard from his uncle and from a friend. My informant is very open to the idea of supernatural occurrences and, although he is aware that the storytellers were likely exaggerating, he believes there is probably some truth to the tales they shared with him.

The incubus and succubus are popular characters in folklore and can be traced back several hundred years. Possibly originating as an excuse for adultery, succubi and incubi appear primarily at night and often tempt men & women to betray their spouse. They are possibly related to the vampire.


For more about the succubus:



And the incubus:


Unfaithful Women in Cameroon

Many women and children wear wraps around their waist—kind of like when people tie towels around their waste, but we call it a “wrappa”—and if a woman’s wrappa falls off in public she has believed to have committed adultery. I’m not sure where the origin of this was, but I guess they thought that if your rappa was loose enough to fall off, then you’re a whore or a prostitute because you need to get it on and off easily. In the times that this belief was serious, the woman as usually stoned in the middle of the village—stoned to death—or was just shamed into leaving the actual village, so this offense is very serious because I come from a polygamous area, and adultery is seen as the most humiliating thing you can do to your husband and his other wives and their whole family.



Polygamy is not something that American’s understand very well. We are a monogamous culture. However, like in this village in Cameroon, adultery is taken very seriously here. Not only does it violate religious code but it violates moral code as well. As opposed to in Cameroon, women in the United States are not physically abused for their transgressions. However, it does seem more socially acceptable for an American man to be unfaithful to his wife. While women have gained much more equality over the years, there still remains this male-dominant atmosphere that stigmatizes women being unfaithful—men can do it, but a woman is called a whore if she is unfaithful.


I find this belief to be quite ridiculous. Just because a piece of clothing fits loosely on a women does not mean that she is more sexually “devious” than the women who wraps herself up tightly in her clothing. Say the weather is unbearably hot: why would anyone want to wear anything that fits tightly around his or her body? I find it incredibly stupid that this is this becomes something by which people can judge women and accuse them of being unscrupulous or immoral.

Man Cheating Joke

Transcribed Text:

“So, this man and this woman get married and they’re totally in love with each other. And, when they first move in together after their married, the man tells the woman “Ok, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m willing to share my entire life with you and everything with you, as long as you promise me one thing.” And the woman says “What?” He’s like “Ok, I have this box. And I’m going to keep it under our bed. And I need you to promise me that you’re never going to look inside of that box.”  And the woman says “yeah sure, sounds easy enough. That’s fine.” So, many, many years go by. And, the husband is out a lot. The woman is basically at home, by herself all the time, which is really sad and depressing. Anyways, so like, the woman finally one day, is cleaning up, and under the bed she notices that box. This is like ten years later. And she’s like “Oh wow, I totally forgot about this.” And being alone, she gets curious, and finally decides to open the box. And inside, she sees, three empty beer bottles, and a wad of cash. She counts it out, and it’s about 2000 dollars. And she’s like “holy shit, this is two thousand dollars. Is he planning on leaving me, or like, what does he have all this money for, he’s never told me about it before? What’s going on.” So she’s like freaking out. Um… and she’s like thinking why does he want this to be a secret from her. So when he finally gets home late that night, she kind of just can’t keep it in anymore, and she finally confesses. “Hey, uh, I’m so sorry. I finally looked inside that box. I know you told me never to do that, but I did, and I just really need to know. What’s the deal with like those three beer bottles?” And so, he said to her, “Ok… I guess I have some fessing up to do. Um…I, every time I was unfaithful to you, I- I kept a beer bottle inside that box. “ Um…and she just started crying, and cuz, there were three beer bottles in there. And so she’s like oh my god, he cheated on me! But at the same time, you know what, she loved him, forgave him, and-and, they, they went to bed that night, like as a couple, they forgave each other. Him for uh, for her looking in the box, and her to him for like cheating on her. Anyway, so like, uh…in the middle of the night, she kind of just like, wakes up and realizes, wait, so what was all the money for? So she kind of like wakes him up. “Hey honey, wha-what was the money for?” And he’s like “shit,” because uh, he thought he got out of it. So he told her, “ok honey, here’s the deal. Every time I put a bottle in the box, and the bottle- uh, the box got full, I went to the recycling place, and got it redeemed for cash. Haha, and that’s that.”

The informant says she remembers hearing this joke freshman year of high school. She also remembers that it was popular in her high school and that it was one of her favorite jokes to tell to her peers to see their reactions. She thinks it’s funny in how the story goes in a direction that is not expected. The audience is left wondering what the wad of cash means after the wife asks about the bottles, and when the punch line is delivered, it comes with a sense of bewilderment and unexpectedness. She says that it is also a quite lengthy joke, which serves the purpose distracting the audience from the twist and the punchline of the joke.

It makes sense that this joke is circled around in this age group and older, as this type of joke with adultery and money tends to cause more humor in a teenage and adult group. It is a joke that would be told in a normal school or casual setting amongst a group of friends. The punch line causes chuckles and senses of bewilderment and amusement amongst the audience, as it isn’t expected. It also has a theme of couples and sex, which is a big topic in teenage and young adult society. This is an example of age group folklore, where the joke is targeted towards a specific range of ages. Children wouldn’t be expected to understand it. Therefore, to understand the joke, one would have to understand the concept of sex and cheating, which is usually something people learn towards middle, high school and college.