Tag Archives: middle school

Bloody Mary

“Okay so when I was younger, in like elementary school or something probably around third or fourth grade I would be scared to go into a certain girls bathroom because the older girls, like the girls in fifth grade, would tell all the younger girls that this girl named bloody Mary lived in the front bathroom of the school. One time I went in there, and to mess with me, they turned the lights off when I was using the bathroom and made ghost sounds so that I would think bloody Mary was coming to get me, and I avoided that bathroom for like the entire rest of the year because I was afraid that I would get sucked into the mirror because that’s what they said would happen if she caught you looking at her. They also would try to get girls to stand in the bathroom and say bloody Mary three times in front of the mirror as a dare which became a big thing throughout the school and if you would do it, it was like you were super cool and not afraid of anything.”

Context: This was an over the phone interview with another classmate of mine who told me about her personal experience in elementary school. All text was transcribed from audio.

This legend (as told through personal significance) speaks to the significance of evoking fear through the supernatural, and how middle schoolers are often gullible or easily manipulated into fearing certain things. It can also be a cautionary tale/dare that is often enacted during gatherings to see who “chickens out,” acting as a litmus test for social standing.

Scaring Sante’s Sedan Screwers

The informant and his friend group would often camp out in a specific friend’s back yard. Whenever they did, they would wait until it’s past midnight, then drive up a mountain in the area called Cap Sante, where they would find cars that are parked and shaking a bit. They would sneak up to these cars, which would be populated with other teenagers or people in their early 20s doing the deed, and flash their flashlights into the windows, then run away and do it to another car after a while.

The friend whose back yard they would camp in was Mormon, and his father was very strict with him about many things. One thing he wasn’t too strict about, however, was camping/outdoor activities. This is why they would camp out at that friend’s house a lot, as it was what they were allowed to do with that friend. The trips to Cap Sante began when they were in middle school, and only one of them could drive, and he only had a driver’s permit, not a license. When they went for a drive, they wanted to go far away so they wouldn’t be caught by the strict father, and they wanted to go away from the town, so they wouldn’t be caught by the police. This narrowed their possible destinations down to just Cap Sante. Once they got there, they noticed the cars that were shaking. They started shining in their flashlights to scare the people away so they wouldn’t use the mountain as their midnight sex spot again. They started doing this regularly, later going to the mountain to find those cars, as opposed to finding those cars when looking for the mountain.

I think a lot of this ritual stems from children enjoying the thrill of rebellion and disobeying rules. The initial drive at night when it wasn’t allowed did this, and shining their flashlights into cars gives a similar thrill to ding-dong ditching, both of which are things that are rebellious because kids are taught to be kind and mind their own business, and these things are neither of those. An extra thrill for middle-school boys is the chance of seeing people having sex, or naked, which they likely hadn’t yet in person at that point.

“Made You Say Pink”

My informant (18), from Maryland, describes a riddle that she and her friends performed in middle school: “It’s not really a joke, but it’s more like a challenge, like a “are you dumb” challenge. So it’s like I bet I can make you say the color pink ‘okay’ okay so then you’re like ‘what’s the color of the sky?’ ‘Blue’ ‘What’s the color of this chair?’ ‘Brown’ ‘What’s the color of my hair?’ ‘Black’ ‘What’s the color of the grass?’ ‘green’ ‘Ha, I told you I could make you say green’ ‘no you didn’t, you told me you would make me say pink’ and that’s how you make them say pink”

“And so it’s like this little thing that my swim friends and I, back in the past, like middle school? We would just always perform this on each other to like try and get the other person and just to make them seem, you know, like it’s more of like one of those ‘stupid tests’”

The informant began by saying this was a joke, and then changed to calling it a challenge, and finally called it a “test”. I think this piece is actually a kind of riddle, because it tests the wits of the person it is performed on, but instead of wordplay, there is a “trick” meant to catch the subject. Because this is used within the informants team, it might imply that performing this trick affords the performer a kind of social capital in the group when they are successful, suggesting that intelligence is valued in the group.

7th Grade Handshake

Context: Informant is a student in Colorado. The informant along with their peers are in 7th grade. The handshake is often used as a greeting, but also a sort of game to play in between passing periods and during recess. The school includes Kindergarten-8th graders.

Handshake: Two videos of the handshake has been attached to this post. Both videos show the handshake from a first person perspective, performing the handshake with a friend. Although the friend changes between the two videos, the handshake remains the same.

Background Information: The informant says they learned the handshake from their peer in 7th grade. The peer says they learned the handshake from their sibling in 8th grade. The informant states that the 7th graders found out that the 8th graders had been doing this handshake, and have henceforth learned and performed it for themselves. The informant has also stated that knowing the handshake, and being able to successfully perform the handshake, makes the individual ‘cool’ in the eyes of their 7th-grade peers.

Thoughts: It’s always interesting to see how children perform folklore. I think it is normal for kids to try to emulate the kids older than them, as well. In an effort to be more ‘grown-up’, they are trying to emulate the older kids. Furthermore, by acting like an 8th grader, a kid is therefore ‘cool’. 7th grade is an interesting transitional period. They are about to be 8th-graders, which will make them the oldest grade at their school. At the same time, the rest of the school being younger means that they are still at a ‘children’s’ school. After 8th grade, they will be freshmen in high school, where the roles will be reversed. It is a crucial moment for these kids to begin their transition into adulthood. They recognize this, but are unable to truly become adults. Therefore, they have tried to define themselves as ‘mature’ through the only means they know how- childish ones. By playing into the game of the 8th grader’s handshake, they are defining themselves as adults in truly childish ways.

I Like your Cut-G

Informant: The informant is my sibling, a Mexican American boy who is 14 years old and currently an 8th grader at a charter school in Los Angeles California. 

Context: The following transcript is a conversation between him and me and his explanation of why he got hit on his head that day at school. I will be referring to him as J in the following transcript of our conversation. 


Me: Can you explain what exactly was done to you today?

J: Today I got hit on the back of my head by one of my friends. He said he did it because I got a new haircut and he liked it. This is usually done to someone who gets a new haircut at school. What happens is that when someone has a new haircut they get hit in the back of the head. The person who hits the person with the new haircut, yells: “I like your Cut-G! I think it’s sort of like meaning that they like your new haircut, but instead of coming upfront and telling each other, we hit each other. Most of this is done with only the guys because the girls don’t hit each other, nor do they come up to us guys to hit us. There are also even videos on Youtube, and I think it even became a trend on TikTok reactions or something. Like even there are sounds for this.

Analysis: I really didn’t find this meme to be all that interesting, but upon analyzing it a bit more, I noticed that this meme stems from stereotyping of boys/men. Men/boys are always taught to never really reveal much of their feeling or talk too much because “that not what men do.” This meme demonstrates how instead of kids and male adults telling each other that they like their haircut, there is this “touch love idea” or more of bro code that is being made when they out of a sudden hit their heads. There is this idea that because it is tough that it is cool.