Young whippersnappers. Wa'n't like that in my day.

Inexpensive, brightly-colored jelly bracelets were a fashion in the 1980s, with girls (generally), who would often sport large numbers of them on arms, legs and, occasionally, anorexic necks. The geegaws started making a North American comeback in the early 2000s, bringing with them an urban legend which claims the bracelets form part of a sex game called "snap."

Supposedly, if someone can snap your bracelet and break it, you have to grant them a specific sexual favour, determined by the colour of the bracelet. The colour code varies, but a common one runs:

Yellow: hug
Purple: kiss
Red: lap dance
Blue: oral sex
Black: intercourse
Clear: whatever

Some schools in Canada and the United States have consequently banned the bracelets. Joann Hipsher, the principal of Malabar Middle School in Mansfield, Ohio defends their decision, saying that she is "trying to promote good character here at school" and therefore students are being told "not to wear the jelly bracelets and not wear them to school anymore"(Mikkelson).

I had the opportunity to put the claim to a group of teenagers in London, Ontario. Most had never heard the urban legend; a few had, but assumed it was a joke. All dismissed it out of hand.

The discussion did wonders for the popularity of one young woman, however, who wore several black bracelets on her arm.

The Snopes Urban Legend site notes that similar stories have spread before, concerning pull-tabs, beer labels, and pop-bottle lid liners. I recognize that at New Orleans' Mardi Gras inebriated females flash their breasts for cheap beads, but I find it difficult to believe that there would be so very many girls willing to have sex because some guy snaps an inexpensive piece of rubbery jewelery.

Besides, it's danged hard to break one of those bracelets, especially with a casual snap.

Um.... Not that I've tried... Or anything.


Barbara Mikkelson. "Sex Bracelets." Urban Legend Reference Page.

A bunch of teenagers. London, Ontario, 2003.

a scar faery notes that the same story circulated in the UK a few years ago. The bracelets were called "Shag bands."

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