sometimes a bracelet is just a bracelet
It started a few weeks ago with Oprah. My mother called me in a panic. "It was on Oprah! Those bracelets your daughter is wearing? They have sexual meaning!"
My mother believes all this stuff. She sends me fowards with scare stories that have were debunked by Snopes years ago. I have to explain to her over and over again that my kids will not die from eating Pop Rocks and there will not be a man with one leg, a hook arm and a bottle of chloroform waiting in the back of my car in the mall parking lot.
Yes, my daughter wears about fifty jelly bracelets up and down her arms every day. Most of them are black, as she is in that goth phase.
Supposedly, this is what the bracelet colors stand for:
- yellow: hugging
- Purple: kissing
- Red: lap dance
- Blue: oral sex
- Black: the full monty.
In a game called Snap, if a boy breaks a jelly bracelet off a girls wrist, he basically gets a sexual coupon for that act.
It's become such a problem in some middle schools in Florida, districts started banning the bracelets.
If your daughter is wearing one of these bracelets, it certainly doesn't mean she's having sex, following through on the Snap game, or even knows about the code.
But experts say it's a good opportunity for you to have that all important conversation about sex, what you think is acceptable, and best for your family.
Yes, wait until your child comes home wearing some urban legend on her wrist before you have that all important conversation with her. This stuff is going on mostly in middle schools. If you haven't had the sex talk with your kid by then, you may as well start purchasing condoms in bulk now.
I asked the daughter about the bracelet color code. She never heard of such a thing. She checked with friends who go to different school and none of them heard of it. In fact, most of them laughed and thought it was the dumbest thing they ever heard.
The real danger here is not in letting your child wear five-for-a-dollar rubber bracelets; it's in believing every rumor that comes out of the mill, ever teenage sex urban legend that comes through in an email. If you start giving credence to every Oprah manufactured, forwarded 100 times warning about what your kid is wearing, listening to, watching, eating, reading, or even thinking about, you will start to view your teen as as a sexually active, satan worshipping, drug taking rebel. And maybe he or she is. But you're not going to find that out from looking at some checklist that says if your kid is tired he must be using heroin, and you're not going to find it out from looking at your daughter's jewelry.
I trust my daughter. I trust that when I look at the twenty black jelly bracelets running up and down her arms that she hasn't had sex twenty times. Or even one time. I trust my daughter enough to laugh at Oprah and Dr. Phil and all the other "experts" who want to scare you into thinking your child is the devil's spawn. What I don't trust is a school admistrator who would immediately ban the wearing of jelly bracelets upon hearing this rumor without looking into it or talking to the students about it. Open communication is the key to raising kids we can trust. That goes for the people who run the schools as well as parents.
Perhaps the reason that kids as young as eight are talking about the "sex bracelets" and referring to the code of color is because the adults keep talking about them and the news is talking about them and yes, the grownups are giving the legend the snowball effect.
Today, it's bracelets. Years ago, it was "sex coupons." Months from now it will be text message codes or the color of your hat and what kind of notebook you have. If you stop building the myths, they will stop creating them.