• U.S.

Parents: Brace Yourselves

2 minute read

Those colorful plastic bracelets popularized by Madonna and Avril Lavigne have taken on a risque new twist. The bangles convey a not-so-secret sexual code depending on their color, indicating different levels of intimacy starting from hugs. In a game some kids call Snap, they yank the rubbery bracelets from the wrists of fellow students to indicate which kind of sex they would like to have. Grabbing a red bracelet is asking for a lap dance, for example, and a blue one can mean oral sex. The code has even spread internationally.

In the U.S. the items are frequently referred to as “jelly bracelets”; overseas, they’re “shag bracelets”–a term familiar to anyone who has seen an Austin Powers movie.

While most kids seem to take the code as merely an inside joke, some schools like Fort McCoy in Marion County, Fla., have banned the bracelets. “It’s a hot-button topic here,” says school-board member Sue Mosley, who has heard complaints from parents at middle schools. Some kids defend the bracelets as just kitschy accessories. “I’ve been wearing my bracelet since eighth grade,” says 15-year-old Roby Behrens of Los Angeles. “It’s a fashion thing. You don’t need them to have sex, but people do use them to kiss or get to third base.”

–By Jeffrey Ressner

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