Recently I decided to go on my annual vintage shopping spree, otherwise known as rummaging through my old clothing in storage. Aside from my sweet bellbottom Levi’s and baby doll shirts, I came across a bag of old accessories. Included in this bag of rhinestones and butterfly rings were my favorite bangles circa sixth grade: my jelly bracelets. So, a few nights ago when my girlfriends went to Adams Morgan for a few drinks, I thought there was no better time to break out my retro gear.
While sitting at the bar with my other singles, I noticed the attention I was getting from the guys. As the night went on, more and more guys were hitting on me and complimenting on my full round lips. Having larger lips, it is nothing new for men to comment on them, but these guys were going over the edge. One such gentleman named Jeff asked me how long I could go without my lips getting numb. His wingman Tony followed up with, “Hey man, if her lips go numb, she can go all night.”
After telling these rejects to go to hell and telling the bartender to cut them off, I took my girls into the ladies room to dish about what had happened. Just when all of us had decided that men are from a place dirtier than Mars and that lesbianism is something to look into, a girl with a blatant fake ID came out of a stall. Overhearing our conversation, she glanced at my wrist and smirked. She grabbed my hand and shrieked, “Well duh! You’re wearing blue and black.”
Acknowledging the blank look on my face, she informed me in her bubbly highlighted blonde way that jelly bracelets have taken on a new connotation. Apparently jelly bracelets’ colors are now code for a variety of sex acts one is willing to perform. On that particular evening I was wearing blue, a.k.a. oral, and black, a.k.a. with a condom.
You can image my shock and awe when I found my throwback accessories beginning to backfire. In today’s world of Hilton sex tapes, Internet porn and the like, could the next frontier be true? Do our accessories translate into easy access?
That next morning I pulled up to my laptop with a dark brew of coffee and began to research the new bracelet craze. A popular teen site instructed me that pink is rimming, red and black means 69, red is no condom, and green is upper body only.
I immediately got dressed, went out and drove myself to the nearest mall. There they were – young girls on the brink of 13 walking around in belly shirts and jelly bracelets being hit on by boys. Most of the boys looked young enough to have a bedtime, but others looked college bound.
The boys were flirting in a childlike way, whispering to one another and occasionally taking the bracelets from the girls. I decided to go tourist and ask the girls where the nearest coffee stand was, and while I was there, I asked about their bands. After asking if they were friendship bracelets, the girls giggled and rolled their eyes at me.
One girl, wearing a belly ring and T-shirt that said “available,” said, “They aren’t friendship bracelets, but they are friendly.”
I proceeded to the nearest cheesy jewelry store I could find. Upon purchasing a myriad of colored jellies, I went back to the GW campus, sat in a busy quad and slowly sipped on an iced tea. I wondered, “Do college guys and gals resort to jellies for a hook up?”
On an average Tuesday I walked over to the student center wearing my newly purchased 69 and vintage oral. I rolled up my sleeves, dug into my gossip magazine and waited for the men to come a-calling. Believe it or not, within a half-hour, I met Billie, a sophomore with an eye for fashion. Billie pulled up at the table next to me, chatted about the celeb on my magazine page and casually asked me out for later that night. I asked him why he approached me instead of any of the other lovely ladies around. He said, “You’re wearing my colors.”
Needless to say, I didn’t take him up on the offer. I decided one more catwalk was needed to see if all it took was a bracelet to get a date. So off to the library I went. Up in the newspaper section I met Gary. Gary wasn’t as roundabout as Billie. Gary simply asked my name, then asked if I wanted to go back to his place. Bracelets don’t just say “Live Strong” anymore – they say, “anytime, anyplace.”
When I first starting wearing jelly bracelets, I was told to watch my back and look both ways before crossing. The only message the jellies expressed was that Madonna was cool and Tiffany was hot. Now, in this day and age of e-dating and phone sex, even my childhood accessories have lost their innocence.
So, to all you girls out there wearing those jellies as a passive aggressive attempts to hook up, me and the rest of the children of the ’80s are calling, and we want our bracelets back. And for those of my fellow cabbage patch kids out there – still look both ways before crossing, but forget about watching your back. Check your wrist. Jellies have grown stickier with age.