Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stop Looking At My Crotch!

We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game


- Joni Mitchell, "The Circle Game"







Joni had it all wrong. You can only look down. And get punched.

Guys called it "The Circle Game."

Girls, for some reason, called this childhood game "Stop looking at my crotch!"

My associate Caprice says that they're basically the same game, but in the guys version, victims get punched whereas in the kinder, gentler female version, victims merely get the verbal reprimand to "Stop looking at my crotch!"

Whatever. Vive la difference, etc.

It's experiencing a revival. Just this week, two colleagues experienced it at events as disparate as a wedding and a goth dance club. Perhaps this golden oldie game is enjoying a resurgence because of new-fangled references to it on Fox TV's Malcolm in the Middle (which gets bonus points for its politically incorrect depiction of someone punching a a wheelchair-bound victim!). Who knows. The important thing to remember is, it's back, so be on your lookout!

The Rules of the Game


According to Clare Daly on the great online site The Law of the Playground ("The Least Coherent Encyclopedia of Playground Insults on the Internet") - also available as an import book of puerile pranks compiled by Limey Jonathan Blyth (a great book, BTW, I purchased it for my Jinx! research):

The object of the game is to get the victim to "see" the magic circle, made from your thumb and index finger (in the classic "OK" sign). The magic circle is only "active" when the victim looks directly at it when it is held below waist level.

The victim’s attention is drawn to the magic circle using diversion techniques such as pointing out untied shoelaces, dropping coins etc, anything where one must look below waist level. The magic circle can then be introduced into the victim’s field of vision. When the victim looks directly at the magic circle, you are permitted to punch them on the arm for their gullibility. A pain in the arse to explain, breathtakingly simple in practice.

Variations abound. For example, a site called Kempa Dot Com has this description:
Much like the old school game Tip 21 I have ran across so many different rules to this game, some of them are...

1.After punching someone you have to "wipe off" your punch.
2. Using 2 hands to make a bigger circle makes a 10 point bubble which gives you 10 free punches.
3. Holding both your arms together in a large circle and counting to 10 out loud activates a 100 point bubble. (This is best done standing across a room from someone because of the following rule...
4. Any bubble may be popped and the punch points are transferred to the other person.
5. If someone grabs hold of your finger while you are popping their bubble they get to hit you for the entire duration they can hold onto your finger.
6. All bubbles must be below eye sight (but theres also)
7. All bubbles must be below shoulder level (and even still)
8. All bubbles must be below waist level.
9. No bubble can be forced into someone's eye sight.
10. You can form a bubble and put it on your own eye which gives you goggles to look down and find potential bubbles to pop.

Thats all I can remember right now, but I know I've heard another 10 or 20 rules in the last few year. So if you break this game out with someone who didnt grow up in the same neighborhood, make sure the two of you are usuing the same rules or else a 100 punch burst could be coming your way.


A site called "The Game" also has an incredibly detailed analysis of this playground insult that is now sweeping the Nation as "hot" trend. So read up on it, practice practice practice, and get with the program!

Further sources for "The Circle Game":
The Game
- the best info is here!
The Law of the Playground

Kenpa Dot Com

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