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Spin the Bottle and Other Kissing Games from the '60s

Usually I was stuck with some jerk with too many hormones!

In the '50s and /60s, there were several rites of passage into early adolescence.  Beyond flocks of acne and budding breasts, we regularly indulged in several kissing games to help us get in “practice” for the real adolescent activities that would take place later.

One of them was "Spin the Bottle." You remember this game. We got started when we were in sixth grade at Carpenter. Sitting around in a huge circle, someone would spin the bottle, and if you were lucky, that thick Coke or Pepsi glass would point toward one of your crushes. Then, you’d both lean into the center of the circle, embrace awkwardly, and plant a wet one on one another. 

Rarely would the bottle point toward the person of your dreams. You usually got stuck with some guy with cooties. Of course, at that time, if you landed on the same sex, you had to spin again.  No same sex kissing at those parties, unless you wanted to be taunted for being a “lezzy” or a “queer.” More about that later.

Sometimes the guys would get bold and try a little tongue action, which, at the time, really grossed me out.  Who wants some guy trying to tackle your tonsils when you’re twelve?

A more extended version of Spin the Bottle was "Seven Minutes in Heaven." According to Wikipedia, this game was first played in Cincinnati in the early 50’s.  Two people would go into a closet, or some enclosed space and do whatever they liked for seven minutes.  This game became really popular at Walter Reed, and I remember playing it all the time at a number of parties.

Usually, you’d either spin a bottle, or draw cards to see who would become your lucky partner One time, I got stuck with some guy who really turned my stomach. Thankfully, the light bulb was broken in the closet, so we spent most of the time trying to repair it. Saved by electricity!

We also played “Truth or Dare” which would often take an interesting turn. One player would start the game by asking player two: "Truth or Dare?" If player two chooses "truth", then player one poses an embarrassing question and player two had to answer. Sometimes we’d ask things related to romance, but sometimes things would get far more personal, like asking about bra sizes, falsies, or various sexual escapades.

If player two chooses "dare", then player one suggests an embarrassing task, which player two was required to perform. After answering the question or performing the dare, player two takes player one's place, asks "Truth or Dare?" of another player, and the game continues. A player cannot choose truth more than twice in a row.

Some of our dares including various kissing activities, or doing something really gross like eating something outlandish from the kitchen. Catsup and peanut butter together made for an interesting task, along with displaying the rash of hickies you got from your date the previous Saturday.

Another game, which I don’t remember very well, was “Post Office.” This was very popular in the 40’s and 50’s and probably preceded these other games. I’m sure my older siblings knew it well!

Usually, the kids were divided into a girl group and a boy group. One group goes into another room, such as a bedroom, which is called "the post office". Then, each person from the other group individually visits "the post office" where they get a kiss from everyone in the room. They then return to the original room.

Once everyone in the first group has taken a turn, the other group begins sending members to the first room.

I’m sure a number of kissing techniques developed from this game, along with several strains of the flu, mono or the common cold.

What kissing games do you remember? Did you like them? Do tell! I dare ya!

teresa mcgrath October 14, 2012 at 01:26 PM
neat article mary...those games were fun, and they spun another game called telephone trouble...we'd play with karen and karl, ellen devery, dennis, audrey, robbie, daryl, steven, and david....lots of fine memories
Mary McGrath October 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Oh, I remember the name Telephone Trouble, but forget how it was played...So glad we had grandchildren around on Pacoima Court, since there weren't many kids our own age...
teresa mcgrath October 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
we would put dares on some paper, and stick them in the rotary holes of all nine #'s/letters, and roll dice i believe...lots of fun
Mary McGrath October 15, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Oh right, now I remember! Thanks Teresa...
Marc Chagall October 15, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Good way to find a beard.
Nile Kinnick October 15, 2012 at 05:52 PM
No same sex kissing at those parties, unless you wanted to be taunted for being a “lezzy” or a “queer.” The birth of bullies. Good to know.
Mary McGrath October 18, 2012 at 07:14 PM
If you didn't fit into the social norms, you were always teased...

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