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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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Your search for Humor, trick, mock rite-of-passage returned 1 result.

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"INCHY PINCHY"

This practical joke begins when one person convinces
another (usually a younger/naive) person that they are
going to be initiated into a special group. The "initiate"
is taken into a darkened room, with perhaps only a candle
for a light, and seated on the floor. Others come into the
room (quietly and reverentially) and seat themselves in
a circle, in which the "initiate" is included. (Everyone
but the person who is the target of the joke is a co-conspirator.)
After everyone is seated in a circle, the
leader (seated next to the victim) announces that the
ceremony is about to begin. He instructs the "initiate"
to copy his motions exactly, doing to his neighbor what
is done to him. The leader, then, reaches out and grabs
the victim's cheek and gently pulls on it, saying
solemnly, "Inchy Pinchy." This should be intoned slowly--
"In...chy Pin...chy." The victim pulls the cheek of
the person next to him and does likewise, and the motion is
passed around the circle. Again the leader reaches out
and grabs another part of the victim's face, perhaps the
forehead or nose, and says "Inchy Pinchy." Again the
motion is passed around the circle. This continues as
many times as the leader wants. When the "ritual" is
over, the victim is instructed to look in the mirror to
verify how the ceremony has transformed him. When he
does so, he realizes that each time the leader touched
his face, that he had been smeared with lipstick (or any
other substance that can be concealed in the hand). At the
moment of realization everyone shouts "INCHY PINCHY!"

Submitter comment: This was a joke I learned at a slumber party when I was
in seventh grade. My older brother and I successfully
played it on my younger brother, Greg, who reminded me
of it when I asked for any possible folklore items,
especially children's songs/games. A copy of a story he
wrote about this experience has been submitted as
supplementary material.

Where learned: OHIO ; COLUMBUS

Keyword(s): Humor, trick, mock rite-of-passage

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 00001965CA

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