Bang, Marry, Kill

A reader writes: “Among all the other cruelties in (and out of) school, the kids are now playing “bang (fuck), marry, or kill” — naming 3 girls and then the guys have to say which they would do to which. My daughter said she always gets “killed”.


16 thoughts on “Bang, Marry, Kill

  1. This is sad and cruel, but there’s nothing new about it. Kids did this when I was in grade school 20 years ago.

  2. As Matt mentioned, this is not new. Nor is it a game played by boys about girls exclusively. Girls also play it quite frequently.

  3. I’m older than the first two respondents, and female, but if the same crude “bang, marry or kill” game was going on in my grade school in the south in the 1970s I was not aware of it.

    It’s interesting that this post comes so shortly after the one about the “male gaze” art show… all this objectification, commodification seems to me as much a problem of modern capitalism as of gender. Thoughts?

  4. It wasn’t part of my early 80s high school experience. (There was a ‘who would you rather sleep with’ “game” but in that context there was also a bit of playing with bisexuality: who would you rather sleep with: Madonna or Axl Rose? … I don’t recall a dichotomy between sleeping with and marrying, nor was there a kill option.)

  5. I don’t remember this game (but I do remember permutations along the lines of “which of two unpleasant things would you rather do/suffer if you had to choose”). I note that there are now numerous websites devoted to the b/m/k game, though. It doesn’t seem to be directed more to one sex than the other.

    Speaking of unexpected distinctions, Lisa, hearing of this game reminds me of something I once read (in a famous novel perhaps? wish I could remember) to the effect that there are three women in each man’s life: the woman he loves, the woman he marries, and the woman he *wants* to marry.

  6. I was in high school in the 70s and we girls (I confess) played a game called “suicide.” You would contemplate sleeping with some guy (or was it just kissing?) and got to say “suicide” only so many times, before you were “out.” I might be forgetting some of the rules of this charming game. Is it commendable that we contemplated killing ourselves, not the object of our non-affection?

  7. Same game (as when I was in elementary school), different name. It was not limited to little boys (the girls would also play, and taunt the boys with their answers), and frequently involved positing children (or people–like celebrities) of the same sex in order to force what were perceived as uncomfortable choices, which would be followed up by taunting.

  8. I was in school in the 1950’s and early 60’s and I don’t recall any such games, but having been a very very introverted and bookish child, I am far from an authority on what games the “in” children played back then.

    In fact, when I venture out of my reading room/cave from time to time, I am always unpleasantly surprised by the degree to which the mentality of the masses revolves around violence, sex and money.

  9. I’ve only heard of this game in the context of adult female friends playing it about famous men, where it becomes shag, cliff or marry – cliff meaning kill, by throwing him over a cliff.

  10. We had this at my school too, except that we called it “Do, die or marry.” I can confirm that the game is typically gender-neutral. I’d also add that, in my experience, marking someone for death was not hateful in any way worth worrying about.

  11. I am just chiming in to agree with other posters this ‘game’ if you can call it that is gender neutral and not new. It’s always sort of excruciating to choose which is the point of hypotheticals; your options are strict and extreme so that you learn things about yourself and each other.

  12. Is it really gender neutral? Being played by multiple genders or reciprocally doesn’t necessarily degender the game itself. (E.g., “shag, cliff, marry” seems a bit less male or patriarchal to my ear; that might be because I heard of “kill, bang, marry” *as* played by boys; see or ).

    The subjects being celebs or other people who don’t get it thrown in their face seems to make it less nasty.

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