Remember Snap Bracelets?

Remember snap bracelets (or slap bracelets if that’s what you called them)?

I do.

Snap bracelets were like the Huns. No one knew where they came from, and no one knows what happened to them, but when they were here, no one was safe.

A snap bracelet was a long strip of plastic encased in tight fabric, usually with a fancy print of brilliant color. The snap bracelet had two states – straight and curved. Both states were function of the structure of the plastic strip. When you applied pressure to the middle of the plastic strip, it would snap into a curved shape, like a bracelet, with a satisfying snapping sound.

The proper technique was to snap the snap bracelet over one’s wrist. I generally did not wear bracelets or jewelry of any kind, except a Goofy watch with hands that went counterclockwise around a reverse clock face, which I guess was really clockwise within the Goofy-watch frame of reference. But I wore these snap bracelets.

To this day I have no idea what possessed me to collect and wear snap bracelets. Perhaps it was because the snap bracelet was not just a bracelet. Perhaps I saw snap bracelets as accessories of action. Perhaps I saw the snapping action as a symbol of my own ability to snap into action whenever pressure was applied to my middle. Or perhaps it was because everyone else was wearing them.

The snap bracelets transcended gender, economic status and perceived level of coolness.  They were our armbands in an age when there was nothing for us to wear armbands for. And adults found them irritating.

I vaguely remember that some schools had banned snap bracelets because of student injuries. I don’t know what kind of snap bracelets were being peddled in those districts. The only injuries the snap bracelets in my school could cause would be a black eye from someone who was not amused by the snapping sound and bright colors. Maybe that was what happened at those schools.

At the bus stop we discussed technique for keeping the curve sharp.

“Last night I put my social studies book on top of it and left it there all night.”

“Interesting. I put mine in the freezer.”

“Why do you guys have to do that? Don’t they stay curved?”

“Obviously you haven’t been using snap bracelets that much. Can your parents not afford them?

“Shut up.”

And then one day I turned around and the snap bracelets were gone. I never got a chance to say goodbye. I don’t even remember them going out of style. The snap bracelets had just vanished into thin air, never to be seen again, except in my memories and eBay.

15 thoughts on “Remember Snap Bracelets?

  1. I only vaguely recall snap bracelets. Perhaps they were a bit after my time. I do, however, remember jelly bracelets. We used to wear bunches of them at a time. I also recall, in middle school, wearing bandanas around are thighs and wrists. Oh yeah, and Swatch Watches.

  2. Remember when people used to wear those yellow “LiveStrong” bracelets? And then that sparked a whole fashion fad of other charity bracelets in different colors? What a bunch of [expletive].

  3. My grandma used to have a couple of snap bracelets laying on her bookshelf (probably some she picked up after us grandkids), we played with them all the time. One day I noticed a new one laying there that had a cool ruler design, so I picked it up and slapped it against my wrist…only to find that it was actually a real ruler that happened to be the same exact size and shape of the snap bracelets. After I quit moaning from the pain I went and convinced all of my cousins to try it too, then laughed when they experienced the same thing I did. Sometimes I can’t help but think my grandma very purposefully placed it there out of her annoyance for the real bracelets.

  4. I am eagerly anticipating your pogs post. Do I sense a sticker collection one coming on as well?

    Back in the day, I remember hearing that slap bracelets were invented by a gym teacher. I do believe our school banned them as well.

    1. Yes…I did have a sticker collection. But more than anything else the Garbage Pail Kids clamor for some long overdue exposure.
      I don’t recall if my school banned the bracelets or not. Perhaps they figured if we killed each other it would mean less papers to grade.

  5. I’ve lived through slap bracelets, bandannas and even LiveStrong bracelets for causes (the last one is still around and strangely, costs a fortune). I feel a little old 🙂
    Now, I see all the kids sporting multi-coloured rubber bands that supposedly support various causes… I miss slap bracelets!

  6. Around 2 years ago whilst looking at potential universities we got handed some snap bracelets… suffice to say we wore them all day and decided to apply to that university! 😛 hehehe

    1. That is quite the marketing strategy. To think of all those schools wasting money with celebrity profs and state of the art chemistry buildings. No wonder tuition is through the roof.

  7. After bringing up this rather painful fad (a lot of them were not plastic, but thin strips of metal that would gradually cut through the fabric and, ultimately, a person’s skin), my students assured me that these bracelets are, in fact, terrorizing elementary schools once again. Except the kids are meaner and more malicious in their use.

    1. Wow…I never knew how dangerous those things were. I thought they were just novelties. It’s interesting and sobering to hear about today’s schools. I’m not sure I would have survived.

  8. THey are back, they come with diiferent quotes these days: like sweet, LOVE,…. Even they have improved on it. They made watches out of it.My kids love the slapbracelets but they are now obsessed about the slapwatches. I bought a couple of them at http://www.s-w-a-p-watch.com and they love them…

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