by Cass Clemmer
I am the girl who put your calculator in a platter of Jell-O. I am the girl who covered your workout bag with so much glitter that you still leave a trail when you go to the gym. I am the girl who convinced you I could pin a glass of water to the wall, only to dump it over your head when you got too close. I am the girl who wrapped your toilet in saran wrap, because the classics should never be forgotten. I am the girl people both love and fear on April Fool’s Day… yes, I am that girl, the one who aspires to be the female version of Jim Halpert.
So many people in the United States are like me; we plan for months perfecting that perfect practical joke, just for the priceless reaction on our victim’s face when they get pranked. We scour YouTube, Buzzfeed, even Facebook for new ideas that our family, friends, and coworkers won’t see coming this year. There are so many of us who relish in the excitement of April Fool’s day and its potential hilarity, but there are also those who don’t. Some people actually despise the holiday, spending its 24-hours in fear of being soaked with water, covered in flour, or having their teeth and hair dyed rainbow hues. Yes, perhaps it seems unimaginable to people like me, but these people DO exist.
Not everyone wants to be pranked.
April Fool’s Day can be a whole whoopee cushion full of fun, but only if you make sure your pranks are pulled on someone you’ve established pranking boundaries with.
“That’s ridiculous!” You might say, “it’s only a joke!” But to some people, your prank may go too far in a way they’re not okay with, and if it does? Then it’s not a joke.
But we aren’t mind readers. Everybody has unique boundaries around their personal space and their bodies, and we need to respect that. I’m not saying you can’t pull some awesome pranks today, but you should do so with individuals with whom you’ve discussed pranking and established borders of “appropriate” pranks. That, my friends, is called a consensual relationship.
By discussing ahead of time situations, actions, and behaviors you and another person are and are not okay with, you can ensure an awesome day of pranks for everyone.
See, April Fool’s day often promotes the fallacy that we are somehow entitled to mess with people’s bodies and personal space, regardless of whether or not they like it. We get away with using their bodies as a battle ground for a cheap laugh by calling it a “prank”, but the idea of messing with someone’s body or space without their permission is also the foundational concept for acts of violence.
When it comes to other people’s bodies, we have to condition ourselves to ask permission. We cannot assume that other people will want something, like something, or need something without having them explicitly communicate that to us. Not only does each individual have a right to say no, but they have the right for that no to be respected.
So, as you continue on the rest of your prank-filled day, remember to respect each other’s boundaries and not use humor as an excuse to mess with someone else’s body and/or personal space. April Fool’s day, as well as other activities, can be so much more fun when you have negotiated boundaries with the people you’re engaging with. Consensual relationships are what it’s about; in life, in love, and, especially today, in pranks.