In our emails talking about Hide, Keep and Give Away, Pete McCabe wrote:

I can’t believe you didn’t take this just one more step and show the spectator a series of photos of celebrities, and ask them who they would fuck/marry/kill. Now that would be a trick.

Yes, that would be a trick. And now it is.


You predict someone's choices in a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill.


I want to talk about the method first before getting into a detailed description of how I've performed this. (I've only done it one time.) The method I used is the app iForce by Greg Rostami. What iForce is, essentially, is a way to display any one of 8 drawn or written predictions on your iphone in a manner that seems like you're just turning over the phone or opening the app. Unfortunately, I can't tell if this app is still available. If it is, pick it up, it's a great app. If it's not and you don't already have it, don't worry. In a game of Fuck/Marry/Kill there are only 6 possible outcomes. So you just need an index that can hold six predictions (a pocket index, a wallet index, or whatever). I prefer iForce because it's easy, there's nothing more to carry, and I can do multiple-phases. However if I was doing it without the phone I would make a fake prediction on a business card then switch in the correct one while talking things through with the spectator. 


I send this picture to my friend's phone. 

"Take a good look at those dudes," I say. "Is there a row you prefer?"

"Prefer?" she says.

"Yeah," I say. "Like which one has the hotter guys?"

"I don't know... the lower one, I guess." 

"You think those guys are hot? Wow, you've got issues." [Judging her based on her choices when she only has the choice of shitty options is a running bit in this routine. It's fun.]

"Okay," I say, "Let's make this harder and use the top row. I don't want your burning desire to make things too obvious. And I don't want to have to reupholster my couch if you get it wet from whoever you're hot for in the bottom row. So just take a real close look at each guy in the top row. Give me a minute while I do something."

I fuss around with my phone for about a minute and then set it down. 

"You know, scientists believe attraction is most often based on how we think our features will mesh, genetically, with those of another. This is an evolutionary trait intended to produce the most attractive offspring. So I think I can tell by your facial features what features you would find most attractive in someone as a long-term mate or a sexual partner. Can you smile for me? Okay, now pout. Now crinkle your nose. Perfect. Can you raise one eyebrow? It doesn't matter, just try anyway. Great."

I then maneuver myself over to her so I can look at her phone with her. I look down at the picture and back up at her a few times as if I'm sizing things up. Then I say, "Okay, just do me a favor, can you try and make this face that Charlie Manson is making here?" I go back to looking at the picture and then back at her. "I think I've got it now," I say.

I pick up my phone, make some quick annotations and set it back on the table face down.

"We're going to play Fuck/Marry/Kill with these guys in the top row. Which is only appropriate because I'm sure they'd like to fuck, marry, and kill you. Just probably not in that order. And I believe I have been able to predict which person you would assign to each of those roles, just based on your facial features and how I think that you perceive your own face, and in turn, these faces." 

"So let's start," I say. "Which of these guys do you want to fuck?"

She considers it. "Ugh... I don't know. David Berkowitz."

"Wow," I say. "What is it you find so attractive? That he killed six people or that he's a fucking lunatic who thought a dog was talking to him? You really need to up your standards. Whatever. Who would you marry?"

"I guess this guy. Gacy."

"ooooookayyyyy... uhm, sweetheart, he killed 34 people. And worse than that he was a clown. That's what you consider marriage material? Look, you're free to make your own decisions, but you have self-esteem issues. This is real talk. Okay, let's move on. So you would kill Henry Lee Lucas? What's the problem? He didn't murder enough people to be your type?" 

"So you'd marry John Wayne Gacy; you'd fuck the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz; and you'd kill Henry Lee Lucas. Correct?"

She agrees. I turn over my phone and she sees this picture.

That is where I ended the trick this weekend and it went over well. It's not a huge miracle, but it's a fun little trick. The nice thing about iForce is that you can instantly repeat it with a different group of three things. I think in the future I will repeat it with two more phases that are increasingly strange. I might suggest that it's almost too easy to run this test with people as the objects, so let's try to go a little deeper, and the second round would be Fuck, Marry, Kill: Apple, Pear, Banana. Then after I successfully predict that I'd suggest that even that is too easy because the shapes and symbolism behind those objects are so ingrained in us by our culture, so let's go with something more abstract. Fuck, Marry, Kill - This, That, or The Other Thing? "Just as I predicted," I'd say, "You chose to Marry This, Fuck That, and Kill The Other Thing."

Method Part 2

Here's how to keep track of your predictions. There is probably an easier way to do this, but it didn't occur to me, so this is how I did it. In iForce the prediction will have a value of 1-6. Or if you're using an index, you'll have each prediction in a position that corresponds with the numbers 1-6.

Whatever the options in the game are, think of these as 1, 2, and 3 going from left to right. Your prediction are as follows.

  1. Prediction One: F1, M2, K3
  2. Prediction Two: F1, M3, K2
  3. Prediction Three: F2, M1, K3
  4. Prediction Four: F2, M3, K2
  5. Prediction Five: F3, M1, K2
  6. Prediction Six: F3, M2, K1

This might sound complicated but if so, it's only because my writing is unclear. In reality it's pretty straightforward. You present the three possibilities to the person in the same 1, 2, 3 order that your predictions were based on. 

For the first round, Fuck, each object has a value of 0, 2, and 4 going from left to right. After they choose their Fuck-target, remember the number associated with it. Then in the second round, Marry, whatever objects are left have a value of 1 and 2, going from left to right. You just add the fuck-value to the marry-value and that will tell you which prediction to use.

So, in the example above, you show her three serial killers. You mentally label them 0, 2, and 4 for the Fuck round. She picked the middle one, so you remember the value 2. For the Marry round, whatever is left has a value of 1 and 2 from left to right. She chose the person on the left to marry, so that's a value of 1. Added to the 2 from the first round, that gives you a total of 3, so you show prediction 3. 

In the example above I present 6 images to them at first. I do this just because it's more people to talk about initially with the spectator, so it's more stuff to joke around about. You could easily set up iForce so you could give them a free choice of either row, but I don't even bother. I just ask them which row they find more attractive, and then depending on which they choose, I will say that we want to use the row they find more attractive or we don't.

Thanks again to Pete McCabe for suggesting the effect and Greg Rostami for creating the app that makes the whole thing self-contained.