When I was in college, I befriended a guy named Dave. Like most bros in higher education, Dave strove to be the life of the party, but he was never content to drink the most or play the loudest music. Instead, Dave gained notoriety through his outstanding tricks. Dave could pull tablecloths without disturbing the plates and glasses. He could appear to levitate. He could also turn water into whiskey. Everyone, from lowly freshmen to jaded seniors, were in thrall of Dave’s magical power. I was fortunate enough to become his apprentice, and now I hope to pass Dave’s fantastic tricks off to you.
There is nothing quite like pulling off a successful trick, no matter how inane or juvenile it is. Nearly everyone loves to be baffled by a clever trick at a bar or party. Here are four tricks with minimal tools that can turn anyone into a party star.
1. Folding Tricks
Let’s start with something easy. The ancient art of paper folding is all but divine in the East, and to most Westerners not blessed with adept fingers, transforming paper into fantastic shapes is akin to magic. The Web is rich with simple instructions for beginners. Dave was particularly practiced at dollar-bill folding, and he often turned his tip money into eccentric shapes for fun.
Of course, paper art isn’t the only way folding can be a party trick. For a wilier performance, you should bet your friends that you can tie a napkin in a knot without letting go of the ends. The key is to cross your arms before you grasp the napkin’s ends; then, when you uncross your arms, the napkin automatically forms a knot.
2. Match Tricks
Though cigarette smoking has long become an unpopular habit, most bars continue to stock small boxes or pockets of matches for marketing purposes. You can use these nearly ubiquitous items as tools for other simple party tricks. There are dozens of match-centered tricks to practice and employ. Here are a few
- You can correctly guess which way matches are facing without opening the box. Simply try to balance the box on a fulcrum, like a knife, and you’ll find the heavier side has the match heads.
- You can light a match from a flameless candle. Light the candle and let it burn, and then blow it out. Place an unburnt match head an inch or two above the candle’s smoking wick, and the leftover head should cause the match to flame.
- You can form a square with two matches without breaking them. Bend the matches in the middle to 90 degree angles and place them together to form a square. This works best with paper matches which fold easier.
3. Smoke Tricks
Perhaps because smoking is so uncommon nowadays, people are more astounded than ever when you can perform tricks with your exhales. However, because it is impolite and unsafe to smoke cigarettes around others, you should be sure to procure a smokeless e-cigarette (which provides a more satisfying experience, anyway) and only smoke indoors where it is not prohibited.
The most popular smoke trick is the smoke ring. To do this, you must inhale a small amount of smoke (or vapor), pull your tongue to the back of your mouth, form your lips into an O, and cough slightly. Once you master the basic maneuver, you can add other features to your rings, like spin (move your tongue with the ring and push your jaw out) or longevity (move your tongue and jaw out with the ring).
There are a handful of other cool smoke tricks besides the ring, including dragon breath, cloud chasing, ghost face, and more. The vape community is an excellent source for new and unusual smoke tricks.
4. Whistling Tricks
Whistling seems like a quaint pastime, but those who can hail taxis (or carry tunes) with their lips and air certainly earn admiration. Besides the simple, melodic lips-only method that most people know, there are three distinct ways to produce an ear-shattering whistle:
- Fingers method. Create a triangle using two fingers of both hands — e.g. point your middle fingers together, or point your pinkies together. Then, use the times of your fingers to push your tongue back into your mouth. Curling your lips over your teeth, exhale sharply.
- Teeth method. Wrap your lips firmly around your teeth, and curl your tongue into a downward sloping arch with the tip pressing just behind your bottom teeth. Then, make a seal around your tongue with your lips, and leave a single pocket between your tongue and lower teeth. Blow air over your tongue.
- Grass method. Pick a long, strong blade of grass, and hold one tip of it with the pads of your thumbs. Holding the backs of your thumbs to your mouth, blow, and feel the grass vibrate