Few phrases in the English language are more powerful than "I dare you," particularly when uttered in the presence of alcohol and/or people under the age of 25. It's like reason's kryptonite, casting out all concepts of rational behavior and forcing otherwise semi-functional human beings into the most preposterously Darwinian circumstances imaginable, inevitably sending them to either the hospital or the police station (or both, in varying order).
#6. "I Dare You to Tape Yourself to This Carousel While We Spin It With a Car"
A man in Bavaria was loitering in a children's playground with three of his friends, because there is literally nothing else to do in Bavaria that doesn't involve chocolate castles and/or wish-granting forest trolls. He and his friends eventually happened upon a carousel, the one piece of equipment that is found in pretty much every playground despite the fact that it is virtually guaranteed to injure more children than a rusty jungle gym made of tetanus.
Pictured: Grade school's answer to Russian roulette.
After espying this whimsy-baited fracture machine, the morning's plans suddenly took shape. The man's friends dared him to tie himself to the carousel with packing tape (which they had presumably brought along because they were planning on killing him anyway) while they spun the carousel around as fast as they could. The man, honor bound to accept this challenge either by sheer boredom or because it was issued on a Sunday morning in Germany (a phrase here meaning "he was almost certainly drunk"), agreed, and he was lashed to a giant metal child's toy wrought from exceedingly low production standards with tape generally used to keep cardboard boxes from spilling Garfield books all over the floor.
The situation quickly escalated, as dares tend to do, and the man's friends decided that the best way to up the stakes and maximize everyone's enjoyment would be to spin the carousel using the car they'd driven to the playground. The man either agreed with them or was already choking on too much vomit to form a coherent objection, so they tied the car to the carousel and drove off as fast as they could, sending their friend into a gravity-negating spin typically reserved for astronaut training.
"... one giant leap for dumbass kind."
Predictably, the tape came loose, and the man was thrown from the carousel like Super Dave Osborne in a carnival explosion. He was killed more or less immediately, and his friends were treated at the hospital for shock before being charged with involuntary manslaughter. We assume that this means he "won" the dare, although we hasten to point out that he would've been awarded the exact same amount of nothing for "losing," with the added bonus of getting to still be alive.
#5. "I Dare You to Play Chicken Without a Car"
Chicken is a game invented by movies from the 1950s wherein two men hop into their cars and barrel toward each other at breakneck speed to see who swerves first (there are several variations to this core set of rules, most notably the Paula Abdul variant). It is a pastime based almost exclusively on dares and hand-wringing women in poodle skirts.
An 18-year-old man in Victoria, Australia, recently faced this time-honored challenge, but with a few extra conditions to spice things up, because Australians are crazy. The dare presented to him stipulated that A) he must participate in the proposed game of chicken without a car of his own and B) his opponents in the game would have no idea that they were playing chicken.
Non-Australians know this game by the name Vehicular Suicide.
So, not wanting to back down from this hero's trial for all the wisdom in the universe, he went out to a freeway ramp in the middle of the night, waited for a car to come speeding along, then jumped into the road and sprinted toward it. In his underwear. It is unclear whether that last detail was part of the original dare or just an added touch of personal flair.
"This was the original plan, but we didn't have enough for the deposit."
Despite whatever synth-driven 1980s victory montage was playing in the man's mind as he vowed to himself that he would not be the first to flinch, the scene ultimately boiled down to two sentences in a news article:
"[An] 18-year-old South Morang man is in the Royal Melbourne Hospital after he was struck by a Toyota Hilux on the Tullamarine Freeway near Flemington just before 1:30 a.m. He had been playing 'chicken' on the freeway on ramp as a dare when he was hit, police said."
This is another way of saying "Some idiot tap-danced out onto the freeway and ran headfirst into an SUV."
The driver of the Hilux had no idea what was happening (see condition B of the dare, above) and just saw some naked maniac suddenly appear out of the darkness like a heroin-addicted vampire. The resulting collision was enough to total the vehicle, but by some improbable alignment of the stars, the runner himself wasn't killed. The police give due consideration to his "utter stupidity," but nowhere in the article are any other bystanders mentioned. This suggests that either the man's mates (we're in Australia, remember?) assigned him the dare but then declined to actually watch him complete it, or that they had only ever existed in the alcohol-brined echoes of his own thoughts.
#4. "I Dare You to Marry Me," Said a 60-Year-Old Man to a Teenage Girl
Charles E. Jamison, a 60-year-old widower with grown children, was facing the sobering loneliness of weathering his twilight years soaked in the bitter tears of having forever lost the comforting embrace of the soul mate he had expected to carry him through the rest of his life into peaceful eternity. So, at a boisterous celebration of America's independence, he got drunk enough to commit mild sexual assault (also known as "hotel bar drunk") and married a 17-year-old girl after being dared into it by their mutual friends. We are curious as to how a teenage girl and a senior citizen would ever occupy the same social group unless they were both X-Men or railroad tycoons (not mutually exclusive), but this was a different time.
A statutorier time.
According to The New York Times, Jamison, his young bride-to-be and pretty much the entire Fourth of July party were so enthusiastic about this dare (and let's be honest, it was probably Jamison himself who initially said "Hey, who dares me to marry this girl?" after being overcome with a boner fueled by beer and depression) that they went and found a reverend to perform the ceremony that day. Because as we all know, you shouldn't waste time overthinking something as intrinsically hilarious as marriage.