by Deesha Philyaw
Shag, Marry, Kill is a game that has withstood the test of time. You just know that back in the day, folks were playing it with Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. And so, allow us to indulge in this time-honored tradition.
Read more: Shag, Marry, Kill: The Bobs
It's time for Shag, Marry, Kill: New Edition Edition
Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Johnny... Where to begin?
Ralph: Like most 12-year-old girls, I thought Ralph Tresvant was the cutest when New Edition came on the scene with "Candy Girl" in 1983. Probably because he sang lead and in such an ear-splitting register that only a pre-teen would find that shit attractive.
Verdict: Shag. Teenage me would totally have hooked up with pre-"Sensitivity" Ralph.
Mike: Bobby Brown was the undisputed bad boy of New Edition, but with Michael Bivins you got some swagger without the coke-fueled peeing-in-the-back-of-a-cop-car incidents. Michael Bivins was also quite enterprising post-NE. He co-founded Bell Biv Devoe, and discovered, managed, and produced other groups, most notably Boyz II Men (the subject of a future Shag, Marry, Kill!).
Verdict: Marry. For the stability. He reportedly managed his money well from day one because he knew that if Ralph or Bobby ever left NE, he'd be in trouble.
Johnny: I loved Johnny Gill's 1990 Motown solo debut album. It was in constant rotation in my car that summer. What I don't love are Johnny's asinine responses to rumors that he's gay. "I'm 100 percent man." "I'm one hundred and fifty thousand percent heterosexual." And in a tie for the absolute worst: 1) He claims to have taken and passed a lie detector test about the rumors to put his girlfriend's mind at ease, and 2) He believes that the persistent rumors are the result of "karma," God's "pay back" for the homophobia of his youth.
Verdict: Kill. If only so that he'll stop talking.
Deesha Philyaw is the senior editor for Maximum Middle Age's pop culture vertical, Back in the Day. She co-authored Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce with her ex-husband. With her latest husband, she shares four daughters. She's a bio mom, stepmom, and adoptive mom who writes about race, gender, and parenting. In all her spare time, she's working on a novel and a collection of short stories about church ladies.