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Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls

Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 11:00 AM
Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 11:04 AM
Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 11:21 AM
Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 11:53 AM
Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 12:08 PM
Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 12:22 PM
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Azizi 23 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM
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Carly 23 Aug 09 - 01:45 PM
Tinker 23 Aug 09 - 01:59 PM
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Subject: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 11:00 AM

"We wear our hair in curls" is the second line of a rhyme or song that begins with the line "We are the _____ girls". The name of the city where the people singing the song live is usually inserted into the blank space of that first line. Instead of the city name, the name of the singer's school, camp, or another group that they belong to may be used. I chose the title "We wear our hair in curls" because in this forum the blank space in that first line might make that title confusing.

I believe that "We wear our hair in curls" originated as a children's plaground rhyme or song. A version of this rhyme was popularized by drag queens who sung it during the 1969 Stonewall Riots (examples and more information about that significant event will be provided below).

The only example of this rhyme that I have found to date on this forum are in this post http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=38412#973994 which references the Stonewall Riots. In addition, several posters to a thread about a 1936 recording of the Blues song Poontang Little, Poontang Small believe that a line in that song is "Put my dress above my knees". That line is similar to a standard line from "We wear our hair in curls"-"We wear our dresses up above our knees". For what it's worth, I don't agree with that transcription of that line from that Blues song. However, I credit it for getting me started on this effort of compiling multiple examples of that children's rhyme.

**

In this thread, I'll share some examples of & comments about this children's rhyme/song. I hope that other Mudcat members and guests will share the version of this composition that they know and also include demographical information (geographical location, year or decade they first learned or heard the rhyme, gender, age of those reciting the rhyme*, and how the rhyme was performed-meaning any accompanying movements such as handclap routines, or jumping/skipping).

* Although many people appear to be reluctant to include racial demographics, I think it would also be interesting and helpful to include such information. In my opinion, information the race/ethnicity of those singing this composition could help determine whether there are any differences between the types of rhymes, the text of rhymes, and the rhyme performance activities of different races/ethnic populations of children-and if so, what some of those differences are. By "ethnicity", I mean the United States' definition of "Latino" (Hispanic). However, other ethnic groups could also be specified.

NOTE: Some of the examples that will be posted to this thread are sexually explicit.

Thanks, in advance for your contributions to this thread.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 11:04 AM

Here is the hyperlink to the example of "We wear our hair in curls" that is found on the above mentioned Mudcat thread

thread.cfm?threadid=38412#973994
"Lesbians, Gays and folk music"


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 11:21 AM

I don't remember "We wear our hair in curls" from my childhood or teen years in Atlantic City, New Jersey (1950s, mid 1960s). In addition, my daughter does not remember this rhyme from her childhood and teen years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1970s, 1980s). In addition, neither she nor I have heard this rhyme chanted by African American children in Pittsburgh. I should mention that my daughter was a camp counselor for a number of years, and has been an elementary school teacher for a number of years. Furthermore, from the 1997-2007 both she and I facilitated "game song" groups of African American children in the Pittsburgh area. These once a week or one session special programming groups had as their focus sharing traditional & adapted African American game songs. However, in addition, those groups provided opportunities for the girls (usually ages 5-12 years) and the boys (usually ages 5-7 years) to chant and demonstrate the playground rhymes that they knew. All of this to say, the "We wear our hair in curls" rhyme was never mentioned during these sessions or during other interactions with the African American children my daughter and I knew.

However, when I read the line "we put our dresses above our knees" in that possible transcription of the "Poontang Little, Poontang Small" song, I knew I had heard it or read it somewhere before. I searched through my collection and found an example from an African American Pittsburgh woman who remembered it from her childhood in the 1950s. I'll share that example in my next post to this thread.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 11:53 AM

We Are The Catty Girls

We are the catty girls
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dresses
up above our knees.
We are too old for toys
But we're just right for boys.
-Barbara Ray, (African American) from her memories of her childhood in the Buff area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mid 1950s; collected by Azizi Powell, 1996

-snip-

Barbara who was a work colleague and is still friend of mine) said that girls around ages 8-10 years old would sing this song just for fun. Barbara also said that this rhyme was often sung along with (that is before) this next rhyme:

Hey Baby

Hey baby, how about a date?
I'll meet you round the corner
'Bout half-past eight.
We go front, back, side to side.
We go front, back, side to side.

I never been to college.
I never been to school.
But when it comes to boogie,*
I can boogie like a fool.


-snip-

Barbara said that there wasn't any movements to the first rhyme, except saying the words like you were acting out the part.

Barbara demonstrated how the second rhyme was performed. In the first part of the rhyme she showed how girls pretended to be talking to a boy who was standing near her. The boy is referred to here as "baby". In the second part of the rhyme, Barbara demonstrated how girls would move while chanting those lines. She lightly jumped up, then back, and then slid to the right and then to the left. She stopped those movements on the words "I never went to college". On the words "boogie" (dance) like a fool, she did a hip shaking dance. She called it a "sexy" dance.

Variants of the lines "We are too old for toys/But we're just right for boys" are found in some Michael Jackson versions of "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky". Here's an example of that line thread.cfm?threadid=119441#2590359

The second rhyme contains other floating verses. But I think talking about them would be too far off-subject.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 12:08 PM

I failed to mention that the tune for "We Are The Catty Girls" was the song "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay".

That Pittsburgh examples differs from the other versions that I've read to date. All of those versions mention the girl's city or group and not what the girls considered to be an admirable attribute.

I think that the "Catty" word that Barbara Ray remembers using in the first line of that version means "sassy" and "tough" and not "vicious" or "spiteful". It's possible that this more positive image of being "catty" was influenced by the comic character "Cat woman" from the Batman comic book series. But I'm really not sure how whether these girls would have known about that comic book character. (Note that the Batman television series which sometimes featured Catwoman didn't begin to air until the mid 1960s.)
I'll have to ask Barbara about this.

**

By far the most popular version of this rhyme is the one which was chanted during the Stonewall Riots. I'll post that example next.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 12:22 PM

The Stonewall Riot Version:

We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!
-drag queens; Stonewall Riots, New York City, 1969

Multiple sources online including-
http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:TzHWCuJJAasJ:t-vox.org/index.php%3Ftitle%3DStonewall_riots+we+wear+our+hair+in+curls+we+wear

**

See this excerpt from that article:

"The Stonewall riots, which as a whole is often called the Stonewall Rebellion, were a series of violent conflicts between homosexuals and police officers in New York City.first night of rioting began on Friday, June 27, 1969 not long after 1:20 a.m., when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. "Stonewall," as the raids are often referred to, is generally considered a turning point for the modern gay rights movement worldwide, as it is one of the first times in history a significant body of homosexual people resisted arrest...

The tactical patrol force arrived to disperse the crowd. However, they failed to break up the crowd, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles. At one point they were presented with a chorus line of mocking queens, singing:

We are the Stonewall girls etc."

-snip-

Also, read this account in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots. In addition, see the article provided in the "Lesbians, Gays and folk music" Mudcat thread which was provided earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 12:47 PM

Here's another version of the Stonewall "We wear our hair in curls" song:

We are the Stonewall Girls, we wear our hair in curls,
We always dress with flair, we wear clean underwear,
We wear our dungarees, above our nellie knees,
We ain't no wannabees, we pay our Stonewall fees!"
-drag queen group

http://www.stonewallvets.org/songsofStonewall-3.htm

**

Here's a definition for the word "nelly" which is found in the phrase "above our nellie knees":

"nelly"
A very feminine or seemingly homosexual male, popularized by season three of "Arrested Development," where George Senior and Lucille Bluth refer to the seemingly homosexual Tobias as a "nelly." Can be used as a noun or adjective.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nelly

**

nel¡¤ly or nel¡¤lie (n¨§l'¨¥)   
n.   pl. nel¡¤lies Offensive Slang
Used as a disparaging term for an effeminate homosexual man.

[Probably from Nelly, nickname for Helen.]

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nelly

**

Also see this definition of "swish":

"Swish is a slang term usually used derogatorily for effeminate behaviour and interests (camp), emphasized and sanctioned in pre-Stonewall gay male communities. This behaviour is also described as being nelly. Wentworth and Flexner define swish as a noun meaning "a male homosexual, esp. one with obviously feminine traits".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swish_(slang)


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 12:54 PM

Also see this website for the use of the word "nellie" by gay men:

http://www.mikealvear.com/2009/05/05/why-arent-nelly-guys-attracted-to-each-other/


I'm still not sure if nellie is an offensive term or not. Perhaps it was a derogatory referent but is being reclaimed by those it was used against. My apologies to anyone who is offended by my posting examples of this song which include this term.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM

Here's some examples of the rhyme/song "We wear our hair in curls that mention the girls' school, or the name of their camp cabin, or some other demographical information:

FAIRFIELD GIRLS
We are the Fairfield Girls!
We wear our hair in curls!
We wear our dungarees,
Rolled up above our knees!

We wear our Fathers' shirts!
We wear our Brothers' ties!
And when it comes to boys,
We take them by surprize!
- late fifties hometown jingle; Fairfield, Connecticut

http://www.ellefagan.com/wordsite/fairfieldgirl.html

**

WE ARE THE DUMTY GIRLS
We are the Dumpty Girls
(Tra la la boom di ay)
We are the Dumpty girls.
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dungarees.
Above our dirty knees.
We like to ride and swim.
With lots of pep and vim.
We are the Dumpty girls,
Of Strawderman.
-Camp Strawderman Song Book
Aug 17, 2003

["Dumpty" appears to be the name of a cabin at Camp Stawderman". However, I couldn't find on that page where that camp is located]

http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:ixVOuE1m61gJ:www.sheldenstudios.com/images/camp_buttons/cs-songs.pdf+we+wear+our+hair+in+cur

**

SENIOR GIRLS
We are the senior girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees way down below our knees
We don't tuck in our shirts
We are the biggest flirts
Hey guys here come the senior girls!
-YMCA Camp Eberhart ,southwest lower Michigan

http://campeb.org/alumni/songs.htm


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:20 PM

Here are two sexually explicit examples of this rhyme:


we are the great meols girls
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees
down to our sexy knees.

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

you know the boy next door
he got me on the floor
he counted 1 2 3
and stuck it into me

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

then some other stuff about being pregnant and stuff...
i dunno...i forget. was an awesome song though.

sha la la bum-shi-ka
sha la la bum-shi-ka

okay, now i really can't remember any more...

*edit*
my daddy was suprised
to see my belly rise
my mummy jumped for joy, it was a baby boy
-Niamh; 18-03-2007,
Location: Near Liverpool
Age: 19

http://board.muse.mu/showthread.php?t=41853


Note: A number of females and a few males (around the same age group) on this British forum indicated that they remembered this rhyme, and posted slightly different versions of it.

**

We are the sexy girls
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees
down to our sexy knees.

A boy came up to me
And gave me 50p
To have it off with me
Under the apple tree
he got me on the floor

I counted one to three
He put it into me;
I counted one to ten,
He took it out again.

My mum was so surprised
To see my belly rise
My dad jumped for joy
To see a baby boy.
-Values in sex education: from principles to practice,J. Mark Halstead, Michael Jonathan Reiss; p. 45

Sexually explicit children's/teens rhymes/songs

http://books.google.com/books?id=2_FiAvjJJTwC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=my+daddy+was+surprised+to+see+my+belly+rise+children's+song&so


**

I see that I misrememberd when I wrote that "We are the catty girls" is the only version that I had read (or heard) that used an adjective instead of a city, school, or camp name.


**

BTW, all these examples appear to use the "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" tune.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Carly
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:45 PM

In the 1950's in Takoma Park, Maryland, we were singing (and jumping rope as we danced to)

    We are the Pepsi girls
    We wear our hair in curls
    We wear our dungarees
    Rolled up above our knees
    We wear our mothers' skirts
    We wear our fathers' ties
    And when we meet a guy
    We simply roll our eyes.

Carly Gewirz


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Tinker
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:59 PM

Fast forward to current time. The guys(yes boys) at campfires and Diocese-wide events here in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark (NJ) do a dance off to the following with one guy sitting down after each sing through. I'll check around, but I know it goes back to the mid 1990's

Seven little sisters
Like to boogie down
Like to turn around
Like to touch the ground
Like to wear their skirts above their knees
Now they've never been to college
And they've never been to school
But when it comes to dancin'
They can boogie like a fool.

Hands up, shake-shake, shake, shake
Hands down, shake-shake, shake, shake
To the front, to the back to the side, side, side
to the front, to the back, to the side, side, side

Six little sisters.....


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 02:08 PM

Hello, Carly!

Thanks for sharing the version that you remember. Thanks also for including that demographical information and noting that you jumped rope and danced while singing this rhyme.

Another example that I read referred to playing handclaps while singing this rhyme.

This another sexual explicit version:

"... I found out through facebook recently that the song we used to sing when playing those clapping hands game things (whatever they're called) was around at other schools around the country:

We are the (town name) girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Down to our sexy knees
You know the boy next door
He got me on the floor
He did it 80 times
And they he asked for more
My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise
My daddy jumped for joy
It was a baby boy"


Classy 7 year olds, eh?
-Monkey Trouble
Apr 28, 2009

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3143024
The Something Awful Forums :Your favorite childhood songs: poop and violence

**

[No country name given, but I think she [he?] meant the USA.]


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 02:23 PM

Hi, Tinker!

Thanks for posting that example and including demographical information.

I'm going to yield to temptation and note that I believe the source for that "never been to college" verse is this verse in the song "Old Jesse.
"*

"Old Jesse was a gemman.
Among de olden times.

N****r never went to free school.
Nor any odder college,
An' all de white folks wonder whar
That n****r got his knowledge."...

from Dorothy Scarborough On The Trail Of Negro Folk-Songs )Folklore Associates, Inc. edition, 1963, originally published by Harvard University Press, 1925)p. 71


*This is not the same song as [Here Comes]"Uncle Jesse".


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 02:33 PM

I forgot to add the information that "boogie" means "dance".


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:06 PM

The first example of this rhyme that I posted in this thread included the verse "We are too old for toys/But we're just right for boys".

That verse is a variant form of the lines "I used to play with toys/but now I'm older I play with boys". I'm interested in identifying other rhymes that include that floating verse or a variant form of that verse.

I mentioned earlier in this thread that a variant of that verse is found in some of the "Michael Jackson" versions of "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky".

Here's another rhyme which includes that verse:

Subject: RE: Children's Street Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:42 PM

i thought i learned it like this:
(it was a hand game)

(see see?) my playmate,
come out and play with me,
and bring your (jolly?) seed,
climb up my apple tree,
slide down my rainbow,
into my pot of gold,
and we'll be jolly friends,
forever more,
1-2-3-4, (clap clap),
when i was younger,
i used to play with toys,
but now i'm oold-er,
i play with
b-o-y-s,
boys boys boys boys,
boys boys boys boys,
criss-cross,
apple sauce,
do me a favor and
get,
lost.

thread.cfm?threadid=4300

**

And yes, I know this post has little to do with "We Wear Our Hair In Curls" rhymes. But maybe this thread can serve the purpose of documenting other related-even slightly related-rhymes.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Tinker
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:14 PM

I did a quick check on facebook and found out the following.

Does anyone know when Eagles's Nest first sang Seven Little Sisters? Russell remembers Eagle's Nest but I know a folklorist who is interested in when it appeared on the camp songlists..... inquiring minds want to know...10 hours ago

G: I remember singing it back when I went - the words were a little different but we sang it and that was back in the 60's

Tinker: Thanks Glenda. Was it considered a "guy song" then as well?

G:   I cant remember - i think it was more a question of being funnier if the guys did it because it was "Three Little Sisters"

M:    This is a good question to post on the Eagle's Nest group page. A lot of people from the 60's and 70's have shown up. They might know..

Tinker I've got to say that after 40 years it definatley falls in the "Tradition" catagory.


I found a link to the 1960's camp Eagles Nest
song book and it doesn't seem to be in the book


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:24 PM

Here are three more examples of the "We Wear Our Hair In Curls" rhyme

Reminder-that title isn't really the name of this rhyme. But I felt calling it "We are the _____ girls" would be somewhat confusing and therefore opted for the most commonly found 2nd line.

Another reminder-some of these examples are sexually explicit.

The following examples are from this website:

http://www.odps.org/glossword/index.php?a=term&d=3&t=883
Seedy Songs and Rotten Rhymes - the poetry of the playground.


we are the geordie girls,
We are the geordie girls,
We are the hairy girls
We wear our dungarees
To show our sexy knees.

The dirty boy next door
He got me on the floor
He done me sixty times
Then he begged for more.

My mother was suprised
To see my belly rise
My father jumped for joy
It was a baby boy

**

Margaret sent this in so I added it verbatim )

We are the "blank- blank" girls,
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
To show our sexy knees

One day this boy came by
And gave me fifty pee
To go behind the bush
And have it all for me

He pulled my knickers down
And pushed me to the ground
He shouted 1, 2, 3
And gave it all to me

My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise
My father jumped for joy
It was a baby boy.

We were singing this complete with the hand claps and gestures that have been mentioned in the mid eighties in Fife in Scotland. I will say that we were innocent and had no clue what the words meant; back then if a boy asked us to go behind a bush with him it was probably to scare us with a dead animal.


Source: UK (NE Sund)

**

We are the Keighley girls,[dance with a wiggle]
We wear our hair in curls [curling hand movements]
We wear our dungarees
To show our sexy knees. [touch knees]

You now the boy next door?
He got me on the floor
I gave him 50p [hand slap]
To give it all to me.

My mother was suprised
To see my belly rise. [touch tummy]
My daddy jumped for joy
It was a baby boy


Source: circa 2005. UK (NE)


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:51 PM

Hello, Tinker!

Thank you for your help in pinning down how long this tradition has been going on. And yes, I would also consider forty years of having males perform the "Seven Sisters" song at those events to be a tradition.

Tinker, please convey my heartfelt thanks to Glenda and other posters to your Facebook page and/or Eagles Nest group for sharing information about that song.

It's my understanding from your response to my pm that the males who sing that "Seven Little Sisters" song that you posted in this thread on 23 Aug 09 - 01:59 PM are usually high school age high achieving students. Also, I noted in the photos you sent me that those Episcopal Diocese of Newark (New Jersey) sessions and events are multi-racial.

Those sessions sound like they are wonderful, life enriching experiences!

By the way, I'm from Southern New Jersey, and I graduated from a college in East Orange, which, as you know is a hop, skip, and a jump from Newark. I spent quite a bit of time in Newark, New Jersey, and have lots of good memories of that city.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:21 AM

As demonstrated earlier in this thread, variants of the "We are the ____ girls/ we wear our hair in curls" rhyme have been immortalized as part of the Stonewall Riot, which was "a defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots_

This is fitting because the core words of "We wear our hair in curls" are a challenge to the prevailing mainstream societal norms which dictated that females should act in certain lady-like ways and not otherwise. "We are the ____/ we wear our hair in curls" is meant to be a female declaration of independence, an in-your-face assertion from girls who defy societal norms.

In my next posts, I'll share my opinions about the meaning of several of the core lines from these rhymes: "We wear our hair in curls", and "We wear our dungarees".


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:36 AM

The earliest version of "We wear our hair in curls" that I've found so far is the mid 1950s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rhyme. However, it's possible that this rhyme is older than that.

In my opinion, the "we wear our hair in curls" line refers to the once highly controvesial custom of women cutting their long hair and wearing it in a "bob" hair cut. American ballroon dancer Irene Castle started this fashion in 1915 when she cut her hair for the convenience short hair provided her. See this excerpt from
http://www.hairarchives.com/private/1920s.htm": *

"Hairstyles of the 1920s created more controversy in hair fashion than in any other period of American culture. And one hairstyle, known simply as "the bob," would be at the center of this great debate. First introduced during the Great War, the bob haircut would eventually cause a revolution in the way women would wear their hair forevermore.

It all started in 1915 with the debut of the Castle Bob, named after the celebrated ballroom dancer Irene Castle. While cutting her hair for convenience, little would she know that she would forever be associated with triggering a revolution in 20th-century hair fashion. The Castle Bob would be the first indication of things to come -the rage of short hair.

The free-spirited youth of the day readily accepted the new look and made it the forerunner of many fads and fashions which eventually led to new curling, perming and coloring methods. When a woman had her hair cut short, she grew bolder. Soon she began wearing 'long beads, short skirts, rolled stockings, and rough on her knees,' an expression synonymous with "the flapper". The rebellious change in hairstyle was just the beginning of a major change in societal norms and values seen during the 1920s."...


-snip-

[Italics added by me for emphasis.]

* Warning to those, like me, who detest sound clips: A sound clip of "Roaring 20s" music starts as soon as you click on this site and plays continually until you leave that site (or maybe it still continues to play, who knows?). My suggestion is to valiantly try to ignore that sound clip since the material on that page is quite interesting.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 09:07 AM

The line "We wear our dungarees" furthers the declaration of defiance against societal norms since prior to the 1970s or so, good girls were only suppossed to wear dresses or skirts and blouses-even while playing.

Note for instance, that all the African American school girls in Bob Eberlein's, Bess Lomax Hawes's historically rich 1967 film. "Pizza Pizza Daddy-O" are wearing dresses.

Pizza Pizza Daddy O (a look at continuity and change in girl's playground games at a Los Angeles school)

**

Also, see this response to the question:"When did women in American start wearing dungarees?"


"I would hazard a guess that it was in the early 50s. I remember wearing dungarees rolled up into a large cuff and a man-tailered white shirt outside the dungarees (not tucked in) when I was 12 or 13 years old.

I remember slacks for women becoming popular around the same time. We always wore skirts or dresses to school and in the late 50s to work in an office. Slacks or dungarees were NOT an option at the time.

Pant suits were not worn by women until the mid-sixties and it felt strange wearing them at first. I remember a friend wearing one to a party at my house - she walked in and ran straight in to the bathroom - she was that self-conscious about it!"
-MusicloverOrange on May 17 2008

http://askville.amazon.com/women-American-start-wearing-dungarees/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=9776116

-snip-

Just for the record, the references to the "50s" and "mid-sixties" refers to the "1950s and the middle nineteen sixties". (This is one of my pet peeves. After all, the "50s" and "mid sixties" could refer to other centuries than the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 09:36 AM

Notice-I've changed my mind about this rhyme originating before the 1950s. See how fast I can change my mind? ;o)

While I still believe that the line "We wear our hair in curls" refers to the "bobbed" short hair style, the line about wearing dungarees dates this rhyme as being post 1950s. As I recall, before the 1960s, females (women and girls) didn't wear pants out in public. But then again as a child, I recall wearing shorts and "pedal pushers" (shorts that were below your knees in length, almost like contemporary "capris".)

Here's another trip down memory lane-

When I was going to school in the 1950s, in the winter time, the only pants that girls wore outside were snow suit leggings, However, those snow suit leggings were considered to be too babyish for pre-teens and teenagers, and so girls either braved the cold without anything on their legs but knee socks, or we wore pants underneath our dresses. But as soon as we arrived at school or wherever else we were going, we would quickly take off those pants.

See this second article from When did women start wearing dungarees?

"early 1960's"
"In the 50s? Maybe- if she was working on a farm. Women in the cities wore dresses and skirts. (And slips and girdles and stockings.)

In 1960, in NYC, there was a 3 foot snow fall - a lot of snow for NYC. The women at Brooklyn College petitioned the Dean of Women to allow them to wear slacks. (Slacks, not jeans or "pants".) The Dean relented to the point that women students were allowed to wear slacks under their skirts, but they had to remove them in the vestibules of the buildings, and put them back on in the vestibules. Rosie the Riveter didn't attend Brooklyn College.

Times were very different then. Seeing a woman in pants in the 50s would have been only slightly less strange than seeing a man in a skirt today. (Women also smoothed their skirts when sitting - something you seldom see today. It's a device sometimes used in time travel novels - she sits without smoothing her skirt, she's from the future [of the 40s or 50s].)

Beach wear and informal wear was different - but a decent woman didn't wear jeans. (Although they did manufacture girl's jeans - the zipper was in the side, in the pocket area. But I never saw them in women's sizes.)

In the mid 50s, crinolines were in style - in some schools they had rules about the number of crinolines a girl could wear, because 2 girls sitting across an aisle from each other, each wearing 3 crinolines, would block the aisle. Also Poodle skirts, cardigans and saddle shoes were big."
by: Houston_proud on May 19 2008

-snip-

And I agree with Houston_proud that it was more likely the 1960s rather than the 1950s. Maybe it was even the mid 1960s.

Of course, the question should read "When did women >i>in the United States start wearing dungarees or other pants out in public?


What answer would you give to this question?


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 10:13 AM

You would think by now I would have learned not to jump to conclusions about a rhyme based on only one line of that rhyme.
But I'm still a grasshopper when it comes to textual analysis of rhymes. (Pardon the "Kung Fu" television show reference).

At any rate, I think that "We wear short dresses above our knees" predates the "We wear our dungarees".

Reinforcing my position that this rhyme was an in your face taunt directed at society in general, wearing either short dresses or wearing dungarees were both daring fashion styles for American females way back when. Note: By "shortened dresses" I'm not referring to 1960s mini-skirts, but to dresses that were knee length or slightly above the knees. (Reminder to view that "Pizza Pizza Daddy-O" clip whose hyperlink was given earlier in this thread).

The mid 1950s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania version of this rhyme that my friend Barbara remembers includes the lines "We wear our dresses/up above our knees".

And the "Seven Sisters" version of this rhyme from Newark, New Jersey has been dated from as early as the mid 1960s, though it may have been known earlier than that. That version is:

Seven little sisters
Like to boogie down
Like to turn around
Like to touch the ground
Like to wear their skirts above their knees

-snip-

However, Carly remembers a 1950s version from Takoma Park, Maryland which includes the line "We wear our dungarees/Rolled up above our knees". And the famous version from the Stonewall Riot also refers to dungarees and not dresses: "We wear our dungarees/ Above our nelly knees!"

There's little doubt that the Stonewall nelly knees" line is a variant form of the original line. But I guess we have too few examples to determine without any doubt which line came first-"wear short dresses above our knees" or "wear dungarees rolled up above our knees".

If I were a betting person, my money would be on the "wear our dresses above our knees" line. But I never gamble. ;o)


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 10:23 AM

Here's a bit of trivia:

"Bobby-pins" comes from "the bob" women's fashion hair cut.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_pin and that http://www.hairarchives.com/private/1920s.htm that has the midi sound clip and


Am I the only one who didn't know this?


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Uly
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 10:38 AM

As a kid, I read a book set near the end of the second world war where the girls recited this rhyme - the "we wear our dungarees" variant.

However, the book was set then, it wasn't written then, and I don't know the demographics of the author. If I remember what book it was I'll post the title.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM

Thanks, Uly. I appreciate your sharing that remembrance. I suppose that book may be an example of the author including a mismatch historical reference, but still it's more proof that this rhyme sure gets around.

**

Here's an example of "We wear our hair in curls" that mentions mini-skirts and>/i> includes the "toys/boys" line:

we're scoil mhuire girls!
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees above our sexy knees!
sha la la boom sha la sha la la boom sha la
we're scoil mhuire girls!
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our daddy's shirts over our mini-skirts!
sha la la boom sha la sha la la boom sha la
we're the scoil mhuire girls! we wear our hair in curls
and when it comes to toys
we'd rather play with boys!
sha la la boom sha la sha la la boom sha la
we're scoil mhuire girls!
we wear our hair in curls we don't smoke or drink
that's what our teachers think!
sha la la boom sha la sha la la boom sha la

http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=2235037070

-snip-


Also note the "sha la la boom sha la sha la la boom sha la" which is a clue that this rhyme uses the "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye" tune.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 10:58 AM

Sorry for my mistake/s with the HTML code. At least it's not bold font.

Ugh!


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 11:45 AM

Her's another example of "We wear our hair in curls" that mentions mini-skirts and includes the "toy/boy" line:

We are the Millfield girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Right up above our knees
We wear our fathers' shirts
Instead of mini skirts
And when it comes to boys
We treat them just like toys
We neither smoke nor drink
That's what our parents think
But when they're out of sight
We do it day and night

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071104023000AAle8Ch

-snip-

Unfortunately, like most examples of children's schoolyard rhymes found online, this example has no demographical information as to when the poster learned it. The name "Millfield" is given, but not where "Millfield" is located or if it's a city, school, camp or some other group.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 11:56 AM

I've found several examples of "We are the georgie girls". I've posted some examples earlier in this thread and here's another one:

"I remember when i was 7 and in the brownies. We went on the pack holiday which was helped with supervision from the girl guides. Anyway they taught us all this song we used to sing in the evenings around a "campfire". When me and my friend came home singing it, our mothers were completely horrified. At the time i didn't see anything wrong with it - I was a nieve little 7 year old. But now i can't believe that the supervisors of the pack holiday let us sing it and can completely understand our parents horror.

Song lyrics below.

We are the geordie girls
We wear our hair in curls
we wear out dungarees right to our sexy knees
one day the boy next door
he got me on the floor
he said it wouldn't hurt
he stuck it up my skirt
my mother was surprised
to see my stomach rise
then she jumped for joy
it was a baby boy.

http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:MtjK76iaWMcJ:www.veggieboards.com/boards/archive/index.php/t-32769.html+we+are+the+geordie+g
Veggie Board-Kids Songs-Oh Gosh

-snip-

For the purposes of folkloric research, a person writing that she or he learned a song "when I was 7 years old" is interesting. But it would be much more informative if the person noted which year she was (the "Brownies" identifies the person sharing this particular example as a girl).

But back to my question about "geordies", do any, most, or all of the examples of this rhyme that mention Geordies refer to people who live in "some parts of the north east of England, or the city of Newcastle upon Tyne?" [This description is from the Wikipedia page whose link is below]

It doesn't seem likely that the girl in the example above (from the Veggie forum) lived in England, unless there are Brownie troops in England [?] as well as in the USA.

Are some girls just repeating the "We are the Geordie girls" line and not substituting their city name, school name, or group name?

**

See this Wikipedia page about "Geordies":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geordie


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Uly
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 01:11 PM

There are Brownies in England as well as the US, it's an international group - and the fact that it's called Girl Guides instead of Girl Scouts helps confirm that, Scouts is the US name.

Azizi, I think it's likely that there is a historical mismatch with the book I'm thinking of, because reading this thread you're the only person who has any citation prior to the 60s, and yours is still a good 5 years after the end of the war (when the book is set). I just wish I knew the author's name, I could write and ask her directly!


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 01:22 PM

Thanks Uly for that information about Brownie troops in England.

I used to be a Brownie. (Since I'm African American I could make a cheap joke, but I won't)

But just writing that, I made the joke, didn't I?

:o)


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 01:26 PM

It occurs to me that some people might not get what I was going to say.

It's "I used to be a Brownie. And I still am".


I know. It's rather corny. But I know other corny jokes. And they're not related to race. But that's a whole 'nuther subject. So I'll not yield to that temptation.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:22 PM

CORRECTED WORDS TO SONGS:

I just called up my friend Barbara Ray because-after the fact-it occurred to me that she might have minded my using her first and last name on this forum. Thankfully, she doesn't mind at all.

But Barbara said that the words that I posted pn this thread aren't right. I have no explanation for the divergence in the lines I wrote down from her then. It may have been because we were rushing as I had asked her about the children's rhymes she knew while we were on a work break. At any rate, here are the words that Barbara sang to me today over the telephone:a

WE ARE THE CATTY GIRLS [corrected words]
We are the catty girls
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dungarees
rolled up above our knees.
We wear our sweaters tight.
The boys say that's alright.
We are too old for toys
But we're just right for boys.
-Barbara Ray, (African American) from her memories of her childhood in the Buff area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mid 1950s; collected by Azizi Powell, 2009

-snip-

I also asked Barbara about the "Hey Baby" rhyme. In answer to my question, Barbara told me that the song "We Are The Catty Girls" and "Hey Baby" (How About A Date) might be sung during the same time that girls got together to "do these songs" but they weren't necessarily sung at the same time and weren't necessarily sung together. I asked Barbara about the words to that song and she sang:

Hey baby, how about a date?
I'll meet you round the corner
'Bout half-past eight.
Hands up!
Tachie Tachie Tachie
Hands down!
Tachie Tachie Tachie!
Sans Boots!*
Tachie Tachie Tachie
Hands down!
Tachie Tachie Tachie!
Sans Boots!

-snip-

At this point I asked Barbara what did "Sans Boots" mean and she said she didn't know. It was just something they sang.

Barbara didn't sing this part of the song:

I never been to college.
I never been to school.
But when it comes to boogie,
I can boogie like a fool.


We went on to talk about other things. However, that "I Never Went to College" verse is defiinitely in my 1996 notes-but so are my incorrectly transcribed notes of "We Are The Catty Girls" [?]. Therefore, unless I learn otherwise, I'm going to keep the "Never Went To College" verse as part of that "Hey Baby" song.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:35 PM

I feel the need to say that I do not like the sexual explicit versions of "We are the ___ girls/We wear our hair in curls".

I'm interested in this 'rhyme family' from a folkloric standpoint which is why I'm including those bawdy versions.

Here's a link to a sexually explicit version of this rhyme that I just found on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVexZX7zf8Y

Southy Girls. {posted by Jonasdork on June 30, 2009)

The video summary includes these lyrics:

we are the southy girls,
we wear our hair in curls,
we wear our dungarees to show our sexy knees,
you know the boy next door?
he got me on the floor,
he counted one - three & stuck it into me,
he counted one - ten & took it out again.

my momma cried & cried,
she saw my belly rise.
my daddy jumped for joy it was a baby boy.

you know the boy next door?
he is a whore, he got me up the duff

-snip-

The three girls wearing school uniforms and singing this song were White and appeared to be pre-teens. I identified them by their accent as living in Australia, but I might be wrong about that.

The last two lines of this song were spoken amid giggles rather than sung. The tempo of this version is faster than the tempo to the "We Are The Catty Girls" version.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 10:23 AM

Here's some random thoughts about the rhymes posted on this thread:

I feel the need to reiterate that I've not read enough examples of "We are the ___/We wear our hair in curls" to say with any high degree of certainty whether the "wear our dungarees up above our knees" version predates the "wear our dresses up above our knees" version. But, so far, there certainly appear to be more "dungerees" versions than "dresses" versions.

But "Which version has the most examples?" is an entirely different question than "Which version came earlier:" and the question "Which is the earliest version?" (if not which is the earliest version?"

And if indeed there really are more versions of this rhyme that include the "dungaree above the knee" line, could that in any way be the result of the media attention that has been given to the Stonewall version of this rhyme? You will recall that the Stonewall version includes a referent to "dungarees".

This question addresses the influence the media can have on the spread of children's rhymes, and the acceptance of one version of a rhyme instead of another.

**

Although I was incorrect that the "Hey Baby" rhyme was usually chanted after the "We Are The Catty Girls" rhyme (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1950s), I find it interesting that very similar lines from both of these Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rhyme are combined in the Newark, New Jersey "Seven Sisters" rhyme (from at least the 1960s).

??

**

And, speaking of question marks, has anyone else ever heard or read a rhyme that has the refrain "Tachie Tachie Tachie" and the ending "Sans Boots!" (which perhaps should be written "Sans BOOTS" to better convey how that last word is pronounced). Of course, "boots" may not be an actual word, but just a sound. I think it means the same thing as "STOP!" (or "Stop abruptly). It's almost like "FREEZE!" at the end of many children's rhymes. But I didn't get the sense that that girls doing that rhyme 'froze' in place after saying it, unless it was to strike a sensuous pose. (Yes, I know. I'll have to ask my informant, Barbara, more questions about how she remembers this rhyme being "played". (I put "played" in quotations because in my experience, African American children rarely refer to their song/rhyme movements and chanting as "play". And these compositions aren't called "rhymes" either. They (we) say that they "sing" a song or "do" a "cheer" or "a handclap".

**

I've been trying to figure out how to convey the tune to the "Hey Baby" example. It seems to me that that rhyme actually has two similar tunes, but they aren't quite the same. The first tune ends with "Sans BOOTs" and the second tune starts with "I never went to college". Both of these songs/rhymes are chanted in a sing/song voice, but I think the "Never Went To College" is spoken more than the "Hey Baby" example.

The problem is that I don't write or read music, and I haven't been able to think of a familiar rhyme or song with is sung or chanted using those tunes.

So far the closest I can get to the "Hey Baby" rhyme is the first line to "Knees Up Mother Brown" rhyme-although the tempo to "Hey Baby" is not speeded up.

BTW, I found this YouTube video to the children's rhyme "Jelly On A Plate" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AUe-hy6q5Y&feature=fvw.

Before I heard that video, I didn't know that "Jelly On A Plate" (a rhyme that I wasn't familiar with before reading it on Mudcat) uses the same tune as "Knees Up Mother Brown".


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 10:41 AM

With regard to girls' clothing fashion, I mentioned that in the USA 1950s females didn't wear dungarees (jeans, pants, slacks) out in public. I then postulated that the "We wear our hair in curls" was [at least originally] a declaration of independence for girls who were indicating that they weren't going to accept the prissy standards mainstream society had dictated for how a woman should wear her hair and what clothes a woman should wear.

Because there are versions of this rhyme from other nations besides the USA such as Great Britain, I'd like to note that females in 1950s Great Britain also usually wore dresses and skirts & blouses out in public, and not pants.

Although they refer to other childhood recreational activities, I;m going to take the liberty of reposting these examples & comments from another Mudcat thread (one that was started by my friend Viracocha from Scotland, who unfortunately, has not been posting on Mudcat for some time. I hope she is alright, and she returns to this forum soon).

Subject: RE: Folklore: Tag (the game)
From: Mr Happy - PM
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 05:15 AM

Bonecruncher.

I recall the girls "Queenie" game you mentioned, though in my neighbourhood, it was called "Queenio-Coco"

Down our way, the girls often invited me & other boys to play as well.

After the thrown ball had been hidden, the chant was:
'Queenio-Coco, who's got the ball ee-o?'

Boys were at a great disadvantage in hiding the ball because they wore shorts or trousers, whereas the girls in those days [1950's] wore dresses or skirts.

They'd slyly shove the ball up under their skirt & hold it between their upper thighs, so when the searcher sought it, they could turn all around without the ball being detected!

**

Subject: RE: Folklore: Tag (the game)
From: Bonecruncher - PM
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 08:22 PM

Viracocha,
In UK trousers for girls were never worn in school until about the early 1970's.

By that time the girls referred to by Mr. Happy were probably allowing balls of a different type to be near their upper thighs!

-snip-

thread.cfm?threadid=103866


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Tinker
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:03 AM

I grew up in Western Massachusetts and remember learning the following version in the late 1960's

Ta-ra-ra- boom de-ay
How did I get this way
It was the boy next door
He laid me on the floor
He lifted up my skirt
And gave a little squirt
And right before my eyes
I say my belly rise.

This Mary Martin Youtube from the 1940's definately stresses the above the knee view. ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-3N5SDnujQ&feature=related


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:34 AM

Hello, Tinker. Thanks for posting the version of this rhyme that you remember. Thanks also for including demographics.

And special thanks for including the URL for that YouTube video. Here is the hyperlink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-3N5SDnujQ&feature=related

Here's the summary of that video clip that was posted to YouTube on June 10, 2009 by neverknewtillnow:

"Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-de-ay! was a 1891 American folk song composed by Henry J. Sayers of Missouri who also wrote the lyrics. It was recorded in 1892 by Len Spencer as one of his first achievements as recording pioneer. Performed here by Mary Martin in 1943"


**
Here's the viewer comment that I posted about that video:

"Thanks for posting this video. I've been trying to find what the sources are for the children's rhyme/song "We are the ___ girls/we wear our hair in curls". That rhyme was famously adapted by adults during the Stonewall Riots, and some of its versions are rather bawdy. But all of the versions I have found thus far-from the USA, the UK, and elsewhere, use the Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay tune. After watching this video, I think that this song itself may be the primary source for that children's rhyme."

**

To expand on that comment, although I knew that the "We wear our hair in curls" rhymes that I have read thus far use the "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" tune, until watching that video I hadn't thought about possibility that the source for that children's rhyme could be the lyrics of the original song itself*. Furthermore, I hadn't thought that the words to that children's rhyme could have been influenced by the way women are often depicted singing the chorus of "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye" song-raising their skirt while they switch their hips to the right, thus emphasizing their butt {or "bum" in British English).

In other words, I hadn't thought that "We are the ___ girls/we wear our hair in curls" could be a parody of "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye". However, after watching that video, I used the Mudcat search engine, and found this 2000 thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=17453
Query: When was Tah Rah Rah Boom-di-Ay?

Uncle_DaveO, the original poster to that thread, differentiated his request for information about that song by writing "I'm interested in when Tah Rah Rah BOOM di-Ay was published and popular. No, not the one on DT, the children's naughty parody, but the root song that was popular in "polite society".

-snip-

Needless to say, I should have looked in the Digital Tradition song archives for a version of this children's song. But I didn't think of doing so until Tinker's post prompted me to find that old Mudcat thread.

Here's the DT version:

TAH RAH RAH BOOM DI AY

Tah rah rah bom di ay
I can't come out today
It happened yesterday
The boy across the way
He paid me fifty cents
To go behind the fence
He said it wouldn't hurt
And pushed it up my skirt
My mommy was surprised
To see my belly rise
And hear the baby cry
Tah rah rah bom di ay

@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5648

[No date or demographical information is given for this example]

Notice that it mentions "skirts" and not "dungarees"-which may or may not mean anything much.

-snip-

*I'll post the original lyrics to "Tah Ra Ra Boom De Ay" in my next post to this thread.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:46 AM

See this post from this 2000 Mudcat thread: thread.cfm?threadid=17453

Subject: RE: Query: When was Tah Rah Rah Boom-di-Ay?
From: Lesley N. - PM
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 12:18 PM

This from the Fireside Book of American Songs:

TRRBDE was published in 1891. Herny Sayers, the composer, frankly says that the tune originated in Babe Bonner's famous St. Louis brother, sung by the fabulous nego singer Mama Lou. Sayers' song was a complete failure: America would have nothign to do with it. A year later, Lottie Collins, well-known music-hall singer of the day, sang it in London. Overnight it became a sensation. The music-hall crowds delighted in its rollicking rhythm and its nonsensical lines. Brought back to America by Lottie Collins in 1894 it was greeted with t he sam wild enthusiasm that the English had accorded it, and has remained on of America's most popular songs. (page 23)...

-snip-

My reading of this summary is that "Tah Ra Ra Boom De Ay" is another 19th century American song which has African American roots but is usually not credited to African Amerians.

**

Here's the lyrics to that song as posted in that thread:

TA-RA-RA-BOOM-DER-E
(words and music by Henry J. Sayers)

A sweet tuxedo girl you see,
Queen of swell society,
Fond of fun as fond can be,
When it's on the stict Q.T.
I'm not too young, I'm not too old,
Not too timid, not too bold,
Just the kind you'd like to hold,
Just the kind for sport, I'm told.
CHORUS: Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-e, etc.

I'm a blushing bud of innocence,
Papa says at big expense,
Old maids say I have no sense,
Boys declare I'm just immense.
Before my song I do conclude,
I want it strictly understood,
Thgo' fond of fun, I'm never rude,
tho' not too bad, I'm not too good.
CHORUS: Ta-ra-ra Boom-der-e, etc.

Published in 1891. Source: Fireside Book of American Songs.
Posted on that thread by Joe Offer

Additional versions of this song are also posted on that thread.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:53 AM

I mentioned that women singing the chorus of "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" often switch their hips to the right. Actually it is the left, though maybe women who are right handed switch their hips to the left and women who are left handed switch their hips to the right. Or maybe it's vice versa, or both, or...

Well, anyway the screen name for the poster of that video really fits my thoughts about this entire subject-neverknewtillnow.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 11:57 AM

A post by Mudcatter Charley Noble in that above mentioned 2000 Mudcat thread corrects the word "brother" in the post I quoted to St Louis "brothel". Charley also wrote that "Tah Ra Ra Boom De Ay" is "Just another example of White folks expropriating popular music of Black Americans, retaining the tunes, titles and refrains but "cleaning them up" the lyrics for the public's benefit."

The link to that post is here.

**

This is Off-topic but may be of interest to some readers of this thread:

With regard to the word "negro" that is found in the 1975 English Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs (editor: Margaret Bradford Boni), I thought that since at least the early 1960s in the USA, the use of a lower case "n" for the racial referent "Negro" was considered to be culturally inappropriate. However, if this date for that book's publication is correct, and this is not a re-issue of an older book, it serves as an example that some people were still using that lower case "n" spelling in the mid 1970s.

A number of Black Americans and non-Black Americans were spelling that referent with an upper case "n" long before the 1960s. And I recall in the mid 1950s how some Black people in my hometowm and elsewhere were advocating for the use of a capital "N" to spell that group referent. The reason why this was such a hot button issue was that the first letter of other group references such as English, Irish, Spanish, Japanese, and Jewish were always capitalized. Failing to capitalize the first letter of the referent for Black people implied that we were less than other populations.

It's ironical that shortly after most mainstream print media began to use the capital "N" for Negro (I thought this had occurred by the early 1970s but I might be mistaken), "Negro" was rejected as the group referent for that population and there was a considerable amount of debate as to which referent we should use for ourselves. . I believe that by at least the mid 1980s, most Black Americans had accepted "African American" as their formal group referent, and "Black" as their informal group referent. The word "negro" is used by some Black writers to refer to an "Uncle Tom" acting Black man or Black woman.

BTW, in the group referent "African American", the first letter of those two words are always capitalized. However, it is acceptable to spell the referent "Black" with a lower case or an upper case "b".

Also, I should mention that the referent "Black" refers to more people of some African ancestry than the referent "African American". But I think to discuss this subject further would take us too far beyond the topic of this thread, which, after all, is all about a particular family of children's rhymes.

But this tangent just goes to show how the search for sources of a children's rhyme can lead to quite diverse topics.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 02:12 PM

Thanks to Charley Noble for correcting the typos for that Fireside book quote that I reposted to this thread. That statement about the song "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye" was originally shared on this forum by Mudcat member Lesley N. who I don't believe posts on this forum any more.

If I had carefully read that summary, I would have noted that the first publication date for that was 1952. Given that date, it's likely that that editor used a lower case "n" when she wrote the word "Negro". However, I thank Charley for spelling that word with a capital "N" in his corrections of the typos in Lesley N.'s post. That corrected post is found here.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:42 PM

Azizi-

No, the correction for the "n" in "Negro" was how the editor formated the word in the 1952 introduction for "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye." And her 1947 publication FIRESIDE BOOK OF FOLK SONGS used a similar format. The editor Margaret Bradford Boni was not always correct in the history of the origin of the songs in her anthologies (she didn't have access to the internet or Mudcat!) but she was a political and cultural progressive.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:56 PM

Thanks Charley. I understand from your pm to me and your post that Margaret Bradford Boni used the capital "N" in both the 1947 and the 1952 editions of her Fireside books.

That was indeed very progressive for those times, particularly for White person. I say this because it appears from my reading that many Black people were using the capital N while the mainstream print media was using the lower case "n" for that referent.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:26 PM

Before I got off on the tangent about the word "Negro", I posted the dramatized movement rhyme "Hey Baby" (How About A Date) that ended with the phrase "Sans Boots". And you may recall that I wondered what that phrase meant. I still don't know what "Sans Boots" means, but I remembered that I had read another children's rhyme that contained that phrase-or at least I thought it did.

It turns out that I was wrong. But the rhyme I was thinking of does have a similar phrase-and its words are similar to some of the sexualized examples of "We are the ___ girls" that are posted on this thread.

Here's that example with the phrase I was thinking of written in italics for emphasis:

Subject: RE: Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?
From: GUEST,Tianna - PM
Date: 30 Dec 05 - 11:42 AM

Yes we do here is one:


Shame, Shame Shame
Alla bostia
i cant come out today
because of yesterday
these boys were in my way
they gave ne 50 cents
to lay down on a bench
they said it woudnt hurt
they stuck it up my skirt
My daddy was surprised to see my belly rise
My moma was disgusted
My brother hated me
My sister came to the hospial to see my baby boy being born
Shame


-snip-

"Shame Shame Shame" is a frequently used introductory phrase in African American children's partner handclap rhymes. Some of the examples that I've read and/or heard which start with that phrase also end with the word "Shame". Usually, that ending is a signal to try to tap, pinch, or slap your partner before she does the same to you.

In this example, I believe that "Alla Bostia" is also used as part of the introduction to the actual rhyme which begins after that phrase. One movement I've seen a lot that is used for handclap rhymes introductory phrases is the girls stretching their arms out in front of them, holding both of their partner's hands, and swaying their arms from right to left while chanting the introductory phrases. But there is also a movement that involves each partner holding their hands palm up and palm down and clapping that way before moving to the alternate form of handclapping.

I'm not good at explaining these routines. Hopefully, someone else will post a better explanation.

Although I've not heard the phrase "Alla Bostia", I'm guessing that it's pronounced "ah lah BOOS-tee-ay". And for what it's worth, that phrase reminds me of the Sesame Street character, I think he was called (The Amazing) Mumford who would always say "Ah la peanut butter sandwiches!"*. Could that phrase have come from "Alla Bostia?" We'll probably never know.

* Here's the link to a sound clip of Mumford saying "Ah la peanut butter sandwiches":

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:yxyXVZNhRSsJ:members.tripod.com/Tiny_Dancer/sssounds.html+ah+la+peanut+butter+sandwiches&cd

The clip is found far down on that page.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:42 PM

Here's the hyperlink to the Mudcat thread

thread.cfm?threadid=63097

Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?

**

Here's a guess-the "Sans Boost" and "Alla Bostia" phrases are related to some old counting out rhymes. Whatever those phrases originally meant, in the beginning of those handclap or movement rhymes they mean "Let's begin" or "Begin now". And at the end of those handclap and movement rhymes, they mean "Stop" or
The end!".

**

To substantiate this guess, see this counting out rhyme that I was lucky enough to find a few minutes ago:

Subject: RE: eena meena mackeracka
From: GUEST,Phil A - PM
Date: 01 May 02 - 03:57 PM

Also from North East England (50s 60s):
Eenie meeny mackeracka Dare-dum dominacker Ting-a-ling-a-lollipop Bing bang boosh.

Incidentally, 'eenie meeny myny mo' is one to four in one of the Celtic tongues ... 'hickory dickory dock' is eight nine ten.

thread.cfm?threadid=47148#1780961


-snip-

I call your attention to the ending phrase "Bing bang boosh". That "boosh" 'sounds' a lot like "boots" to me.

Mudcat never ceases to amaze me with the material that can be found on its threads.


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Subject: RE: We Wear Our Hair In Curls
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 08:56 PM

From Where Texts and Children Meet by Eve Bearne, Victor Watson (London: Routledge, 2000), page 109:

There were many other examples of games that seemed to reflect the strong influence of the energy and bravado exhibited and promoted by the Spice Girls. There was evidence of a particular confidence and exuberance in the way the girls were playing, which could be a response to the role models offered by pop groups like the Spice Girls. The following text shares many of these features; the girls who played this game felt that it was definitely taboo as far as adults were concerned. It was accompanied by rather gross and comical mime as they acted out the text, and is a good example of one of the many rhymes, many with long ancestry, that allow girls to 'make fun of the still unknown and rather frightening state of adulthood' (Opie 1997: 210).

We are the teenage girls.
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dungarees
Down to our sexy knees.
I met a boy last night.
He gave me 50p
To go behind a bush
And have it off with me.
My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise,
But daddy jumped for joy.
It was a baby boy.
My mother done the splits
And had fifty fits.

What sort of text is this? Where has it come from?

As Iona Opie suggests, these mocking rhymes often have a long ancestry and this one certainly has an ancestry, if not a very long one. There is a version of 'We are the Teenage Girls' in The Singing Game that can be traced back to the 1970s:

We are the Barbie girls.
We wear our hair in curls.
We wear our dungarees
To hide our dirty knees.
We wear our father's shirt.
We wear our brother's tie,
And when we want a guy,
We simply wink the eye.

(Opie and Opie 1985: 478)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 11:14 AM

Thanks for posting that information & examples, Jim.

I think these rhymes tell us something about what some populations of girls think about their world and people in it-though what they think may not be how life really is.

In other words, I don't believe that most of these fathers mentioned in these rhymes would be pleased that their daughter had a baby boy [or a girl] under those circumtances.

But it sure seems as though these girls believe that in their society, men value boys more than they value girls.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,*.ripov
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 05:47 PM

Probably this thread is dead! but just in case:- Tara-etc is an old (pre 1849) Neapolitan tune, Santa Lucia, modified rhythmically, see wikipaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Cite&page=Santa_Lucia&id=304191514.
So as a pretty well traditional tune it probably has had a vast number of lyrics set to it.
In 1960 (England) it had the schoolboy words
"Our soles ("Ar---oles") are cheap today,
Cheaper than yesterday.
They were the best we had,
But now....."
I don't know where this came from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM

Hello, Guest ripov .

Mudcat thread are never dead unless they are (when they're closed by moderators-a rare occurance. This thread isn't closed, and I thank you for your contribution of the schoolboy version.

But I'm not sure what the connection is between that and the Santa Lucia song. I followed your link and it took me to a Wikipedia page for rules about using tertiary resources. I then went to the Santa Lucia song page, but didn't find anything that referred to the "We Wear Out Hair In Curls".

Are you saying that the tune for this song is the same as the tune used for the Santa Lucia song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Jess
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 06:26 PM

For the 'We Wear Our Hair In Curls' song, we used to sing this.

We are the sexy girls (pouting)
We wear our hair in curls (curls action)
We wear our dungarees (point to shoulders then knees)
Down to our sexy knees (pat knees)

Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la

We don't smoke or drink (smoke gesture then swigging a bottle)
That's what our parents think (nod)
And when it comes to toys (simple clapping action with girl next to you)
We'd rather play with boys (blow kisses)

Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la

And then the boy next door (point left)
He got me on the floor (point down)
We did it once or twice (thrusting action)
And then he asked for more (wink)

Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la
Sha-la-la-boom-sha-la

My mum was so surprised (shocked face)
To see my belly rise (extend hands above stomach)
My dad he jumped for joy (jump up and down)
It was a baby boy (pretend to cradle a baby in arms)

I remember us showing the dinner ladies at lunch time at about the age of 7 with my friend and they were horrified but we couldn't understand why, now I know!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Guest, Laney
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 04:24 PM

When i was in primary school we used to sing this version:

We are the _ girls,
We wear our hair in curls,
We wear our dungarees,
Up to our sexy knees,
We don't smoke or drink,
Thats what the teachers think,
And when it comes to boys,
We treat 'em like toys.

We used to use it as a school chant at matches and stuff, with actions and everything! Teachers didn't seem to see the funny side, but t'was fun.

Laney


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Lucy
Date: 30 Apr 10 - 04:54 PM

We are the golden girls,
we wear our hair in curls,
we wear short dungarees,
to show our sexy knees,
A boy came up to me,
he gave me 50p,
he gave me 50p, to go behind a tree,

9months later,
the dads called Slater,
My daddy jumped for joy,
it was a baby boy,
we called him martin,
cos he kept on fartin'

we had no idea what it meant :P


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 10 - 11:25 PM

The girls at my school used to sing:

We are the Islay girls,
we wear our hair in curls,
we wear our dungarees
down to our sexy knees

my boyfriend said to me
he'd give me 50p
to go behind the shed
and have it off with me

everybody was surprised
to see my belly rise
my father jumped for joy
it was a baby boy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Curly! :D
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 08:26 PM

Well this is a version that is sung by some of us girls on my gaelic football team!

We are the(___) girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Down to our sexy knees
We dont drink or smoke
Thats what our parents think
And when it comes to boys
We'd rather play with toys ;)

We know the song consists of other verses such as the "boy next door" verses as already mentioned above but we dont bother with them really!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Annie
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 12:43 PM

Hi! We sang the sexed up version back when I was about 6 or 7 in 1991 or 2, in Dublin. I remember half understanding it, and being fascinated by it, mainly coz I didn't wear dungarees or have my hair in curls, but was in love with the boy next door.

we are the dirty girls
we wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees down to to
our dirty knees

We don't smoke or drink
That's what our parents think
And when it comes to toys
We'd rather play with boys

you know the boy next door?
he got me on the floor,
he counted one - three & stuck it into me,
he counted one - ten & took it out again.

my father was surprised
to see my belly rise
my mother jumped for joy
it was a baby boy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,somene
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 07:18 AM

We are the ________ girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Upon our sexy knees
You know the boy next door
He got me on the floor
He gave me fifty pence
To go behind the fence
My mother nearly cracked
To see me get so fat
My dad was filled with joy
It was a baby boy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Day Camp in NJ 1950s
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 02:16 AM

We are the Bloomer girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
above our dirty knees
We wear our father's shirts
We wear our brother's ties
And when we see the boys
We make those googlie eyes
Tah rah a boom de ay
Tah rah a boom de ay
We'll steal your pants away
Tah rah a boom de ay


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,leeanne
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 02:53 AM

Gawds i remember singing this in high school lol

We are the Swinton girls (hand on hips swaying side to side)
We wear our hair in curls (with a corkscrew motion downwards)
We wear our dungaree's ( motioned thumbs under dungaree straps)
To show our sexy knees (crossed hands on knees back&forth)

You know that boy next door ( thumb pointed to wards the back)
He had me on the floor, (wide armed sweep)
We did it one or twice (haha, mimicked thrusting :/)
And it was rather nice (rather was sang on a cheeky high note & finger near mouth)

My father was suprised ( hand in front with suprised look on face)
To see my belly rise (hands moving infront of belly)
my mother jumped for joy (jumping in air)
To see a baby boy (cradling baby motion)

There was more, about having a baby girl but cannot remember the rest.
All sang to the Tah rah a boom de ay tune :)
A i think back and remember, the lyrics and actions, we just thought they were fun and kinda a school playground anthem lmao.


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Subject: My version of the song!
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 06:30 AM

My version that has been adapted by ME :D

We are the pepsi girls
We wear our hair in curls,
We wear our dungarees
To show our sexy knees,
You know the boy next-door
He said 'get on the floor',He gave me 50p
To go behind the tree,
He pulled my knickers down
And shouted ONE TWO THREE!,
It was a baby girl
It wrecked my parents world,
They said take it away
Then the very next day,
A pretty lady came round
And was shocked at what she found,
There was me
Without my baby,
She asked where it was at
I said go away you old bat,
So she went away
And returned the next day,
But just maybe
I wanted to keep my baby,
But she took her away
So I'll make her pay!
I'll get my darling back
And we'll live in a shack,
That will show them all
That I'm worth a lot more!!!!!!!!!!!


Hope you like it, it is a bit sad but y'know ;D


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 11 - 05:43 PM

we are the dublin girls,
we wear our hair in curls,we wear our dungarees
up to our sexy knees.

there was a boy next door,
he got me on the floor,
he counted 1,2,3,
and stuck it into me.

my mom was so surprised,
to see my belly rise,
my father jumped for joy,
it was a baby boy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 08:30 PM

Just for the record,dungarees (jeans) were not uncommon wear for women the the late 40s, if not earlier. Slacks were definitely common in the 40s, though schools tended to frown on them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 10:58 AM

and how did one wear dungarees to show off pretty knees? Cut0offs didn't appear until the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,azizi
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 11:55 AM

Hello, dick greenhaus

You asked "how did one wear dungarees to show off pretty knees?"

Here's one way: In several examples the words are "We wear our dungarees/Rolled up above our knees."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,tinkerbella
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 08:21 PM

The version we used to sing in primary school went :

We are the London girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Up to our sexy knees

And then the dirty boy next door
He got me on the floor
He did it 50 times
And then he asked for more

My mother was supprised
To see my belly rise
My father jumped with joy
It was a baby boy

I did I naughty thing
I chucked it in the bin
It did a naughty thing
It done a piss in the bin
;)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,???
Date: 12 Aug 12 - 01:42 PM

We are the chealsea girls,
We wear our hair in curls,
We wear our dungaree's right up 2 R sexy knees

My boyfriend said to me,
To give him 50p
To have it on with him,
Under the apple tree.

He counted 1 to 3
He got it stuck in me
He counted 1 to 10
He pulled it out again

My mum was so suprised
To see my belly rise
My daddy jumped with joy
It was a baby boy

We called it loopy-loo
We flushed it down the loo
It come up black n blue
We said who the fu*k are you


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 04:40 PM

we are the ______ girls we wear our hair in curls we wear our dungarees to show our sexy knees

a boy came up to me and gave me fifty p

he shouted 1 2 3 and stuck it into me he shouted 4 5 6 we did the baby mix he shouted 8 6 10 and took it out again

he did it all to me behind the apple tree

my mummy was surprised to see my belly rise my daddy jumped for joy it was a baby boy

we called him loopy loo and flushed him down the loo he came back up again looking all black and blue

wow i remember singing that! didn't realise how dirty it was though until now :/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 13 - 07:20 PM

I have a reference to this "song" from my small town in Michigan from about 1948. It was sung by either the high school girls Glee Club or the girls basketball team:

We are the DeWitt Girls
We wear our hair in curls
we wear our dungarees
Way up above our knees
We never smoke or drink
(That's what our mothers think)
We are the DeWitt Girls
We are the DeWitt girls


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 03:55 PM

No link in the preceding.

FWIW, here are a couple of very different takeoffs, dating (I think) to my childhood (1940s, southern California):

1. Using the verse, not the chorus:

Suzy is a friend of mine.
She will do it any time
For a nickel or a dime.
Suzy is a friend of mine.
Ta-ra-ra etc.

2. For boys, not girls:

Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-aye.
Have you had yours today?
I had mine yesterday.
That's why I sway this way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Wear Our Hair in Curls
From: GUEST,Nadia. T
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 05:33 PM

We are the ...... Girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our dungarees
Above our sexy knees
We don't smoke or drink
That's what out parents think
And when it comes to toys we'd rather play with boys.

Oh the boy next door
He got me on the floor
He went up and down
Till I moaned for more
My mummy cried
As my tummy rised
My daddy jumped for joy
It was a baby boy

This is what we used to sing, didn't actually realise quite how bad this was until now..


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Mudcat time: 22 June 1:27 PM EDT

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