One Two Three Four Roll It Up a Little More

This particular rhyme was sort of a subject of legend around my playground – no one, to my knowledge, ever ACTUALLY heard girls saying this one (and doing the actions that went with it), but a few people claimed they had. A kid (I think his name was Nick) excitedly told me, long about 1990, that the girls were all singing this song….

It was said to be a rhyme said while rolling up one’ shirt, stopping just before “the moment of truth” (as one folklorist who collected this put it):”

One, two, three, four
roll it up a little more
five, six, seven, eight
sorry, boys, coffee break!

Sherman (whose book is on the right) collected a version about skirts instead of shirts. Not sure how far back it goes, but it seems to be reasonably widespread and still in circulation, but “skirt lifting” rhymes aren’t that common in the states. It was rumored among boys at school that there WERE rhymes where girls lifted their skirts, but I’m reasonably sure that was a myth. However, they seem to have been fairly common in the UK – see I’m Shirley Temple and the variants of Salute the King.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Hi!
    Actually this came to my school in Toronto, Ontario in 2001.
    No variation, that's the rhyme, with the shirt being rolled up.

    Reply
  2. cinda

    I used to sing this rhyme while rolling up my shirt with my neighborhood girlfriends in the early to mid 80's in Chicago area. I just found this site and it's awesome! I should have my two older sisters get on and post on here! They can remember way more than i can!

    Reply
  3. Paulina

    I heard this rhyme about 2 days ago at my school in California. In Orange County:) Haha It's so catchy! ;P

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Catholic school girls skirt- "1, 2, 3, 4- roll it up a little more. 5, 6, 7, 8- sorry (name), got a date."

    Reply
  5. susan

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  6. Anonymous

    I've heated 1234 I declare a thumb war.
    5678 try to keep your thumb straight.

    Reply
  7. Misse Viscous

    Sadly, this version isn't dirty at all, but it's a skipping rhyme we chanted:

    One two, buckle my shoe
    Three four, shut the door
    Five six, pick up sticks
    Seven eight, lay them straight
    Nine ten, a big fat hen!

    Victoria BC, 1979/1980

    Reply
  8. sam

    Found this because I googled the rhyme
    There was a girl who did this to me a few times when I was around 2-3rd grade
    She was a few years older, neighborhood girl, lifted skirt

    This happened in Fremont California late 90’s
    I remember it fondly : )

    Reply

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