Four days ago, on a smoggy street corner,
I matched a cigarette and stood as cars with
lawn mower engines swept past me, my cigarette,
and a small group of children with encouraging
advertisements emblazened on their tee-shirts.

This is what I heard:

"There's a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance
There's a hole in the wall..."

Before I could hear the rest of their conversation,
a mayonaise truck was rear ended by a rolls-royce.
There was mayonaise everywhere. The children ran
into the street. I think that's when I
caught this cold I got.

There’s a place in France,
Where the naked ladies dance.
There’s a hole in the wall
Where the men can watch it all.

There are a number of children's rhymes based around this melody; for more information about the melody and its original lyric, see the Streets Of Cairo. This writeup, on the other hand, will be devoted to the modern mutations of this tune as performed by the children of America (and probably other countries, too). These various versions of the song are often adapted as clapping rhymes and jump rope rhymes.

First of all, it should be noted that since the seventies, France has more and more frequently been replaced with Mars. I don't know why this is, but it seems to fit in well with the song's gradual drift into nonsense. I won't try to put the various lyrics I've found in chronological order, but I will start with the older 'France' version, and 'progress' to the 'Mars' version. Have fun, and sing along!

There’s a place in France,
Where the naked ladies dance.
There’s a hole in the wall,
Where the men watch it all.
But the men don't care,
'Cuz they chew their underwear,
And the underwear they chew
Costs a dollar ninety two.

I don't know where this came from; it doesn't seem to have any relation to Streets Of Cairo (except for the melody). If you have any information on this, let me know. It doesn't sound like something that was created entirely by children, although any song involving nudity and underwear is bound to popular in the schoolyard. The next version I have does sound like something that might be a youngster's attempt at a 'dirty' song, using the previous as a basis.

There's a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance,
And the dance they do
Is enough to kill a Jew,
And the Jew they kill
Is enough to take a pill,
And the pill they take
Is enough to fry a snake,
And the snake they fry
Is enough to tell a lie,
And the lie they tell
Is enough to go to hell.

From here on out it gets more milquetoast; perhaps an adult got hold of it, rewrote it, and re-released it to the local urchins. I seem to recall hearing a version of this on a Sharon, Lois, and Bram record in the 80s; however I believe that this next version was around in the 70s. It is in this version that you start seeing Mars most often, although France is still used occasionally.

There’s a place on Mars
Where the ladies smoke cigars,
And the men don't care
'Cause they eat their underwear.*

I can't find the verse that follows... something about Grandma being a witch, I think. I'll keep looking. But more often the couplet about the men is dropped, and a snake is introduced to take his place. This is close to what Sharon, Lois, and Bram sang.

There’s a place on Mars
Where the Ladies Smoke Cigars;
Every Puff They Take
Is Enough To Kill A Snake.
When The Snake is Dead,
They Put Roses in Their Heads.
When The Roses Die,
They Put Diamonds In Their Eyes.
When The Diamonds Break,
It's The End of 78.

(or 88, or 98... I don't know what they use these days. 08?)

One more before I leave you; on much the same vein as the last one, here is the extended 'one, two, buckle my shoe' version. This is 'specially formulated as a jump rope rhyme.

There's a place on Mars
where the ladies smoke cigars
every puff they take
is enough to kill a snake.
When the snake is dead
you put diamonds in his head.
When the diamonds break
it's enough to bake a cake
When the cake is done
it is 1991.
When you tie your shoe
it is 1992.
When you get stung by a bee
it is 1993.
When you slam a door
it is 1994.
When you dance the jive
it is 1995.
When you pick up sticks
it is 1996.
When you like a boy named Devon
it is 1997.
When you close the gate
it is 1998.
When you're feelin' fine
it is 1999.
Then it gets all cold
then you Freeze!

* Did I say milquetoast? Well, sort of. I also found this one...

In the land of Oz
Where the women wear no bras
And the men don't care
'Cause they wear no underwear
And there's a big fat genie
With an artificial weenie
So now you know
Why you shouldn't go

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