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Home: The Toast

paul whitemanYou never know what you’ll find poking through the loose sheet music in an antiques store. Take this, for example: a souvenir from the days when Ivy League schools were good at football, orchestra leaders were a cultural force, and other things were not so different at all.

Ladies! Gather ’round the parlor piano and tune your ukuleles to B-flat, because I’m about to teach you the new song all the college boys will be singing at the homecoming bonfires. It’s called “Hold ’Em,” and it’s by my pal Eddie DeLange and me, Dave Ringle.

Listen all you Football men, you’re so brave and bold,
But when it comes to makin’ love, you leave the girlies cold.
If you’re gonna have a date you ought to do it right,
Why not get your Dander up and show a little fight…

Don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about football to see where this is going!

HOLD ’EM Yale! HOLD ’EM Yale! You’re so strong and they’re so frail
So when you get the chance, just HOLD ’EM Yale
Kiss ’em Yale! Kiss ’em Yale! Girls all like a husky male
Go on and take a chance and Kiss ’em Yale!
When you fight for dear old Yale you put the ball across,
But when you’re with the “weaker sex” she throws you for a loss…

What’s the matter, dollface? You’re not laughing! Oh, I get it, you’re worried you won’t get fixed up with a Yale man. No problem, I’ve got a chorus for all the big teams!

HOLD ’EM Brown! HOLD ’EM Brown! Now’s the time to go to town
So when you get the chance, just HOLD ’EM Brown!
Kiss ’em Brown! Kiss ’em Brown! You’re the king so wear the crown,
Don’t let them turn you down, just Kiss ’em Brown!

When you try a forward pass you strive with might and main,
So when you strive to win a lass just carry on the same
Oh! HOLD ’EM Brown! HOLD ’EM Brown!
Squeeze ’em till they holler “DOWN”
Don’t worry if they frown just HOLD ’EM Brown!

Well, my my, if those college boys could see the frowny faces in this room, they would get worried! Loosen up, girls! You brainy Bryn Mawr types will want to memorize this chorus to let the boys at Penn know you’re still marriage material:

I have seen you make a gain with just a yard to go,
Why don’t you use the same attack before the girl says “No”
HOLD ’EM Penn! HOLD ’EM Penn! You can tell ’em to say “when”
But while you’ve got the chance just HOLD ’EM Penn!

What? Yes, of course these are the real words. Hey, you Catholic girls, I’ve got just the thing to inspire those boys at Notre Dame:

No one stopped the “Horsemen” with the toughest forward wall
So you must use the right attack to make the girlies fall…

Go Irish! But, Dave, I think I hear you saying, what if the school where I hunt for a husband doesn’t have a one-syllable nickname? I’ve already thought of that:

HOLD ’EM long, HOLD ’EM strong, Minnesota use your brawn…
And prove to them with kisses, you belong
With the Minnesota shift you stripped the Big Tens’ gears
If you don’t shift from cold to hot, you’ll have the girl in tears, So!
HOLD ’EM long, HOLD ’EM strong, HOLD ’EM till the break of dawn
They love it Minnesota, HOLD ’EM long.

I know sometimes you girls like to tease, so it’s important for the guys to know that they really owe it to you to follow through.

Kiss ’em too, kiss ’em too, or they’ll find somebody new
Then they will have the laugh on you Purdue

That one reminds your fella that if he doesn’t press his advantage while he’s got the chance, you’ll just turn around and put out for someone else. And won’t he feel like a chump then! If it’s a Princeton man you want to shame, try this:

Tigers of old Nassau are the bravest on the field
But who’d call you a Tiger if you can’t get her to yield

That’ll get him going!

Kiss ’em men, kiss ’em men, don’t you let ’em tell you “when”
You’ll be the boy-friend then old Michigan.

Who’s traveling up Ithaca way? This’ll make the trip worthwhile:

Kiss ’em right, kiss ’em right even if they show some fight
Just keep on kissing Cornell, kiss ’em right.
You have won when they all thought you didn’t have a chance
So just remember girls all go for anything in pants, Oh!

HOLD ’EM well, make ’em yell, if you’re good they’ll think you’re swell
And they’ll take off their hats to Old Cornell.

You’re welcome, gals. And remember, if I left out your boyfriend’s school, I’m happy to take requests! That’s the beauty of this thing—not only is it clever, the message is universal.

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Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an associate editor at Commonweal magazine. She has two children, a turtle, and a weakness for vintage sheet music.

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