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All the single ladies

I’m about as in touch with pop culture these days as I am with the Prime Minister of Britain, but even I have been unable to avoid the new Beyonce video for “All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).”

It’s a simple, yet captivating video featuring Beyonce and two dancers grooving to the song which will camp out in your head with a tent and a campfire and never leave again. It’s based on a Bob Fosse dance performed by Gwen Verdon and two dancers, rocking the pink and yellow pantsuits, called “Mexican Breakfast.” YouTube has several versions of the Gwen Verdon dance with different soundtracks, including the Beyonce single.

The dance has become an Internet meme with several people doing their own versions or dancing along to the original. One guy even did it on the Bonnie Hunt show. A friend of mine has been trying to recruit people to make her own version. I am somewhat tempted because I think it would be hilarious, but I know better. My dance experience is limited to a ballet class I took when I was 5 where I didn’t even get to wear point shoes, so I would undoubtedly suck. There’s also a high kick in the middle that I know I can’t manage without severing some ligaments first. It does sort of make me want to take dance classes though, since it seems like a more fun way of staying in shape than simply running on the treadmill at the YMCA.

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Heather • December 9, 2008 at 11:26 am

I like the Gwen Verdon version, it’s so Fosse. Reminds me of Sweet Charity.

I, also, was shunned from Ms. Luba’s dance class because as she put it, “I knew the steps, but I just didn’t do them right.” When I reached adulthood I said forget Ms. Luba and took Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. I sucked at tap, but the rest I did okay.

Dance class is a fabulous way to maintain your weight, though if you’ve done a half-marathon you probably wont get much of a sweat going.


Chrissy • December 9, 2008 at 11:34 am


This is unrelated to your post today but I wrote this poem this morning as I drug myself to the gym. I hope you enjoy it.

(sing to jingle bells)

Alarm goes off at six

for gym class today

begrudgingly I go

Cursing all the way

Can’t find a parking spot

i’m late to class again

what fun it is to miss warm up

and just wish that you were thin


3lb dumbells 3lb dumbells, I can feel it burn

looking at my thighs in the mirror makes my stomache churn, HEY

3lb dumbells 3lb dumbells, so heavy I can’t see,

and then she says 90 second plank, wait WHAT you’re kidding me!!!


Just_Kelly • December 9, 2008 at 11:38 am

Gave you (and your book) some link love:



Shelley • December 9, 2008 at 11:55 am

With two teenage daughters, I am unfortunately forced to know all about these types of things. Because I hear them over and over. And over. And over. “If you like it then you should have put a ring on it…” Blah blah blah. Is this something a 13 year-old girl needs to be singing at the top of her lungs? Meh. Oh wait…is this actually Beyonce, or “Sasha Fierce?” Because really, I can’t keep them straight.


Sarah • December 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

The real question is, have you seen the Justin Timberlake SNL skit of this? Now THAT’s funny. I can’t find the full version, but this snippet is pretty good too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juWdQHXgZaY


Rachel • December 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

I love the dancing but I can’t get over my hatred for the song. It’s such a far cry from “Independent Women” I mean, I haven’t carefully analyzed the lyrics so maybe I should just keep my mouth shut, but I can’t get past the message that I should, as a single woman, be really driven to get married. Oh well.


Rachael • December 9, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Does it make me a bad person that I was delighted that Beyonce’s butt looks really big in this video? Yeah, I think it does make me a bad person.


s • December 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm

there’s also this version, from snl…



s • December 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm

@s – oh, someone beat me to this. oh well.


Ashley • December 9, 2008 at 12:53 pm

You know what I love about oranges? Eating them is like a zen experience. You have to focus your full attention on getting the peel off, and then spend 8 hours getting all the white stuff off, and it’s delightful to put ones full attention on one thing and have a delicious fruity treat as the reward. Though, perhaps the whole experience of having everything else in the world fall away is the reward… I recommend everyone try meditation via orange peeling.


Sheila • December 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I love learning new things like this from your blog and others. I never really was an independent, single young woman, having been married at age 19, going from my father’s house to my husband’s. I’m pleased with my life choices but endlessly fascinated with the consequences of others’ choices. I don’t comment on things I know nothing about (cats, migraines) and rarely comment at all because your other readers usually cover the all the bases pretty well. Also, I feel I cannot judge the decisions of others without having full knowledge of their situations, which is usually impossible. As a reader of a free blog, I realize that you owe me nothing. As for comments, close them, edit them, leave them as they are. You know your situation—we don’t. Another wonderful single-independent-young woman blogger recently closed her comments for reasons I can only suspect, but deeply respect despite the fact that I do miss them. Your life—your blog—your decisions.


Bob • December 9, 2008 at 1:11 pm

“beauty is in the eye of the beholder” seems to fit here…


Jenny • December 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Jesus Christ.

*stares at my jiggly thighs*

Why is it that when folks lose a lot of weight, keep it off, they must always pay with saggy skin?

Yeah, I guess her butt does look big. In a great way though. I’d pay to have those hips. That SNL version is pretty hilarious…


Emily • December 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

I am not usually out of the loop, but I hadn’t seen this!

I like it. I saw Fosse on Broadway a few years ago and LOVED it. Anything that reminds of that is a good thing.


s • December 9, 2008 at 1:19 pm

@Rachael – i think it looks fine. but, i’m not an expert on famous people’s bodies, real and fake.


s • December 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm

@s – and the link was wrong. omg, i swear i’m leaving after this comment.



SeaShore • December 9, 2008 at 1:40 pm

The “Walk It Out” Gwen Verdon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU3N5c2Kxnw&feature=related entrances me.


Kim • December 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I am obsessed with this song and video. It makes me want to get up and dance with my own crazy metal glove. And I can’t believe people think Beyonce looks bad in any way – she looks incredible!!


Melissa • December 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Actually, dancing is fabulous exercise. And so fun and social! I’ve been getting very into vintage waltzing and polkas and other old-fashioned dances in the past year, and very much enjoying myself there. Of course, there are so many types of dance to choose from…


Karen • December 9, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I have ben playing this song non-stop on my iPod at the gym. It’s halfway annoying, but it keeps me moving. Gotta love that.


DonnaLynn • December 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

I only WISH I had the complete control over my body required to dance like that. The song certainly makes me want to get up and move!



Miche • December 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm

If you think you wanna dance – go for it! I’ve found that doing different things to get a good sweat going really works in maintenance! And I really think B.’s got a gorgeous body – but I’m 60 y/o – If I had the bucks, I might pay a surgeon to make me be like her!


Miche • December 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm

If you think you wanna dance – go for it! I’ve found that doing different things to get a good sweat going really works in maintenance! And I really think B.’s got a gorgeous body – but I’m 60 y/o – If I had the bucks, I might pay a surgeon to make me be like her!


Rene • December 9, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I LOVE this song! My boyfriend sang it for two days straight after I introduced it to him! ;-) And I saw the Gwen Verdon version a couple years ago to a multitude of other songs! I was a dancer in my youth and videos like these make me wanna get back into it! My boyfriend also loves the Beyonce video and agrees that if we get married, my bridesmaids and I should do this at our wedding. The irony being that yeah, he did put a ring on it. ;-) But then, he and I are performers and also, big dorks that way.


Laura • December 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

That’s an art form, being able to do that with your body. Very cool.

She is just so curvaceous and strong!


Kate • December 10, 2008 at 7:56 am

Oh, for Pete’s sake… I so want to do this. I have absolutely no moves, but think it would be awesome!!!

Now I just need to find two other people who are as shameless and crazy as me.


EG • December 10, 2008 at 10:42 am

I’m loving the new Beyonce vid, too! Thanks for the background.


Karen • December 10, 2008 at 10:45 am

@Chrissy – I like your poem/song a lot! Especially the last line of stanza 2 lol


Amy • December 10, 2008 at 1:48 pm

@Rachael – I noticed that her video for the song has all three of them looking very tall/lanky, but in the SNL version she looks more normal. It’s pretty sad we even jack up music videos to make women look skinny and tall.


Becca • December 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm

The next time that you say a song will get stuck in your head, I’m absolutely going to believe you. I haven’t been able to get this out of my brain for the whole day. I finally gave in and bought the song for my iPod. Lesson learned.


PastaQueen • December 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

@Becca – Just *looking* at this post gets this song stuck in my head.


Kimberly • December 10, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I love that song! I cannot get it out of my head and it is now on my iPod for the forseeable future.

And can I admit that the new Britney song is swirling around in there too?

I’m usually a modern rock/country kind of a girl but these 2 pop songs are what make me smile right now every time I hear them.


Sarah • December 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm

I wish my friends wanted to make a version of it! Seriously, how much fun would that be? It’s like this generation’s Thriller dance. Or Macerena… if you want to go there.


Ursala • December 11, 2008 at 2:01 am

You have to see the SNL version with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg…Now that is HILARIOUS!

This is the only full version I could find:



ginna • December 11, 2008 at 8:21 am

Bob Fosse was a true artist. They recently released “Liza with a Z” on DVD. It is AMAZING.


Ashley • December 11, 2008 at 9:30 am

Ok, so not to be negative, but am I the only one who finds this song to be totally obnoxious? I love the dancing, but the song itself just grates on me.


Keri • December 11, 2008 at 9:37 am

@Rachael – It’s so interesting to see everyone’s different opinions of what someone looks like. I was just going to comment how much I would LOVE to have legs and caboose like that! Hahaha. Could that possibly mean that no matter how much we criticize our own bodies that maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who wishes they had a legs or a butt like ours? Hmmm…


Brandi • December 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Well now I feel like the only dork who hasn’t even heard this song, LOL!


PurpleGirl • December 12, 2008 at 4:02 am

You’re right. Totally lodged in my brain. Hells’ bells.


Diana • January 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I have to agree with Melissa. Dancing is the best exercise ever! I had no weight problems when I used to dance C&W and Swing several nights a week. Partner dancing classes are easy to find, and so much fun. That’s how I met my husband, he took a class from me. Jennette, you should try it! It would be fun to read about that experience.


Alecia • September 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

SO speaking of living in the dark ages!! I had never even seen this video until today, almost a year after this was posted. I had heard the song but it always kinda annoyed me, I had never really listened to the lyrics. But after becoming mesmerized by the video I looked them up, and changed my mind. I think it really is kinda a girl power song and not an every women is nothing unless they are wed song. Thanks (even a year later) for yet another obsession PQ.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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