Clapping Game

The informant learned this game from peers at her school.

Kids stand around in a circle and chant “Gigolo, Gig-Gigolo, G-I-G-O-L-O .“ It would begin with one kid doing a complex, original clap that the next kid would have to repeat and add to, etc.

It was performed on the playground.

The informant remembers that the claps could get extremely complicated but that the game was never heavily competitive and was always performed with an intention for fun.

Many clapping games were popular with children but this one is very interesting as it doesn’t rely on a known and consistent clapping formula. Instead, this game relies on creativity and skill of the children. This could be because the children who participated enhjoyed showing off or used it as a means of impressing other children.

Collector: Did Gigolo mean anything different to you in the clapping game? Did you know it meant a male escort?

Informant: Nope, I didn’t. But I don’t think it had a meaning.

The use of the word gigolo, which typically refers to a male escort, seems strange for kids to use. It could be an attempt by children to take what they don’t fully understand or are told is inappropriate and lay claim to it. It could also be ignorance of its true meaning. Another reason for the word choice could be a purely that it was easy and worked well in the song form.