Following is one of the verses from the song Billy Jean by Micheal Jackson (this is the full version of the lyrics of the song):

For forty days and forty nights
Law was on her side
But who can stand when shes in demand
Her schemes and plans
Though we danced on the floor in the round
So take my strong advice
Just remember to always think twice
(Do think twice, do think twice)

What does "stand" in line 3 of the verse mean?

2 Answers 2


As a disclaimer, I want to note that song lyrics have a habit of not actually making sense in a literal way. However...

In this case, "can stand" is an idiomatic phrase that is fairly common, but appears more often in the form "cannot stand", which means "cannot tolerate" or "cannot deal with" something. So when you say "Who can stand when ...", the conditional is introduced, in this case the condition of "she is in demand". Additionally, this is a rhetorical question, and altogether implies "One cannot tolerate when she's in demand"


Based on the dictionary definitions for "stand", here are some key alternatives that may make sense in this context:

  • To undergo or submit to
  • To endure or tolerate, resist
  • To remain stationary or inactive
  • To derive benefit or enjoyment from

Specifically, this song is about a girl (up for debate: one girl in particular, or in a composite sense; "groupie") who seduces the singer and then claims that she is pregnant with his child. This verse appears to suggest that, even though he recognizes the seduction that is occurring, he is unable to "stand" - resist, avoid falling for it.

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