Badges for Bachelors: 1912

A "bachelor button."

A “bachelor button.”

Since it is June, a traditional month to celebrate brides, grooms, trousseaux, and the blessed state of matrimony, Mrs Daffodil will be addressing many of her efforts to stories of bridal fads, fancies and phantoms.

We began last June’s series with this essay on choosing an agreeable husband. Now there comes a novel proposal from a concerned public servant about a way for men to signify eligible bachelorhood.

There was a time when we believed that the fate of the nation was secure so long as Philadelphia stood proudly at the post of propriety. We believe so still, but unfortunately Philadelphia herself seems to have been lured into frivolous ways and to be in danger of losing her proud place as the national mentor. We have it on the authority of Mr. Joseph Rogers, who is the assistant

public prosecutor, that there are married men in Philadelphia who are so lost to all sense of decency as to conceal the fact that they are already prisoners on parole and who have the effrontery to join the quarry for the sake of the exhilarating scamper, with the hunt in close pursuit. It is dreadful to record such things of Philadelphia, but we have always had our suspicions that things are not quite what they seem in the Quaker City.  

But all may yet be well if Mr. Rogers is allowed to have his way. Would that the country were full of just such stalwart officials as Mr. Rogers, who can be trusted to frame a law inside of about two minutes, or to suggest an ordinance that will nip all frivolities in the bud and almost before they have begun to crack the shell. These metaphors are somewhat mixed, but enthusiasm always acts upon us in that way.

Mr. Rogers has sent out a circular advising that all unmarried men be required

to wear a button or a badge as evidence of their unclaimed position. In this way the pursuit could be more intelligently directed and many a woman would be spared the disappointment that sometimes crowns a long and desperate chase.  

The proposal has merits. There is a sporting element about it that appeals to us. In the first place it would bring a measure of relief to the married man, who has troubles enough already without the constant vigilance that should devolve only upon the free. On the other hand, it would impose no real

hardship upon the bachelor, who is presumably young and agile and whose running capacities should be at their prime. It is among the requisites of a good hunt that the scent should be strong and that there should be no cross trails. By the adoption of the bachelor button the married man would be

able to appear in full daylight, while the youthful and athletic bachelor would understand that his safety depended upon his power of sustained flight.

Mrs. Kendal, the celebrated English actress, has been interviewed upon this point, and of course she raises all kinds of objections. She states that whether you put a badge upon the men or upon the bachelors it must kind of a badge that won’t come off.

Many men. she reminds us, wear wedding rings, but some one once told of a German — the story is vastly improbable, but possibly true — who slipped away from home one evening under the pretense of seeing a man about a dog and who came home after nine o’clock with his wedding ring in his waistcoat

pocket. Now what good is any kind of a button, asks Mrs. Kendal, that can be slipped on and off in a moment? Obviously none at all. So she suggests that a ring through the nose would be more efficacious. Let the insertion of the ring by a competent blacksmith be a part of the wedding service, and this could be made into quite a pretty little ceremony by the aid of the anvil chorus. A

husband thus ringed would not only be secure from pursuit and annoyance, but also from temptation, while the ring would be invaluable in the enforcement of domestic discipline.

The Argonaut 23 March 1912.

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil supposes that the most obvious “bachelor button:” a button-hole ornament of Centaurea cyanus, is also easily donned by the “prisoners on parole” who wish to feign a state of single blessedness.

Previously we have read about the “fad” of nose-rings, which was proposed by a female of a certain notoriety and moral flexibility. In an age struggling with the notion of equal rights for the sexes, one should not be surprised to find an equally demeaning proposal  to ring husbands’ noses as well.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.


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