Mass Historia
Hints, Tips and Musings on Living History and Vintage Dance
RSS Feed
The Gentleman's Page
About Mass Historia
Social Daunce Irregulars
Art Deco Society
Join the Dance & History mailing list
E-mail Address


« Patri Pugliese | Main | 1920s Etiquette - Bad Form in Dress »

1920s Etiquette - How Much To Expect of an Escort

Last weekend, I gave a talk on "Art Deco Etiquette" at the Queen Mary Art Deco Festival. The core of this was a series of newspaper articles called "Conduct and Common Sense" by Anne Singleton. These are from the Washington Post archive, but appear to have been originally printed in Vogue. This one comes from December 1926. It is somewhat edited and included to give an idea of the etiquette issues that presented themselves in the 1920s, when women were suddenly "liberated" and people were trying very hard to figure out what the new rules were.

In real society this question doesn't come up, because, in spite of public opinion, the girls in real society don't expect half as much of the boys as the girls in near-society, expect of the young men they call "escorts."

Girls in the world Vogue knows of, do, not put young men to unnecessary expense. Neither would their families permit them to rely upon hard-working young men to hurry out to suburban places near town, fetch the girls to dances in town and take them back again in the late night or early morning hours. No self-respecting parents, and I may say no self-respecting girl, would give a man so much unnecessary trouble.

I know a young man who had been up all one night because a girl he had taken to a party wanted to stay till the end. He then went to business. The next evening he was hastening home to eat, dress and go out in the train to a nearby semi-country place to fetch another girl, accompany her to the city for a dance, and take her back afterward to her parents' house; thus spending another sleepless night before his business day began. I asked him why he went, and he said he couldn't bear to disappoint her. If that had been a girl with any social background, her parents would have seen that she got to the dance somehow without imposing upon the young man's kindness and chivalry. Or she herself would have come down in the, train to meet him, and after the dance would have gone back with some woman, friend, or arranged to spend the night, in town: The "escort" imposition is spared young-men in society.