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Debutante Bouquets: Their Uses and Abuses 1884

 
 
 
 

A young and pretty debutante, with a rich papa who owns an opera box and is fond of entertaining, does not like to refuse to carry to balls the bouquets that have been sent her by admiring dudes and dudelettes, and if she did it would cause quite as "great sensation in society as if one of its fair daughters should elope with her groom.

As it is her first Winter at the bewildering atmosphere of fashionable life and her first experience with the sweet essence of flowery adoration, though meaning little, it is construed by her, until she is more experienced in the ways of men, as an emblem or their loving devotion, and she could hardly be expected to relinquish her claim upon the goodwill of her men acquaintances.

In reality the reason of their attentions for the most part to such a young woman is that they are regarded by invitations to dinner, the opera, and the theatre from her dear parents. The motive which influences these attentions from the men, in the majority of cases is reciprocity, and "the laws great present, both in term and essence, the greatest curse that society labors under."

A reform is the only means of meeting the exigencies of the situation, and several very prominent ladies in the fashionable world both married and single, intend to take a very decided position: this Winter in regard to carrying flowers at the balls. It frequently occurs that many ladies in a ball carry eight and nine bouquets, and as many as 18 bouquets have been sent to one young lady, who has taken them all with her to a following ball. It is now pretty generally decided that the older girls will not carry any flowers this Winter, but this decision may be modified at the discretion of any of the ladies in respect to the one bouquet that is sent to each of them by their partner for the cotillion.

The debutantes are free to do as they please and can carry all the bouquets that are sent them for attentions of this kind are as yet new to them. There are some men of wealth who occupy and yet have no claim to what is known as a swell position in society, which they have attained by sending bouquets so large that they have the appearance of small flower beds to those ladies who hold a distinguished position in the social sphere. If a lady receives in the course of a season from one man flowers to the value of $150 which is not unusual, she has an Augustan delicacy of taste in accepting any further favors from him without returning his attentions by some show of pretense.

If he has been presented by an acquaintance of her own standing, possibly by a friend, and she would not accept his flowers otherwise, she invites him to the opera or he is asked to one of her large dinners in return for his civilities. Of course he accepts all her preferred invitations, and in this way is able to meet and talk with the very people he has exhausted every of her means of being introduced to for several years. Should any of these ladies take a liking to him, if he is at all clever or well gifted in the use of verbal confectionery he is asked to their houses in turn. By persistently pursuing this course he will soon find himself acknowledged to the "one of us" the mystic circle.

 

 
 
Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Debutante Bouquets: Their Uses and Abuses 1884
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina

Source:

New York Times : December 7, 1884 p. 14 (1 page)
Time & Date Stamp:  

 

   
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