The History Main Page New York City Directory The World Of Society Main Directory    

Etiquette Advice To The Bachelor That Entertains

When The Bachelor Is Host

Until very recently, the bachelor was rarely a host, was rarely expected to entertain. In fact, some people considered it unconventional to attend a bachelor entertainment. But with the tremendous increase of bachelor apartments and bachelor hotels and even bachelor clubs, it is now quite the usual custom for him to entertain friends at dinner parties, theater parties, teas and in almost any other way which strikes his fancy.

However, no bachelor should invite guests to his home unless he has a full retinue of servants to care for their wants. There should be no confusion, no awkwardness. If he is a professional man--an artist, author or musician--he may entertain guests at his studio without servants, except perhaps one to attend to the buffet supper which is most usual at such functions. But that is the only exception; a large entertainment in a bachelor's establishment requires as careful preparation as a fashionable social function in a well-regulated household.

When an unmarried man gives house parties, dinners or entertainments of any kind whatever, he always asks a married woman of his acquaintance to act as chaperon. She should be the first person invited, and the usual method of invitation is a personal call at her home.

Welcoming The Guests

The host receives his guests at the door, welcoming each one with outstretched hand, and introducing immediately to the chaperon or chaperons those guests whom they do not already know. When the reception is a particularly large one, a man servant usually awaits the guests at the door and the host receives in the drawing-room.

The question has arisen on various occasions, whether or not the bachelor is expected to provide dressing-rooms for his guests. If as many as thirty or forty are expected the bed-rooms may be made to serve the purpose of dressing-rooms for the evening. The matter is one entirely dependent upon circumstances and convenience when the entertainment is held in the home of the bachelor himself; but when a large entertainment is given in a hall, dressing-rooms are of course essential.

Very often, when the reception is held in the bachelor's own apartments, where there is only one servant, the chaperon is asked to pour the tea while the host himself serves it. This is a very pretty custom; it certainly lends dignity and impressiveness to the bachelor entertainment to see a charming, matron at the head of the table. And having the bachelor himself serve the refreshments, a certain companionship and friendliness is created among the guests.

The Bachelor's Dinner

Although he is not expected to retaliate in the matter of invitations to dinners and luncheons, the bachelor often gives dinner parties. For the host is no less eager to entertain than the hostess, and many unmarried men find keen pleasure in gathering their friends about them for a pleasant evening.

In detail, the bachelor's dinner, formal or informal, is very much like the ordinary dinner. The same holds true of the luncheon or supper party. The menu may be identical, if he pleases; but often an elaborate Chinese, French or Italian menu is decided upon as a novelty.

If the guests are all gentlemen, one butler may attend to all their wants, including the serving of the courses. But if there are ladies in the party, the chaperon must be present, and perhaps one or two white-capped maids to serve the dinner.

If the dinner is given in honor of a lady, her seat is always at the right of the host at the table. If there is no guest of honor, this
place is filled by the matron who is serving as chaperon.

It is she who makes the first move to leave the dining-room.

The host must extend cordial thanks to the chaperon when she is ready to depart. It is usually upon her good judgment and influence that the success of the dinner depends, and surely the host owes her a debt of gratitude if everything has run smoothly and pleasantly. He also bids his guests a cordial adieu and graciously accepts their thanks for a pleasant evening.

Music is often provided for the entertainment of the guests after a dinner-party. It is not unusual for the host to obtain the services of well-known professional singers and players for the evening.

Tea At A Bachelor Apartment

The bachelor who feels that he must be hospitable to his friends and entertain them at his home, may safely choose the afternoon tea without apprehension as it is the simplest of entertainments. Of course a chaperon is necessary, as she is at all his entertainments; but there is less restraint and less formality at a tea than at almost any other social function.

Invitations should be issued a week or ten days before the day set for the tea. Guests may include both sexes; but if there are only gentlemen, they may be invited verbally. The tea is served in the dining-room, or if he wishes, the host may have small tea tables laid out in the drawing-room. A silver tea service is always attractive and pleasing, and the host may pour the beverage if the guests are all gentlemen. If ladies are present, either the chaperon may pour, or a servant. Refreshments should consist of delicate sandwiches, assorted cakes and wafers, salted almonds, confections and tea. If there are some among the guests who do not drink tea, chocolate may be served.

As they depart the bachelor host accompanies each one of his guests to the door bidding him or her a cordial goodbye. The chaperon must be especially thanked for her service and shown particular deference. Indeed, her host should accompany her after the reception, to her own door if she is without car or escort.

The Bachelor Dance

Wealthy bachelors find pleasure and diversion in giving huge balls and dances. Dinner or a midnight supper may be a delightful adjunct to the dance. A fashionable ball of this kind is sometimes given for the important purpose of introducing a young sister or another relative to society.

The ball is rarely, if ever, held in the bachelor's own apartments. He hires a hall for the occasion, and arranges with several of his married friends to act as chaperons. They also receive with him and help him introduce the guests. As these arrive, they divest themselves of their wraps, in the dressing-rooms provided for the purpose, and then are received in the ballroom by the host and the chaperons. Introductions are made, and the music and dancing begins.

There are not very many bachelors who can entertain in this lavish fashion; but the simpler entertainments, if they have the correct spirit of cordial hospitality, go a long way in establishing the desired relationship between the host and his friends. After all, it is the
little things that count; and little courtesies may fittingly repay elaborate ceremonials and fashionable functions, if they are offered in
sincere friendliness and warmth.

Theater Parties

Always a favorite with the bachelor, the theater party has recently become his main forte. First in importance, of course, is the selection of a play, a matter which is largely determined by the kinds of visitors the host intends to invite. There is nothing more disturbing than to invite one's friends to a play, and then to feel that they have not enjoyed it. In selecting something light and amusing, or else the performance of some celebrated star, the host is comparatively sure of pleasing most of his guests.

Another important point is to bring together only congenial people for the theater party. One person out of harmony with the rest will spoil the whole evening as certainly as a sudden summer shower spoils the most elaborately planned garden party. It is important to select only those people whose tastes and temperaments blend.

Invitations are informal. A brief, cordial note handwritten on personal stationery is preferred, although some men like to use their club stationery. The name of the play may be mentioned in the invitation. An immediate response is expected, as the host must be given sufficient time to choose another guest, if for some reason, the one invited cannot attend. Men and women may be invited to the theater party, and if there are married couples in the party, a chaperon is not particularly necessary.

Yachting Parties

When a bachelor invites several men and women friends to dine on his yacht, or to take a short cruise, it is absolutely bad form to omit the chaperon. She must be a married woman, and she may join the party with or without her husband. Another important point regarding yachting parties; the host must supply a gig or rowboat to carry his guests to and from the shore, and he must stand on the gangway to greet each one as he arrives, and assist him to the deck of the yacht.

In giving entertainments, the bachelor must remember at no special social obligations are expected of him. He need not be lavish in his dinners and parties, unless he wishes to and can afford it. Simple entertainments, given the spirit of good fellowship and hospitality, are always appreciated and tend to substantially strengthen friendships.


Website: The History
Article Name: Etiquette Advice To The Bachelor That Entertains
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


 Bibliography: From My Collection of Books; Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eichler Volume I and II, Nelson Doubleday, Inc. Oyster Bay, N.Y. 1921
Time & Date Stamp:  


  Privacy statement | Terms of use