“As a contrast to the masculine girl and her swagger, it might be pertinent to present the ‘sissy man’ and his affectations. You see this rare exotic in full bloom at those essentially feminine ceremonies known as five-o’clock teas, where nothing sweetened and tied up with a bow furnishes the repast, where soft light filters through rose-hued shades over fair faces and aestheticism revels in daintiness galore. The ‘sissy man’ has his prototype in Paris and in London, and one of his chief characteristics is his devotion to the married women, particularly if she has a monster of a husband that can’t understand Browning and had rather shovel coal than read Rossetti. The ‘sissy’ makes it a point to calmly ignore the husband, who would kick him out for his impertinence only that he knows what a harmless little lamb he is and thinks it would be needlessly cruel.
He knows, according to the New York Sun, more about the code of candy giving and the etiquette of flowers than he does about the constitution of the United States. He has his sweet apartments, where the foot sinks noiselessly into velvet rugs and the walls are draped with sigh-away tints and hung with Pre-Raphaelite etchings. He gives his dear little teas, where the china is exquisite, the appointments elaborate and beautiful. He is up on doylies, and knows all about linen and silver. He persuades his married divinity to preside at the urn and gives himself up to the perfect ecstasy of adoring and serving her.
A nice old lady who was invited to one of these teas, and went early because she thought the poor fellow wouldn’t have enough spoons and napkins, or think to dust the glassware, and would be terribly upset and frustrated, looked on in amazement while the host made delicious cream things in a silver chafing dish and apologized for the stupidity of his servant, who gave someone a chocolate spoon with a teacup. And when he began telling how he had a dinner served for four every night, whether he invited any guests or not, and that there was the same order of service and quite as elaborate a menu when he dined quite alone, as when his most honored guests were at the feast, because that was the proper way to train servants and manage a household. ” – Daly Alta, 1893
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia