orchid crushers

Wed Jan 21 20:14:57 UTC 2004

        I take it from context that an "orchid crusher" is a man who dances so closely that he crushes his partner's corsage.  The only Google references to "orchid crusher" are to a Batgirl story of that name in Detective Comics #396 (Feb. 1970).  If anyone is sufficiently interested, no doubt some comic book collector would be willing to describe the story.

        An "old man" who is old enough to be the father of a young girl with whom he is dancing would be about 40 or so, a thought that I find distinctly dispiriting.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: sagehen [mailto:sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: orchid crushers

>I don't want to alarm you folks in the heartland, but I was reading in the
>newspaper just the other day about another menace to the morals of the
>youth of America that is widespread in NYC and no doubt ready to spread
>throughout the country.
>"The tea dances have not invaded Chicago yet, and I hope they will not.
>What we want is daylight between the dancers, and not around them.  One of
>the disgusting features about these dances seems to me to be the activity
>of old men who are old enough to be the fathers of the young girls with
>whom they dance, and the no less pernicious activity of the young men who
>assume the role of orchid crushers.  I don't know whether your readers
>will know what I mean by "orchid crushers," but --" and the Dean, without
>going into explanations, intimated that they were a distinctly undesirable
>element in the community.  ***  New York Times, April 10, 1913, p. 6, col.
>The speaker is the Rev. Dr. W. T. Sumner, Dean of the Cathedral of Sts.
>Peter and Paul, Chicago.
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
>Univ. Pr., 1998.
Are we to assume, from the general sanctimoniousness of the tone, that the
Dean is not intending a sly double entendre here?  The subject line led me
to suppose we had a euphemism for "ballbreaker" under discussion.
A. Murie

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