orchid crushers

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Jan 21 21:41:40 UTC 2004

John Baker has the right idea, I think.  A part of the depravity of modern youth lay in their attending "tea dances" that began about 5 pm -- tea-time.  This is the point behind the Rev's remark "What we want is daylight between the dancers, and not around them."  I also saw a long article in the Evening Sun (NY) that the posture that young women assumed when dancing with their torso in contact with their partner's torso caused serious maladies of the spine and shoulders.  Evening Sun, January 17, 1917, p. 8, cols. 2-3, for those of you who want to read it before having a serious talk with your children.
The REv. had a way with a lively phrase, anyway, which is more than I can say for our present crop of family-values creeps.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 3:14 pm
Subject: Re: orchid crushers

>        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 [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.
> >
> >GAT
> >
> >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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