Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Macaroni Style

I've always been interested in stepping outside contemporary preoccupations to look for historical antecedents or parallels.

In 18th century England, aristocratic young men who traveled to Europe often returned with a fancy foreign style and an affected way of speaking, dining, and wearing clothes. 

The Continental fashions of the day often included tall wigs, frilly cuffs, and colorful fabrics, which struck commentators as effeminate or foppish. 

This style came to be known pejoratively as "macaroni," the term based on the Italian pasta.

Oxford Magazine in 1770 made fun of macaroni style: "There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately started up among us. It is called a macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion."

Americans recognize the term from the song Yankee Doodle, which was originally sung by British soldiers during the Revolution to make fun of Americans. "Yankee Doodle went to town, A-Riding on a pony, Stuck a feather in his cap, And called it macaroni."

Wikipedia on Macaroni Style

1 comment:

My Pen Name said...

Americans forget that Yankee Doodle was meant to mock Americans. It's interesting like other 'negative' terms (gothic, for example) it became neutral or even positive.