Thursday, October 14, 2010


"I didn't yet understand the word 'fop,' but I sure wanted to be one, even if I had to cut off one of my own hands to look this dashing."
-John Waters, on his childhood fascination with Cyril Ritchard's role of Captain Hook, in his book, Role Models [excerpt here]


  1. Care to explain what the word fop means?

    Por favor, senhora...

  2. Oh I am so pleased to introduce you to the wonderful concept of the fop!

    A fop was an effeminate, fashionable, and sarcastic male of the time. While a fop could be gay, the lifestyle was taken up by both sexual preferences. So, a fop is almost like today's modern "metrosexual" except if metrosexuality went beyond clothes and had the same mannerisms and speech associated with those of the feminine persuasion.

    When Hugh Laurie portrayed the Prince of Wales on Blackadder he was a fop...a dumb one:

    The character of Bouffant from Let them Eat Cake is a gay fop, and a smart one so the wit and sarcasm is never-ending: and

  3. I have just spent several days reading just about everything on this blog. Well done!
    I feel like I know everyone.
    Since so much of what I wanted to comment on was from posts from months or years ago I'll just make a couple of comments here:
    Young Victoria, the movie, Sarah Ferguson was one of the producers. She got Beatrice her daughter a bit part in the movie. You can see her in the coronation scene. Her dad is the Duke of York, second son of QEII. Beatrice looks very much like her many times great grandmother.
    You can also see in that movie some of the coronets worn by the aristos. The kind and style is strictly set and you can tell rank just like with military uiforms. Might make an interesting post.
    And finally, one of your tarts escaped justice because no one could believe such a girl could have murdered anyone. Forget which one (I read so many at once!).
    You wrote the victim was found to have died of mercury poisoning. To the people of the time this would have been a bit of a dog whistle that his morals were not what they should have been as mercury was commonly prescribed for syphilis.
    So, it would not have been hard to portray the man as getting his just deserts from a life not well lived.

  4. I don't know that a fop was necessarily considered effeminate at the time.
    A fop was someone excessively concerned about his appearance and fashion.
    Depending on the decade you might consider one man's fop to be another's well put together.

    Don't forget it was in the last decade of the 18th century that a male's concern with his appearance started to nudge over into not quite manly, what with the Revolution and everything.

    With our modern eyes we consider many of their fashions foppish when they would not have been to the people of the time.

  5. @Fabulastic, I don't know if you read my message about the use of fans. Do you know what's the name of your mother's book ?? the one about fan ettiquete You can tell me its name in spanish or in english if you please. Or even in portuguese, i'll only look for a transalation pleaseee :)

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  7. Thank you so very much for introducing me to that expression. I was familiar with the Macaroni...but not with the Fop.

    Also I must thank you for introducing me to the «let them eat cake» sitcom. I spent all day watching to the available episodes on the internet...

    Miss Honnête: I have answered to your question in the previous post. I do not recall the book's name, nor mama. We own an about 50000 books library, so it is quite hard to look for something. But I promise that if one day I come across it, I will post the name here (with permission of our lovely hostess, that is). I hope you understand...

  8. @Fabulastic
    thank you for your polite reply,
    forgive my folly of not reading your answer before.

    I'm green of envy!! How lovely to have such an extensive library!

  9. @Lexi, Argh, I lost track of my comments, you'll have to excuse my faux pas because I am so delighted you found my little blog!

    I agree, I doubt fops would be described as effeminate in the 18th century; they tended to be mocked just for being over the top. But in the time when it was "in" to be in touch with your emotions (something stigmatized now) there really was no effeminate!

    @Honnete, If it satisfies you in the meantime you can google fan language or a like phrase and there are a few sites that have the codes. They also talk about it in The Courtiers because some women were purposely immortalized sending secret fan language messages!