According to contemporary Thomas Wright The macaronis were distinguished especially by an immense knot of artificial hair behind, by a very small cock-hat, by an enormous walking-stick, with long tassels, and by jacket, waistcoat, and breeches of very close cut. . . . Metrosexual man: the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that's where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade.
pLaY Yankee Doodling BY JOHN THORN In the years before the Revolution made it Although earlier clues abound, we need hat and called it macaroni,” that jibe may well America’s patriotic anthem, “Yankee Doo- look back no farther than 1775, when after the have originated about the time of the Macaroni dle” was a song of derision that the British battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental army, Club, established in London in the 1760s by men heaped upon ignorant colonists hoping to under General Washington’s command, was of polymorphous sexuality. By 1772 the maca- attain foppish stature by aping English gentle- encamped in the vicinity of Boston. The Tories roni was a national infatuation, even spawning men. The first verse and refrain, as generally were then singing to the old tune of “Lucy the Macaroni and Theatrical Magazine. According sung by children today, run thus: Locket” these lines: to contemporary Thomas Wright: Yankee Doodle went to town, Yankee Doodle came to town The macaronis were distinguished espe- A-riding on a pony. For to buy a firelock; cially by an immense knot of artificial hair He stuck a feather in his hat We will tar and feather him, behind, by a very small cock-hat, by an And called it macaroni. And so we will John Hancock. enormous walking-stick, with long tassels, Yankee Doodle, keep it up, and by jacket, waistcoat, and breeches of Yankee Doodle dandy. Thomas Ditson, of Billerica, Massachusetts, very close cut. . . . Macaronis were the Yankee Doodle round the world, was the one actually tarred and feathered for most attractive objects in the ball, or at the As sweet as sugar candy. attempting to buy a musket in Boston in March theatre. Macaronis abounded everywhere. 1775. The Battle of Bunker Hill in June turned This seems a mild enough if not fully fath- Named for the vermicelli-based pasta enjoyed the tables, however, as “Yankee Doodle” came omable jest—hardly a slander. How then to by cultivated young Englishmen of the 1760s to be sung by the patriots. The complete Amer- account for the eponymous hero’s enduring on their tours of Italy—thought by the Eng- icanization of the song ensued as Harvard power as a figure of fun? What precisely was lish to be a particular den of perversion, even student Edward Bangs penned the following a Yankee, or a Doodle, or most intriguingly, a more so than France or Spain—the macaroni during George Washington’s presence at the macaroni? embodied the consumption of continental provincial camp in Cambridge in 1775: Some savants trace the history of “Yan- fare in intellectual and moral spheres, as well. kee Doodle” back to a harvesting song of Father and I went down to camp, Old-fashioned Englishmen came to identify fifteenth-century Holland, “Yanker dudel Along with Captain Gooding, macaroni culture with all that was outlandish
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