Friday, August 19, 2016

New Favicon - The Green Carnation

Before we got the Internet and all the hookup apps, gay men with faulty or spurious gaydar - much like myself - tried coming up with various clear but subtle and innocuous ways of identifying one another in the vast ocean of stunningly handsome heterosexual men.

Ever since Blogger started allowing "favicons" (a.k.a. website icon or bookmark icon) I have availed myself of it as a means of identifying this blog as gay operated. I have used various LGBT symbols to do this, first the λ-sign, then I moved on to the pink triangle. 

When I started looking for a new favicon I came across an account about Oscar Wilde, the biggest and butchest poofter of us all.

It is said that he and his group of friends in the Victorian England of the 1890's wore a green carnation as an emblem.

It would seem - judging from a Wikipedia article on LGBT-symbols - that in doing so the group picked up a previous tradition among homosexuals in ancient Rome.

As it turns out Noël Coward, another member of our fabulous crowd, also used the flower in a song in his operetta "Bitter Sweet" (1928/29).

We'll All Wear A Green Carnation
Lyrics by Noël Coward

Blasé boys are we,
Exquisitely free
From the dreary and quite absurd
Moral views of the common herd.
We like porphyry bowls,
Chandeliers and stoles.
We're most spirited,
Carefully filleted souls.
Pretty boys, 
Witty boys,
Too, too, too
Lazy to fight stagnation.
Haughty boys,
Naughty boys,
All we do
Is to pursue sensation.
The portals of society are always open'd wide.
The world our eccentricity condones.
A note of quaint variety we're certain to provide.
We dress in very decorative tones.
Faded boys, 
Jaded boys,
Womankind's gift to a bulldog nation.
In order to distinguish us from less enlightened minds,
We all wear a green carnation.

We believe in Art,
Though we're poles apart
From the fools who are thrilled by 'Greuze'
We like 'Beardsley' and green 'Chartreuse'.
Women say we're too 
Bored to bill and coo.
We smile wearily.
It’s so drearily true.
Pretty boys,
Witty boys,
You may sneer
At our disintegration.
Haughty boys,
Naughty boys,
Dear, dear, dear!
Swooning with affectation.
Our figures sleek and willowy,
Our lips incarnadine
May worry the majority a bit.
But matrons rich and billowy
Invite us out to dine
And revel in our phosphorescent wit.
Faded boys,
Jaded boys,
Come what may,
Art is our inspiration.
And as we are the reason for the 'Nineties' being Gay:
We all wear a green carnation.

Pretty boys,
Witty boys
Yearning for
Permanent adulation.
Haughty boys,
Naughty boys,
Every pore
Bursting with self inflation.
We feel we're rather 'Grecian,' as our manners indicate.
Our sense of moral values isn't strong.
For ultimate completion we shall really have to wait
Until the day of judgment comes along.
Faded boys,
Jaded boys,
Each one craves
Some sort of soul starvation.
But when we rise reluctantly but gracefully from our graves,
We'll all wear a green carnation.


  1. One of my favourite detectives of the Golden Age, Philo Vance, within the first few pages of his debut in 1926 (The Benson Murder Case) is asked whether he's planning on wearing a green carnation as he dresses for the day. (He suggests that they're out of fashion and no one except roues and bandleaders wears carnations any more.)
    If you look up Wikipedia's article on the original Robert Hitchens novel ( you'll get the fine details. Wilde wasn't known to actually wear green carnations, but the book was a roman a clef about their lives and the green carnation soon became associated with Wilde's scandalous life (the book was quoted at his trial for gross indecency).

    1. Ahhh thanks for enlightening me even more about the green carnation and its use. I hadn't heard about it until I stumbled over it somewhere on the Internet.


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