Paris, beginning of the 19th century. It is the first warm day of the year and a small group, made up of members of high society, is on a trip to the countryside.

After admiring the beauties of nature, they turned to the servant who had chosen a place for the picnic the day before.

They sat down on beautiful blankets, ate and drank exquisitely and enjoyed the sparkling conversation of the well-known charmer.

But suddenly he grabbed at his neck, gurgled briefly and fell to the ground apparently lifeless.

 

What sounds like the beginning of a bad crime story has happened dozens of times, on the sunny meadows of Vienna as well as in the salons from London to Paris.

But neither poison nor a jealous rival was to blame, but simply an article of clothing that was soon to bear the resounding name “patricide.

 

Today, patricides are hardly known, since they have not been worn for a long time.

But you can still see them in numerous paintings, those high, stiff and open-to-the-front shirt collars, whose upwardly protruding ends reached up to the chin.

 

How they got their name is unfortunately not known, but there are some interesting stories about them.

One of them says that the collar was known in France as “parasite”, i.e. as “blackhead” or “parasite”, because food remains easily got caught on the long, upward pointing tips. But perhaps the name also comes from the fact that patricides could be put on different shirts and were therefore called “parasite”.

Since this fashion came from France, the Germans also adopted the French name for it, but erroneously used the word “parricide,” which is hardly distinguishable from “parasite,” which means “patricide.

 

Of course there are also some more flowery versions about the origin of this name.

It is said, for example, that once a drunken family father sat down on a park bench after a night of drinking to rest. He was not supposed to get up again, because the stiff standing collar cut off his windpipe and he was found dead the next morning.

Another story tells of how a son returning home from a foreign country wanted to kiss his father with joy, but hit his collar in the eye with such force that he died of it.

These and similar cases should have finally led to the term “patricide” becoming naturalized.

 

Which brings us back to our story from the beginning. Wearing the high and tight collar could easily lead to a drop in blood pressure with accompanying dizziness, which in the worst case led to a circulatory collapse.

Thank God the gentlemen involved already knew about this problem and so the poor man simply opened the collar of his shirt, whereupon he was soon able to enjoy the day again in convivial company.