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Tea and sympathy

Posted by Woodchuck on November 16, 2002

In Reply to: Tea and sympathy posted by Stan on November 16, 2002

: : : I've heard of this term being used, but I am not sure what it exactly means. Anyone have a clue?

: : Tea and sympathy. Caring and hospitable behaviour towards a troubled person. The phrase comes from the title of Robert Anderson's play of 1953 about the problems faced by a sensitive teenage schoolboy accused of homosexuality. The 'tea and sympathy' in question is provided by the housemaster's wife. A film version followed in 1956.

: : All you supposed to do is every once in a while give the boys a little tea and sympathy.
: : ROBERT ANDERSON: _Tea and Sympathy_, I
: : From _Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable_ by Adrian Room

: :That phrase is is The Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil". I've heard it a million times; now I get it. kudos

Said with a nudge and a wink it means seduction under the guise of sympathy: "The boy next door was home nursing a minor illness so she put on her most flattering dress and went over to provide some 'Tea and Sympathy.'"

This also derives from the play as the housemaster's wife is as alienated as the boy and it's unclear who is comforting who. Their affinity develops into a sexual encounter in the final scene.