‘are there any more at home like you?’: usage and origin

USAGE

 

Both in British and American English, the phrase are there any more at home like you? is used as a chat-up line—For example:

– In British English: In the Daily Mirror (London, England) of Monday 14th October 1974, the British author and newspaper columnist Keith Waterhouse (1929-2009) told how two pairs of teenaged boys successfully got off with two pairs of teenaged girls:

After a bit of badinage, such as “Does your mother know you’re out?” or “Are there any more at home like you?”, to which the witty response might be, “Get off your knees!” or “Go on home, your mother wants your boots for loaf tins,” a lifelong friendship lasting at least two weeks is struck up.

– In American English: Edgar Williams wrote the following in his column The Scene In Philadelphia and Its Suburbs, published in The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) of Saturday 14th September 1996:

You’ve sliced many a birthday cake if you ever used the expression, “Hey, kiddo, are there any more at home like you?

 

[On another chat-up line, cf. history of ‘did it hurt when you fell from heaven?’]

 

ORIGIN

 

The phrase are there any more at home like you? was originally a line of Tell me, pretty maiden (I must love some one), one of the songs of the very successful musical comedy Florodora1, first performed at the Lyric Theatre, London, on Saturday 11th November 1899. In the USA, it was first performed at the Casino Theatre, Broadway, New York City, on Monday 12th November 1900.

1 The book was written by Owen Hall (pen name of James Davis – 1853-1907), the music by Leslie Stuart (Thomas Barrett – 1863-1928), and the lyrics by Edward Boyd-Jones and Paul Rubens (1875-1917).

The song Tell me, pretty maiden (I must love some one) is a scene of courtship involving six boys and six girls—the former ask the latter:

Tell me, pretty maiden, Are there any more at home like you?

And the girls ask the boys:

Tell me, gentle stranger, Are there any more at home like you?

(from Florodora: A Musical Comedy (London: Francis, Day & Hunter Limited, 1899))

Both in Britain and in the USA, this song was an instant success and immediately came to be known as (Tell me, pretty maiden,) Are there any more at home like you?—For example:

– in Britain: The following is from the review of Florodora, published in The Morning Post (London, England) of Monday 13th November 1899:

Most of the principals had good songs to sing, and one of the best things in the evening was a concerted number, “Are there any more at home like you?”.

– in the USA: The following is from The Wichita Daily Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) of Sunday 3rd February 1901:

The latest catchy melody in New York is entitled “Tell Me, Pretty Maiden, Are There Any More at Home Like you?” As the sentiment is entirely idiotic, it will have a great vogue.

 

EARLY USAGE

 

In early usage, are there any more at home like you? was used with various meanings—sometimes with no particular meaning—opportunistically so to speak, depending on the contexts.

The earliest use that I have found of are there any more at home like you? as a phrase—albeit with explicit reference to Florodora—is from Magpie: A Bristol Journal of Fun, Fact, and Fiction (Bristol, England) of Thursday 25th April 1901:

Everhart2 whose hoop act has won so much admiration in London town, finishes his starring engagement at the Tivoli and Oxford on Saturday, and returns to New York. In the words of the chappies in Floradora [sic]—“Tell us, graceful Everhart, Are there any more at home like you?

2 The U.S. juggler William Everhart (1868-1948) was the inventor of hoop rolling and hoop juggling.

The following cartoon, published in The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) of Saturday 13th July 1901, alludes to the decision rendered two days earlier by Judge Hall that the marriage ceremony on which Mrs. Annie F. A. Hilton relied to establish her claim to being the widow of John R. Park—who died leaving an estate of the value of nearly $40,000—was not a marriage known to or recognised by the laws of Utah.
—This cartoon depicts Judge Hall handing his decision to Mrs. Hilton; the caption explicitly refers to Florodora:

'are there any more home like you' - The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) - 13 July 1901

“Tell Me, Pretty Maiden, Are There Any More Home Like You?
                                                                    —From “Florodora.”

On Thursday 18th July 1901, The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) mentioned a new popular song in which are there any more at home like you? appeared:

GIRL CATCHERS ALL THE GO
The Style Of Popular Song That Has Taken The Place Of Coon Ditties.

The songs that are going the rounds of New York just now are what are known in the trade as girl catchers. […]
[…]
[…] The favorite now at Coney Island, the beaches and on the excursion boats is “Mamie.” Here is a little of it:
Mamie was a girlie, Mamie was her name,
Ev’rywhere that Mamie went something went the same;
She took well at parties, very well in fact;
Mamie was a klepto-mamie, kleptomamiac;
Once she took a notion in a dry goods store
She would be a lady, that and nothing more,
But a bold floor-walker made her put it back;
Mamie took a sealskin; Mamie got the sack.
                           CHORUS.
M-M-M-M-Mamie, don’t you feel ashamie;
Tell me are there any more at home like you
Disposition shady, but a perfect lady—
A beginner, but a winner.

The earliest occurrence that I have found of are there any more at home like you? used as a phrase, without reference to its origin, is from the caption to this cartoon, published in The Examiner (San Francisco, California) of Saturday 27th July 1901:

SAYS THE WORKINGMAN – – –
(Copyright, 1901, by W. R. Hearst.)

'are there any more at home like you' - The Examiner (San Francisco, California) - 27 July 1901

Are there any more at home like you?” He is now carrying on his shoulders in the steel business one Pierpont Morgan, with eleven hundred millions of watered stock that must pay interest, AND Carnegie, with two hundred and fifty millions of bonds that must pay interest, AND the newly and highly improved Injunction Judge, who forbids workmen to talk to each other, and, like the criminal Connecticut Judge, arrests men for free speech. The worker feels that he has about all he can carry. Do you blame him?

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