Chaperon

From Academic Kids

For the biological meaning, see chaperone.

A chaperon (or chaperone) is an adult who accompanies or supervises one or more young, unmarried men or women during social occasions usually with the specific intent of preventing inappropriate social or sexual interactions. The chaperon is typically accountable to a third party (usually a parent of one of the accompanied young people).

Traditionally, a chaperon was an older married woman accompaning a woman when men would be present. Her presence was a guarantee of the virtue of the young woman in question. Chaperons for young men were not commonly used in Western society until the latter half of the 20th century.

Chaperons are often resisted and resented by the youths being supervised. The practice of one-on-one chaperons for social occasions has largely fallen out of favor in Western society, though it still has some currency in larger social gatherings such as a high-school dance in certain countries.

The concept of a chaperon is also used in variations of the concept. For example, a chaperon might go with a group of elders to accompany them during outside activities to provide physical support and emergency attention if necessary.

In drama, probably the best known example of a plot revolving around the need for, and lack of, a chaperone is Brandon Thomas's farce Charley's Aunt (1892).

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