Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Shirt-Collar

The Shirt-CollarThe Shirt-Collar

There was once a shirt-collar that was a bit older and decided that it was time he be married. He belonged to a nice gentleman who had a boot-black and a brush. The shirt-collar began scoping out his prospects.

In the wash, he happened to meet up with a lady’s garter. The shirt-collar went on about how good-looking she was and about how great he was and how he owned a boot-black and a brush. The garter was not impressed. She said he was very much like a man and went on in the wash.

The shirt-collar then took his chances with the iron, who was a widow. “Mistress Widow,” he said, but Mistress Widow was not impressed, she ironed him flat and scorched him a bit. He also told the widow he had a boot-black and a brush.

The next woman he tried to woo was a pair of scissors, whom he told should be a dancer. He also told her that he possessed a boot-black and a brush. The scissors were also not impressed and cut the shirt collar up a bit.

Then the shirt-collar tried to woo the hairbrush, but she was already engaged to the bootblack.

After all of this, the shirt-collar gave up on love, but he was old and frayed. He was tossed in with many other scraps to be turned into paper. He boasted to the scraps that he had had many love affairs. There was no peace because all the women were after him. The scissors gave a him a wound which he still suffered. The iron was too warm with her love. The garter jumped in the wash over him.

None of it mattered though, he was turned into paper just the same as the other rags and that piece of paper became the medium for this story.

The End


You may be wondering what in the world is a shirt-collar doing not on a shirt. Well, shirt-collars didn’t always stay attached to shirts. Shirt-collars are something that are supposed to stand out. They’re supposed to be ironed and starched. They may or may not be the same color as the shirt. It was not exactly uncommon for a person to possess a shirt-collar, which would be sewed to the shirt being worn for the day. I know, what a pain in the butt, but people did it. People didn’t exactly change their clothes everyday though, especially poorer people.

If this man had been a bit richer, he probably would have had more than one shirt-collar. As it seems, the man was a bachelor who hired his washing out. I could be wrong on that though.


This shirt-collar was boastful and dishonest. He was stretching the truth to be impressive. He didn’t really own a bootblack or a brush. He didn’t really have many love affairs. None of the women wanted to be around him.

As you may notice, the shirt-collar tried to get your typical women. First, he tried to get the floozy, a garter is a floozy, let’s not mix words here. He thought she was hot stuff, but she wasn’t so interested in him. Then he tried for the widow thinking she would be an easy catch, not so. She had been around the block a time or two and knew what men like him were like. Then the collar went on to a dancer. She was beautiful and all, but the contrast of her beauty and his age and condition didn’t really match up. We would most likely equate the scissors to a much younger woman. The collar then tried for another woman, who was perhaps more sensible and good, but she already had a man.

If the shirt collar had not been so full of himself, perhaps he could have gotten one of these women.

This reminds me of a wonderfully ranty YouTube video I watched. I don’t remember her name, but there is a YouTuber who rants about life, men, being a woman…that sort of thing. One particular rant was about how guys say, “Nice guys finish last,” when they’re trying to get a woman who is out-of-their-league. I kind of feel that’s what’s going on in this story. The shirt-collar was trying to get with women who were not the same as him in any manner. He was trying to boast to improve his standing, but in reality, he didn’t have a standing. He ended up saying he was done with love in his life because he had been trying for women that were totally different. Really, what were a shirt-collar and a pair of scissors going to do together?


Sounds like a middle-aged man trying to get at all the women.

Weigh In

What do you think about the idea of having a relationship with someone completely different than you?

Do you think the shirt-collar could have made any of these relationships work?


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