Time to step out and party a bit, an occasion to put on the dog — affect some sophistication and urbanity.
It all began back in the 11th century with King Boleslaus II of Poland who began the tradition during a war with Russia.
Concerned about the increasing incidence of infidelity on the home front and its impact on troop morale, he legislated that children born of such trysts be taken to the woods to die and the offending women be obligated to nurse puppies in their stead. They were also required to take these dogs wherever they went, resulting in their appearing publicly with them on their lap.
The practice, however, proved so commonplace and ultimately so popular, that it also became fashionable, giving birth to the concept of the lap dog.
Lapdogs were the rage in America after the Civil War, especially King Charles and Blenheim spaniels, imperious looking dogs very distant from the mutts most people knew.
Seeing these snooty dogs pampered by their pretentious owners inspired the charge of putting on the dog which began as college slang at Yale in the 1860s and has been hounding us ever since.