To give the average woman a finishing school education… And thus be wooed by a keen but orderly queue of publishers.
I am an aspiring writer living in Melbourne, Australia, and one of our culture’s last finishing school girls, pearls, pony, cashmere and all.
More recently acquired street smarts have done far more to keep me alive, but an education in social dancing, embroidery, deportment and etiquette has proven to be very useful to a modern woman in the modern world.
The fundamental rules of etiquette are fairly universal: Avoid contaminating communal food, avoid gestures that may seem threatening, do not disgust those around you with your private bodily functions. You are an expert in these, they are what allows you to live in harmony with those around you.
Which fork to use is a trap for the uninitiated, and it’s meant to be. That is the purpose of highly specific cultural rules. They are there to sort the in-crowd from the out-crowd. Knowing the rules, their background and how best to break them allows you to chose your crowd.
Rules like ‘Skirts should never be above the knee at a wedding’, ‘Always hold the wine bottle from the base’ and ‘Never end a sentence with a preposition’ are what this blog is primarily about. However, they also have no intrinsic truth. To understand cultural, social and linguistic conventions is to be truly free from the systemized bullying they impose. It also means being fabulous, which is significantly more interesting.
Speaking of being fabulous, I can help with that too. I’ll show you how to cook French food, lounge blissfully in a tidy house, afford gorgeous clothes and convince men to adore you (no, really. I’ve been proposed to thirteen times, even though I have no superfluous cash, I’m loud, annoying and a bit chubby).
Yours, ever so truly,