Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Musings.

Typing with an ice pack balanced on my hand reminded me of charm school.  No kidding -- I really went to charm school.  Back in the day, I was a bonafide tomboy - rough and tumble, wouldn't wear a dress (see how much I've changed...?), had permanently dirty elbows and knees; I was heading hellbent to feral.  My mother, bless her soul, was afraid for my future prospects and decided to take matters in hand.

Every weekend, I would shuffle into class with the other assorted "problem" girls and spend hours learning how to walk, stand, sit, get into and out of a car, pour tea, make polite conversation, turn gracefully - you name it, we were put through it.  We learned how to deal with a vast assortment of spoons, forks, knives, plates, and glasses.  I was quite taken with the wine glasses and was greatly disappointed when we were served water.  Even at 12, I had gourmand sensibilities.  (Right.)  And, even though I griped and moaned and carried on something awful every weekend, I had to go.  After a while, my competitive nature took over and I ended up graduating at the top of my class.  Really, honest-to-gawd.  Even now, many (many) years later, faced with six forks to my left, I can handle them.  Fish fork?  No problem.  Cheese knife?  Let me at it.  I can pivot, with a book on my head, and sit gracefully in a chair.  Of course, there's not much call for that particular ability, and it's a little harder getting out of a chair these days. 

Seriously, those forced Saturdays of "yes, ma'ams" and "no ma'ams" did serve me well in adulthood.  I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation with the Chinese emissaries from a large trade group; I won over a formidable, anti-American French restaurant owner with good manners, a smattering of bad French and a sense of humor; I danced with a Governor at a Governor's ball.  Hooo, baby.  There was no stopping me.  But, at heart, I am still more feral than not.  It's sort of like covering a fox in fondant.  Or something like that.

I think we should send everyone in the world to charm school.  Maybe, if everyone learned good manners, we could get along better.  There seems to be a complete dearth of manners in anyone under the age of 20 now.  But there is hope!  More and more families (most especially my favorite families - youse guys) are teaching their children kindness and civility - they are being raised on love.  That's what the world needs.  A whole lotta love.


  1. You said it!
    I cannot believe how rude people have become. After a day out, I can't wait to get home. Or, am I just an introvert? That's part of it, but mostly it's rudeness in others. If I weren't so durn polite, I'd.........
    Never mind.

  2. You really should be published. I mean more than just on Blogger. Whadda way with words, m'dear.

    I, too, was sent to "charm" school. On accounta I had none. Unfortunately the lady teaching had failed Psychology 101 and tended to explain our shortcomings by negative examples. (I was told I walked like a football player.)

    It does seem a lot of parents today are too busy doing something else (what?!) to teach their kids common manners let alone values and morals. Raising kids is hard work. If you don't want to do it, don't bring them into the world. (Yeah, I'm a little testy this morning. Wanna make somethin' of it??)

  3. I think I'll start using that on the tourists: "Ma'am, where did you go to charm school?" What's the equivalent for the men?!

    P.S. I had to look ecivilent up on Wiktionary this morning - couldn't spell it for the WORLD!
    P.P.S. When in track in high school, I was told that I did the hurdles "like a ruptured gazelle".

  4. I agree, the youth of today (omg, did I just say "youth of today"??? I'm getting old!) have horrid manners. There are a handful around here that are brought up with "Yes Ma'am" and the like and they are like little beacons of light, but the majority are just as bad as their trashy parents. Hmmm, most of which seem to live right up the road from me.

    I believe Charm School has gone the way of spanking. Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate wholloping a kid for nothing, but it does seem that there would be less talking back and disrespect if the little brat got a quick swat on the behind. Or it could be that I'm just mean.

    BTW, did charm school teach anything about opossum forks? 'Cause I think I may have to use one in the near future.

  5. Sue - But, you ARE so durned polite! And thank goodness.

    Mama Pea - Oh, pshaw. You've got me all sputtering. Have you had your coffee by now? I don't recall that the teachers were negative. They were more ... martyr-like in their perseverance. I had the negative stuff when I tried out for ballet class (graceful as a giraffe - who, come to think of it, ARE quite graceful).

    Chicken Mama - I think "brought up in a barn" would cover men. Now you have me heading for the Wiktionary... Well, it was incredibly rude and unfeeling to use that comparison. How would they KNOW what a ruptured gazelle looked like in action?

    CR - The opossum fork is usually to the far left, stuck underneath the table top with gum. Let me know how it works out. We got a swat when we deserved it. Nothing like a beating or anything severe - my dad was a softie. And look how well I turned out. Maybe you shouldn't let Rhiannon look.

  6. I too, went to charm school - as an adult! Once upon a time I was married to an Naval Officer (as opposed to my down to earth but still mannerly "enlisted" husband I now have) and it was mandatory, I went to Pensacola FL and learned how to "tea" and throw parties the "correct way"! Funny thing was most of those women I saw in that school I later saw throw parties that would put college kids to shame...

  7. I was always a tomboy, but leanred the basics. Luckily, I read a lot and so I had a good grasp of basci manners. I raised my kids to have manners too- be courteous to everyone, equally, there's no excuse for being rude. There is a time to teach girls to be ASSERTIVE and set boundaries, especially when they reach their teen years, and interact with boys :) They all have those skills now in their early/mid 20's and it has served them well. AND we always got lots of compliments going out shopping and in restaurants. I would be mortified to have my kids being loud, whining, etc. going grocery shopping. Their treat for good behavior shopping was usually a little tv or a snack WHEN WE GOT HOME. Worked like a charm...

  8. I agree that the world would be a better place if there was a little more charm and civility. Luckily, a lot of the "ranch" kids around here are still taught "No, sir" and "Yes, ma'am." It is very refreshing after so many years living in big cities.