I returned from a conference recently and was reminded of the moment back in May where I (apparently) lost my senses and agreed to let my 12
year old attend Cotillion classes. Truth be told, I think they
were having a hard time filling the class, so they started calling down
the list. Our last name starts with "D".. we were doomed (no pun
intended). Anyhow.. there it sat on my desk.. almost as complete as
a wedding invitation except this outfit would be a Sunday dress and
Don't get me wrong.. I am ALL for a good dose of etiquette and it's always good to know that the salad fork is the itty, bitty one with 3
prongs. (kidding..geez). What I also am is amazed that
things such as Cotillion and Debutante Balls are still around. So it
got me to thinking of how we could take such a quaint little Southern
tradition like Cotillion and jazz it up a bit. Make it a little more
refreshing and maybe a few more folks would want to participate, I
So here it is.. a few points that I would teach at Cotillion.
For starters.. Clothing.. a Sunday dress and white gloves? Really? I realize that we don't get to church that often but if
wearing a dress were a requirement, we'd NEVER be there. And white
gloves? Even my mother, the queen of clean, would be hard pressed to
tell me where to find them.
How about this.. teach them how to buy and wear a couple of really nice, high quality pieces that are timeless. It doesn't have to be a
dress (although what girl in her right mind doesn't have at least one
hanging there ready to rescue the night?) but it could be a great blouse, slacks and solid pair of pumps.
Manners. I agree that our society has gotten pretty slack with the Mr's and Mrs's,
please and thank you's but not sure that I want my daughter to be
"only" addressed as Mrs. John F Whoever (disclaimer.. I did have to
explain to her that the women on the invitation were, in fact, her
friend's moms as they were all addressed that way).
I would much rather have her be taught how to eloquently (or not so eloquently) tell someone to mind their business when they've asked her
for the XXth time why she doesn't have a boyfriend, husband, job, baby,
triplets or whatever. NUNJA! Teach her to say (with a smile, natch)
"Bless your heart! Why is it so important to you?" as she gracefully
cuts her meat with the engraved steak knife.
Next.. The dancing. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been called
to do a waltz or a foxtrot. If you want to teach a dance that has more than a snowball's chance in hell of
ever being danced, why not the two-step, elecric slide or Shag? I mean, this is the
South for heaven's sake.
Relationships/Courting.. It is okay to call a boy if, and only if, it's a last resort and you
really have to. At 11, why would you have to? And why would he want you
to? I realize they're all maturing faster than we did but still. What
they need to be taught is how not to be a skank. How to be strong and
that yes, it is really true, that "those" kind of girls are not the kind
you want to be.
Being the one in charge of the relationship isn't for every girl, but all girls need to be taught self respect and how to stay true to
themselves. I think if there's one thing that hasn't changed, it's that.
So there you have it.. I obviously won't be called on anytime soon to take over the Catillion training but if they ever did.. that's the
lesson plan that I'd lay out..
Did I miss anything here that you would teach/?