Vintage lady's purse (author's own)
I have been watching a reality series called Ladette To Lady. Its a kick-back-on-the-couch-and-gawk-in-horrid-fascination sort of show. Not everyone's cup of tea for sure. But as they say, one man's trash TV is another woman's treasure - and this one is a gem.
So if you've not had the benefit of seeing this program, here's the premise. A group of uncouth, young women are brought to Egglestone Hall, an old fashioned finishing school, to have the rough edges knocked off. The students are educated intensively in deportment, elocution, etiquette ... everything it takes to make a lady. Of course there's also the requisite amount of fancy cookery, dance, flower arranging, high teas and dinner outings ... and fraternising with foppish, B-grade aristobrats.
Each week is an elimination round, where one contestant is booted out for various transgressions, lack of progress or poor attitude .... or a combination of all of the above. There's tears, tantrums, drunkenness and the occasional flash of a bare bottom.
Sadly, its the lack of decorum -the truly disgraceful behaviour - that makes the most riveting viewing. And without a doubt the notion of a finishing school and debuting as a lady is dated; the mark of a bygone era (that is unless your family is titled and you own your own tiara). Some of the ideals are old-fashioned, perhaps even a little sexist.
But there is something I can't help but like about Egglestone Hall. No matter what is played up for the camera, there has to be some inherent good below all the sideshow hoop-la. Good manners and social graces have never gone out of fashion. There's nothing wrong with knowing which cutlery to use or how give a small speech or to do dance a few coordinated steps at a social occasion. Good posture and the ability to cook yourself a meal, also seem like handy skills. And I can't see too many visitors to this blog arguing that teaching a few craft skills, such as sewing, could be too damaging.
The bottom line is that I have found Ladette To Lady quite inspiring. This is why effective immediately, our house is to be known as Hoppo Bumpo Hall and all family members herewith are in training to be "ladies".
Now if you could excuse me, I must find my white gloves. Toodle-pip.