Saturday, December 26, 2015

Etiquette and the Chaperon

"Regarding the "free" American girl, it is only when she travels abroad or stops at a hotel for any length of time that social requirements still command that she be chaperoned."


American girls with their independent ideas of social requirements mock the idea of a chaperon to the theater or dance. And this is especially true of the many young women who are planning careers for themselves, who intend to be more than social butterflies.


We are proud of the ideal American girl. We do not mean, of course, the self-esteemed, arrogant young miss who derides all conventions and calls herself "free." In her we are not interested at all. But there is the true American type—the young girl who is essentially a lady, who has self-reliance but is not bold, who is firm without being overbearing, who is brainy but not masculine, who is courageous, strong and fearless, yet feminine. She has no need of the chaperon; and it is because of her that the "decay of the chaperon" has been so rapid in America.


And so we find that the American girl who is well-bred, who is well-mannered and high-principled, may attend the theater and the dance with gentlemen, unchaperoned. It is only when she travels abroad or stops at a hotel for any length of time that social requirements still command that she be chaperoned. But even then, the girl who travels on business purposes, need feel no embarrassment when she is alone, if her manner and speech are as polished and correct as they should be.” 
—From Lillian Eichler's 1921, “Book of Etiquette / Volume I”

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for Etiquipedia Etiquette Encyclopedia