Saturday, February 25, 2017

Victorian Seashore Etiquette

"I feel bound to advise any girl reader to abstain from bathing in company of lover, friend or male acquaintance on general principles..." — Miss Libbey, on "Seashore Etiquette", 1900

Sea Bathing

Miss Libbey is an authoress. She is also an authority on the proprieties of sea bathing. It appears that "Two Young Girls," having heard of Laura Jean as one freighted down with seashore etiquette, wrote to Miss Libbey, asking, "Should young girls go bathing with male escorts?" and, likewise, "Would it be considered vulgar to go into the surf without stockings?" Ever kindly and given to loaning wisdom from her store, the charitable and impassioned authoress made haste to warn the puzzled maidens against any sockless tempting of Neptune. 


Said she in one of her finest passages: "I feel bound to advise any girl reader to abstain from bathing in company of lover, friend or male acquaintance on general principles. In the first place, even a pronounced beauty can, and often does, look hideous in the water. A man sees her at her worst, which is not advisable, and he never forgets the ludicrous picture she makes." 

In another outburst, founded no doubt upon her own investigation beside the sobbing deep, she cried out in this fashion: "You would not permit a man to put his arms about you waking along the public thoroughfare. Why accord him that privilege in the surf? " "Ah," you answer, 'it is different in the water. There is danger in those great big waves that come booming in, and I am glad to have him to cling to, I'm sure. "You have no business to be where there is danger, my dear." 

As to the hose, they are indeed a necessary adjunct to the bathing suit, if you would be modestly and properly clad. "Exuberance of spirits is all very well among a number of young girls disporting among the waves (here we bow to an old friend in the matter of phrases), but when gentlemen are present take great care not to become boisterous, for they will most assuredly take their cue as to how they will behave from you."

"Summer is very delightful and one of its choicest pleasures is the sea bath, invigorating alike to mind and body, but great care should be observed that it be not abused." – The Evening Sentinel, 1900

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