Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Etiquette, Deportment and Curtseys

Little girls learn to etiquette and drawing room deportment with curtseys in 1890 German artwork... “Complimenti! Complimenti!” - deportment (n.) 1st known use 1601, from Middle French déportement, from déporter “to behave,” from Old French deporter

Teachers of etiquette and drawing room deportment are putting their pupils through exercises which are designed to improve the carriage and grace of the debutante.They are teaching her how to open a door and pass out through it while keeping her face toward her hostess or the person in the room. Carelessness has made girls forget that this attention is due the person to whom "good-bye" has been said.

Usually the girls are in a hurry to get to some other place or they are occupied with the next appointment or perhaps they have never had their attention called to the fact that saying "good-bye" is not the final act of departure. Having had this done, girls are now beginning to see that the formal leave-taking is not terminated until the guest has withdrawn from the room, if she is calling or has been summoned before her parents or some older person in authority.

In informal meetings, these details of deportment are not generally observed, but they should be learned as a preparation for more formal occasions, because one never knows at what time they will be valuable assets.

Girls often make the same mistake of entering a room, especially if they shut the door behind them. In entering they face the center of the room or the end where the person visited is seated; then in order to close the door they turn squarely around, back to the room, and gently push the door to. After accomplishing this act successfully they consider themselves ready to go on with the formal entrance, which by this time has lost all its dignity and attractiveness.

For no person can suggest both of these qualities by presenting her back to a gathering. It is easy to close a door after you without moving the body around. The arms and hands do it while the face is turned toward the center of the room. 


Of course these details seem trivial to very young girls, who seldom take all the interest in their manners that they should, but by the time a girl has finished school and is ready to enter society she will be grateful to the parent or teacher who insisted on her learning the little arts which seemed so useless to her before. — San Francisco, 1912

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