Throughout the 19th century, young women would attending finishing schools (a.k.a. charm schools) to learn the social graces, behaviors and rituals expected of those in the upper echelon. These classes these schools taught included proper dining etiquette, the art of conversation, and carrying oneself with proper posture and poise among a litany of other subjects.
Finishing schools as brick and mortar institutions are a dying breed today, although those that remain, such as Switzerland’s Institut Villa Pierrefeu are renowned for teaching students from countries the world over, including Japan, China, India, Britain, and America. Here, young women over age 18 learn modern skills like office dynamics and international social and business customs in addition to traditional arts like table service and flower arranging.
These lessons are meant to ensure the young woman feels confident in any social situation and is able to put her guests and companions at ease in her company. Sadly, the concept of using good manners and exemplifying dignity and respectability through our appearance and actions has gone the way of the dodo by and large.
Feminism has been radicalized to normalize indecent language, dress, and mannerisms, that somehow wearing next to nothing and treating others like garbage is an expression of free speech and therefore must be acceptable. Such things used to be the exception, now it is the rule.
While your friends and family won’t care that your table bears no flowers, or you put salad forks at the place setting instead of dinner forks, these little things are outward examples of how much you care for their comfort and happiness. Maintaining a clean, healthy home and body; using good manners; and dressing appropriately for every situation are a show of respect for yourself and those you are surrounded by. If learning more about proper etiquette and social protocol interests you, there are educational avenues open for exploration.
* Institut Villa Pierrefeu accepts students globally for courses ranging from one to six weeks, but it is expensive, with programs ranging anywhere from 13,000 euros to more than 33,000 euros.
There are a number of etiquette education alternatives, though. If you’re in New York, *The Etiquette School of New York may be for you. Depending on the program selected, prices range from $750 to $2,500.
The *Final Touch Finishing School will bring courses for men, women, and children to you, or you can attend a class in person in if you’re in Texas or willing to make the trip there. Prices vary by course and range from $165 up to $2,995. The school also maintains a blog providing free etiquette advice and information.
For an online option, the *Princess Charm School Academy claims to provide weekly lessons on etiquette and life skills, with additional access to online courses, podcasts, webinars and more. Introductory pricing is $25 per month.
Of course, you can always grab a book by Emily Post or visit *The Emily Post Institute online to get quick answers to your questions. Whichever method of learning works for you, you’re sure to discover newfound confidence and respect for how you carry yourself and how you live, and those are definitely traits worth cultivating.
*Damsel magazine and its writers make no claims, guarantees or warranties on the courses the various aforementioned programs offer, the subject matter covered, pricing, or efficacy of the aforementioned programs. Damsel magazine is not affiliated in any way, shape or form with any of the aforementioned programs. Information provided is done solely as a starting point for readers to begin learning, and is not meant to be taken as an endorsement of one vendor, person, website or institution over another.