Nice manners for C18th Misses and Masters - help?

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Alice the Huswyf
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Nice manners for C18th Misses and Masters - help?

Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:06 pm

Lidimy posed this question on another thread and actually I think it merits a thread of it's own

"I'm going to feel very self conscious when I go on my first 18thC outing now...

Is there anything else about 18thC posh lady etiquette that needs to be known? A bit of a Cuba but if you could PM me or email or so, I really would like to know as it's a period I still know very little about and I don't want to do it wrong! "


My considered answer was this (drawing on modern behaviour as well as what little I know specifically)

Lidi - I am still learning myself. Simply if the clothes make it difficult to move in that way, then it is not an expected movement. Be aware of sight lines: curtseys are probably straight baked, not only beuase of stays and posture, but it also stops an eagle eye view down your bodice. Hence the value of fichus in daywear!

A lot of it comes down to the preferred demeanour of the times. Modesty in the young and the respectable is always required: therefore sexiness develops from the smallest detail as I was saying before. A lot of it is probably gender political but mostly it boils down to this: in modern terms (taking away period pressure to marry by station or money) men can honestly admit that they lust after/would bed Page Three Gal - but wouldn't necessarily want to be in a relationship with her - they would choose Girl Next Door . Men can psychologically separate 'just sex' and 'real love' very easily, unlike women. With Page Three Gal they have to be The Man. With Girl Next Door they can be themselves. Girl Next Door may not pull a lot at shool, but potentially can make a firmer marriage.

When you are looking at an age when marriage is the only acceptable option, you start to see the importance of signifying 'personal haven ' behaviour like modesty, appropriate dress, a listening demeanour, consideration. It is actually still far easier to get a worthwhile bloke with these tactics than drinking and humping your way round town on a Saturday night dressed in beachwear. Men like to escape to a private, safe place - that is what home is: to keep a considerate companion there who is entirely on your side must be the greatest feeling of comfort in the world. But how irritating if they are utterley subservient - so there has to be a certain amount of wit, the smarts and empathy. Just not enough to cause social ructions or attract rival interest in public.

Obviously it also depends on class. If you aren't expecting to make a good merchant-class marriage and live on your wits it is more precarious and you will take more risks and not follow the rules all the time as with the famous whores and demi-reps (women of status ejected from their families for sexual misbehaviour). Similalry at a higher status in society there has been the unwritten rule that once the heir and spare are provided, discrete and better-matched private liasons can be permissible. Certainly so with the Devonshire set and their opposing politico-social rival cliques.

Read some period literature. 'Pamela' is a huge wade and she is a total hypocrite in the approved manner (she won't be bedded, raped, tricked, or manouevered by her persecutor until he marries her - which then makes him a perfectly acceptable human being). 'Tom Jones', 'Tristram Shandy' and the comedy of manners plays are satires and probably reveal more by showing up the faults of society than any moral handbook. And they are more fun!



But can anyone give us any specific pointers?



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Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:34 pm

Young men are advised to study the relevant Code Duello well to avoid embarrasment and unecessary bloodshed.

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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:06 pm

'The rudiments of genteel behavior' ISBN 1 903470 1 0 2 is a nice reprint from 1737.... got mine from Felicity Warnes www.fjwarnes.u-net.com covers male & female.
Steve


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Snowshoes and axe and gun
Send me up in Grand River
Steering by star and sun".
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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:42 pm

Thanks for starting a new thread Alice! :D It just seems that by the 18thC there are so many fine points to consider... or maybe there are in earlier periods too but they aren't so sexed up as the 18thC?

I read *somewhere* I think here http://www.marquise.de/en/1700/index.shtml that for posh ladies, it was normal to reveal more hair/décolletage because you attracted men by your wealth and not your modesty, that being the domain of the middle classes?

If that's true, then would a fichu be worn by posh ladies throughout the day, or not?

Or is it just as acceptable to go with as with out because that particular area isn't as important as wrists (which I shall henceforth take more care of)?

Tristram Shandy is covered, what an awesome book 8) I also read Swift's 'Polite Conversation' which was an extraordinary read... I need to swot up on some one-liners!

Agree with the curtseying though - we have to learn courtly curtseys at dance and only the men bend forward (:

Aaaand as of today I am the proud owner of Patterns of Fashion, 1660-1860. V.happy! 8) :D :D :D


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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:35 pm

Lidi don't be fooled - there are fine points to consider in every period. In some periods the fine points hold everyone together, in some they are used to exclude. The watershed comes when all the men dress alike and you can't tell who is your equal and who your subordinate. That's when etiquette was most used as a weapon.

Race you to the book of manners!

I was given an early reprint of Lord Chesterfield's advice to his daughter. His own son-in-law had a copy too - but in the margin of his he wrote "wasted effort".......



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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:49 pm

Sooo much to learn!

Only one solution... is standing in quiet repose (lol.... because that's -so- me?) a suitable option if I don't want to open my mouth for fear of saying something wrong??

Mind you, this is fun, though I'm not sure how correct it is?

http://www.ideco.com/fans/language.htm
Last edited by lidimy on Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:52 pm

Standing in quiet repose is a most suitable station for a young lady........ :)
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:04 pm

Excellent, I'll get some practice in :wink:

And who better to learn from! :shock: :lol:

Steve, how much did you pay for that book? I've found it for £11.99....
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Marie Antoinette, 1780 (Le Brun).jpg


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:08 pm

Sorry...took it off their business card...try Amazon,author is Francis Nivelon,published by Paul Holberton.....Or you can compete to look at my copy...........(gives melodramatic chuckle.........)
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:10 pm

Crossing posts....Think I paid about £10-12 a year or so back.......
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:12 pm

I stood in quiet repose for a few minutes once but it made everyone feel so uncomfortable that I had to stop.

I am also of course, like Lidi, very young and spring-like.



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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:13 pm

Is this 'melodramatic chuckle' a feature of male etiquette, then? :lol:

Ooops, that laugh was a bit raucous... I meant ' :) ' actually (more dignified and lady like).

Definitely a book for reference then. Does it have prints, too?

Am reading an online essay about 18thC fashion now, it's great! :D


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:18 pm

LOADS of prints...BTW,if you havn't come across them,you need to check out 'The Mannered Mob' who are THE 18thcent civilian L/H group in the country...sure they've got a website & they're all jolly nice,(& knowledgeable)...If You talk to Judith,who runs them,say I sent you.......
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:20 pm

Regarding masculine chuckling I suggest you read School for Scandal promptly, little one!



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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:39 pm

*scribbles down book titles*

Thanks Alice... mwah!

Steve.. their site is luvverly... are you in that group then or do you just do military stuff? Do they do all the shows that all the military type people go to, or purely civilian stuff?

*is tempted*


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:49 pm

It's all very incestuous.......ALL 18thcent events,whether Lace Wars or New France & Old England tend to have a L/H presence...MM used to be part of Lace Wars,but are now independent...most all the groups tend to get invites to each other's events....So join one & 90% of events are open to you!....Personally,I Used to be in L/Wars & did several civvie events with them...Now in Nfoe,but have friends in the others,(most of MM come along to Nfoe events as the Berks county Militia).....18thcent world is small & cuddly!.....Enlist today........
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby Angie » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:23 pm

[i]"I'm going to feel very self conscious when I go on my first 18thC outing now...


Lidimy, The first time I went to an event in 18th century dress (a couple of years ago) I was less concerned about manners and more concerned about if my kit was right. I remember refusing to come out of the tent for quite some time and verging on tears. Turns out I had nothing to be concerned about but it didn't stop me worrying.

I have to admit I still laugh to myself when a gentleman doffs his hat etc to me. As I don't do first person I don't worry too much about the do's and dont's of etequette, I aslo think my daughter may have issues calling me ma'am.

I think that is the nice thing about Lace Wars there is no pressure on you,to use first person or if you get it a bit wrong, especially on your first outing.There are loads of very knowledgable and approachable people to get advice from.

I'd relax,enjoy the first event and the rest will come in time.


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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:24 pm

PM'd you Steve!


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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Angie wrote:[i]"I'm going to feel very self conscious when I go on my first 18thC outing now...


Lidimy, The first time I went to an event in 18th century dress (a couple of years ago) I was less concerned about manners and more concerned about if my kit was right. I remember refusing to come out of the tent for quite some time and verging on tears. Turns out I had nothing to be concerned about but it didn't stop me worrying.

I have to admit I still laugh to myself when a gentleman doffs his hat etc to me. As I don't do first person I don't worry too much about the do's and dont's of etequette, I aslo think my daughter may have issues calling me ma'am.

I think that is the nice thing about Lace Wars there is no pressure on you,to use first person or if you get it a bit wrong, especially on your first outing.There are loads of very knowledgable and approachable people to get advice from.

I'd relax,enjoy the first event and the rest will come in time.


Thanks :D

Right there with you on the whole doffing etc.... I'm dreadful at composing myself! :oops:

It just still seems like such an alien time period to me... I need to feel comfortable knowing that I have enough to facts to my figner tips before venturing out!

A set of 18thC kit would be fab too 8) :lol:

Are there any 1st person type presentations within the 18thC, or is it all 3rd? Or a mixture of both? I mean, 3rd eprson isn't an excuse to behave inappropriately if you're in kit...


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:38 pm

Depends on the event.......1st person CAN frighten off the punters!..works better for small,building-based events.......My 1st kit for the era was Highland,...took a year to feel 'right' in a plaid...Then I was strutting round like billy-o!
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"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby Angie » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:51 pm

I came from about 20 years (on and off) doing 17th century so i also felt I had a lot to learn. There are some good general books out there to get you started. I only had a basic sence of the military side so bought a book on Bonnie Prince Charlie and Culloden. The social history was a bit trickier however things hadn't changed that much as far as women were concerned from the 17th century. I definatley had huge gaps in what I knew on my first event.

Yes there are a few brave folk who use first person. I cannot recall it being an excuse for being ungentlmanly. In Lace Wars we don't have many set scenarios outside the skirmish field. There are those who talk to the MoP's first person very successfuly, equally there are those like myself who find it easier to answer questions as myself and the MoP's don't seem to mind.

As for getting the kit togther, I have incredibly limited sewing skills but have managed to make myself 2 gowns and assisted in making myself a riding habit.


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:57 pm

And very nice you look too!
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Postby Angie » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:07 pm

who me!!!! :oops:

Thank you steve. Runs away blushing and giggling.


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Postby steve stanley » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:12 pm

Angie wrote:who me!!!! :oops:

Thank you steve. Runs away blushing and giggling.


Why do I always have that effect.........?


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:16 pm

8)

Angie, do you have any pictures of your riding habit? :D I'd love a peek!


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Postby Angie » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:27 pm

not sure how to put pictures on here but if you have access to myspace go here http://home.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user there are a few pictiures from our events there.


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Postby lidimy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:41 pm

Boo.. no, doesn't work :(


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Postby Angie » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:04 pm

I have just PM'd you.


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Postby lidimy » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:44 am

Just read the Wikipedia synopsis of The School for Scandal. Looks great! :D


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Postby Redders » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:13 pm

steve stanley wrote:
Angie wrote:who me!!!! :oops:

Thank you steve. Runs away blushing and giggling.


Why do I always have that effect.........?


Mr Stanley you're a Bad Boy!
Fancy making the ladies blush!!!!!!! <Chuckle>

Lidi we have some excellent females in the C18th. The kit is tremendous and just to back up what the others have been saying.

Don't worry about any knowledge gaps or minor kit wobbles. Everyone has to start somewhere. Just because your century hopping doesn't mean you should pressure yourself into being perfect.

The fact you wanna give it a go and are prepared to listen to people like Angie and Steve is plenty. :D

Come along and play. You'd be most welcome.

(I have some cracking pictures of Angie looking VERY posh. Best wait for permission before I post them tho)




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