September 8

22 comments

8 Ridiculous Etiquette Rules for Ladies

Decorum and propriety are the most important things to master if you want to survive in Regency England as a Lady, right?

Well yes, of course, being the daughter of a wealthy Duke would kinda make things easier as far as survival is concerned, agreed.

I, as well as you, know that our reading of Historical novels of the era has enhanced our knowledge on topics of etiquette.

And yet, I truly believe that were we put in the position of a Lady, we would make complete fools of ourselves.

Our suitors would run away from us as if their lives were depending on it, while our fathers would stare at us in utter devastation.

You may stop your crying people, because your good friend Hazel is here and won’t let you embarrass yourselves in case you ever find yourselves in the position of a Lady!

Because you might know the basic rules of proper conduct in society, but I have found some rules not even you could imagine were part of a Lady’s education!

Having read through my old, dusty Moral Encyclopaedia, I thereby present you with the 8 most ridiculous rules Ladies were expected to follow!

1. “Never wear mosaic gold or paste diamonds; they are representatives of a mean ambition to appear what you are not, and most likely what you ought not to wish to be.”

So we are talking about something looking like this. Well, if I by any chance came to own diamonds, appearing ambitious would be my last concern. Also, in my opinion, they would make me appear rich and fabulous, so that’s a yes from the start for me! What would you do? Would you sacrifice your glam so that people would not think you vain?

2. “Let not love begin on your part.” 

Hmm okay, we know this very well.. Women were not expected to make the first move and were instructed to wait for the man to come for them instead. Well, even though this was the Regency Era, this does not sound so foreign to me, as many women practice that still. Though if you ask me, I love an independent heroine that takes the lead sometimes! 😛

3. “It is better to say too little than too much in company: let your conversation be consistent with your sex and age.”


Ouch! That actually hurt my female pride. You know, being asked not to talk too much is not the kindest of requests! And I know that many of you would be able to hold a far more interesting conversation than any shirt stuffed gentleman back then!

4. “Never sing more than one or two songs consecutively.”


Apparently singing more than two songs in a row - or enjoying yourself- was strictly forbidden in the Regency Era. Not really sure why though. Was it that they would be bored of listening to the same person singing and they would not be able to get away if she had a bad voice? (You know, because of decorum) Or did singing too much made one an improper lady? 

5. “Read no novels, but let your study be History, Geography, Biography and other instructive books.”


Wow! That was a low blow! Well, people, I can accept the previous rules, but not read novels? That’s over the line. I guess we are all guilty of that one...But what can you do? Your place in society as well as mine is jeopardised. Imagine the impact our beloved Jane Austen had back in the day...

6. “Never introduce your own affairs for the amusement of the company; such discussions cannot be interesting to others, and the probability is that the most patient listener is laying the foundation for some tale to make you appear ridiculous.”

And remember, no one cares about you and wants to know about you and your problems! That is actually quite harsh and I am not even a talker! I have the mentality of not tiring the listener, because obviously, they wouldn’t be able to tell you to shut it - decorum, remember? So you should think of it yourself and...pff I’m already tired! I mean, to whom would you talk about your issues? 

7. “Trust no female acquaintance, i.e., make no confidant of any one.”

Talk about good advice! As it seems, it is also unladylike to have friends and trust them… It’s even weirder when it stresses that you should avoid female acquaintances. Well who should I befriend Milady if all the men I meet are possible suitors and all the women I should avoid? Can I please at least befriend my dog? I didn’t find something about it, but I am sure this would also be improper! Imaginary friends it is then!

8. “If at another’s house you should break anything, do not appear to notice it. Your hostess, if a lady, would take no notice of the calamity, nor say, as is sometimes done by ill-bred persons, ‘Oh! It is of no consequence.'”

You know, of course, that I saved the best for last. Imagine going to your friend’s house, accidentally breaking a vase and pretending as if it never happened. I suppose it would keep you out of trouble, but definitely not out of the asylum!

So, what do you think of this, Ladies and Gentlemen? 

Did you expect so casual and trivial matters to be forbidden?

I am sure most of them actually surprised you, although I don’t think that most of our beloved heroines would succumb to them!

I would love to see what you think of the matter! 

As for Hazel, I am afraid the Lady’s life is not for me!

Written by Hazel Linwood!


Tags

Articles, Regency Romance


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  • I could not have lived like that, l like talk, I read anything I could, if my father picked a man for, God rest his soul, I would run away, we both had a temper. So you see what how that would have been.

  • Och, I can’t leave my opinion because I can’t you are a women as such not allowed. Thanks for the info. Very intertaining.

  • Most of this seems fairly usual for that era. Of course, everyone read novels anyway. Of course, everyone had at least one friend or sister or maid to confide in, but that could get you into trouble if you trusted the wrong person, or you were rivals for the same man. There were then, as now, ways to let gentlemen know you were interested. Your maid could talk to his valet. Your brother or cousin could scout for you. As for “paste” jewels, the real ones could be stolen. I think that might depend on the situation. The bit about ignoring breakage might work if the item was small, but imagine one of those ornamental vases on the floor–I don’t think anyone could ignore that!! Good Article.

    • Thank you dear! Well that’s what the encyclopedia suggested, I am not sure if they actually followed it to the letter but it was funny. Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  • Oh my! I could not handle it! I would be kicked out of proper society! haha! I am a talker for the most part and I have to have that one person to vent to! I, myself, have the title of Lady Pat, as my 17 times great grandfather was Sir Arthur Harris! Not that it means anything to any of my family or anyone here! Jealous much? Methinks so! I have to wonder what he did to have that honor bestowed on him?
    I cannot imagine having to be so prim and proper! I was a tomboy growing up and spent a lot of time at my grandparents farm, running free and wild! I hated wearing shoes and my hair was unkempt! In high school I had to do better! haha!
    I think in Regency times I would have been the original Rebel and would have been ostracized by snobbish ladies and men would go for a more proper lady! Do you think I would have been a spinster? haha! I would had had to find a ‘wild card’ like myself, most likely a rake!

    Whenever I watch a movie like Pride and Prejudice I am amazed at the customs and dress of the characters. I don’t imagine that I could ever be that formal! Can we say misfit? haha

    Thanks for sharing that info with our readers!

    Pat Carleson

    • Wow thank you Lady Pat for sharing this very interesting story! I definitely agree with you, I would definitely have been an outcast if I had lived back then! And we all love rebel women in stories, right? So I think we are doing fine 😀 😉

  • I am something of an introvert, but I definitely do not suffer fools gladly, so I would be in trouble at the first mansplaining. And no novels? Ha! I’ve been hiding books in my textbooks since 4th grade, no problem.(Though I did get caught and allowed to check out only non fiction from the school library for a semester once in Jr. High; good thing I had the public library book mobile ). I don’t think I could do without the seabathing, though. To be so close and never even wade in?

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