Walk This Way

Put one foot in front of the other, lightly placing heel in front of toe. Tuck the bottom, square the shoulders, lift the chin. Don’t sag at the knees, but don’t lock them either.

Pivot by turning toe out and following with the body, gently unwrapping into the new direction. Never offer your hand to a man. Stand far enough away that you can’t easily be touched.

If you must wear high heels, which is low brow, you must act like a lady and carry yourself like a queen. Keep your knees together when you sit, cross your legs at the ankle. Only trollops expose their thighs.

Make sure your purse is small and always has a clean handkerchief, monogrammed. Do not carry money in vulgar denominations, no 100 dollar bills. Single dollar bills are best. If you have a 20 dollar bill in your purse, tuck it away, out of sight.

Repeat the name of each person you are introduced to and use that name on second reference. Look people in the eye, softly, as if you are interested, not like you are examining them. Smile, but don’t show too much teeth. Fillings and crowns are unappetizing.

Tucking your chin is unattractive. It’s fine for the dowdy daughters of cab drivers and firemen to tuck self-consciously, but you must remember to be a lady without thrusting your facial architecture in odd directions. Relax your face and hold in your stomach. For heavens sake hold in your stomach. Do not sway when you walk. Nothing is more de classe than swishing your bum. Remember, you are a queen.

Don’t speak loudly, instead form your words in your mouth and let your lips hold them before softly expelling. Always thank the serving staff for any kindness, but don’t be too familiar, it embarrasses them, which is not ladylike.

When seating yourself, back up to a chair until you feel the edge against the back of your legs. Gently pull the seat under you in a fluid motion. Lower yourself, don’t plop. Hands in your lap before a meal is served. Don’t flutter your fingers, it’s course behavior. Never wear big jewelry and never, never wear anything fake. It’s simply too tartish.

Cut your food into small bites, but never cut more than five bites at a time. Put your fork down between bites. Talk equally to the people seated on either side, using both sides of your mouth without moving your lips. Leave a third of your food on the plate. Never eat bread and butter, which is the staple of peasants.

Never order a drink at a bar, instead sit at a table and wait to be served. Only men drink at the bar. Never put money on the cocktail table where it can be seen. The sight of money stimulates a base feeling of greed in others. That, of course, is not done by a lady.

Do not tip, leave this to men. If you are not with a man, tighten your ankles, balance on the balls of your feet, walk heel to toe to the door. Smile, nod graciously, leave quickly. This is all the tip that’s needed, when you act like a lady. If only you’ll act like a lady. The serving staff will feel privileged and silently thank you for the pleasure of serving, if only, just this once in your sorry life, you’ll actually act like a lady.

Stop popping that gum! Damn it! Spit it out! . . . Now, put your right foot forward, balance gracefully. Knees together . . . Steady.  Knees together. After all, you don’t want people to see you’re not a real lady.

Inspired by Jamaica Kincad’s story, “Girl.”

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