Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Whatcha KNOW?

I got an e-mail from a reader the other day - and he gave me a copy of the article that follows, entitled "An Every Day Curtsey".  It's not erotic in any way - but I found it most interesting.  maybe all you readers will agree?

He also appended the following paragraph to his e-mail.  Maybe some of you might want to encourage him?

"I also have a story idea I'd like to try sometime or if you wanted to I'd love it. my wife is from Africa and grew up with servants, even though they weren't super rich. But they always had (black) maids. We visit occasionally and her mom still has them and I feel awkward because of all the cultural/political stuff that I carry as an American, it's weird watching a black maid go about cleaning for me. My wife hates cleaning at home and talksk about wanting a maid. We've talked sissy stuff before but never gone full bore. but I have this fantasy of going to her homeland and being turned into a sissy by her mother and the black maids who are so subservient to me when I'm a man there but wouldn't be if they knew I could be put into panties and made to curtsey. So would like to write it but so busy not sure if I'll have a chance. If you need more details or anything or think you might have an interest in that type of story let me know and I can fill you in some more. Otherwise I'll do my best to write it and send it to you."

Thanks dear - and now the article.

An Everyday Curtsey

Curtsy 2
"I curtsey many times each day in this job. At first I found [it] very strange and even awkward, but now it comes as second nature and is even fun actually!" - Miss Claire
Last January I wrote a post on the Decadence Of The Curtsey, in which I mentioned how much I wish the curtsy was still used commonly in our modern society.
At the time I had several encouraging comments from readers who share my desire to bring back this charming custom.

Just recently I received an e-mail from dear Miss Claire who wanted to tell me that she curtsies every day in her work as a ladies maid! I was immediately intrigued and had a million questions which Miss Claire very kindly answered.

She has also kindly given me permission to share her story with all of my readers "especially if it may give others the courage to do likewise".

Maid 12

Miss Claire was just an Irish lass working as a chambermaid at a prestigious inn when a titled Lady guest asked her to zip up the back of her dress for her. The two got talking and the Lady mentioned her intention to hire a live-in maid for her London apartment. Miss Claire was able to apply for the job on the spot.

She remembers from their conversation:  "I don't know why but I asked as she is titled would I be required to curtsey? She said she would be afraid to ask especially as it is only royalty who require it nowadays, but would adore having a maid that would curtsey and show her such respect! I immediately caught my dress and bobbed her a curtsey and said if she employed me I would be proud to curtsey for her. I guess the sight of me in my dress and apron uniform curtseying was just right as now I am her live-in maid!"

Maid 1
Miss Claire moved from Ireland to her employer's London apartment and has been working as a maid there since August. She is responsible for all of the housekeeping, a bit of the cooking, and sometimes serves as a personal maid helping with laying out clothes or drawing a bath. Like maids in the Victorian era she has a day and a half off each week with plenty of time to attend church on Sundays.

While on duty she always wears a uniform - navy or gray dress with white cuffs for mornings and a more formal black dress with 3/4 sleeves and lace cuffs for evenings.
"I am always neat with a clean apron, my apron lightly starched and [my employer] especially likes the bow to be perfect behind my back! This in fact took a lot of practice to perfect."

Maid 11

When and how many times a day is Miss Claire required to curtsy? 
"Every-time I enter her presence or leave a room she is in, I am required to curtsey to acknowledge her status and when asked to do something I will also curtsey before leaving. For instance if she asks me to prepare her bath, I will say 'Certainly My Lady' and curtsey and then suppose immediately she says lay out her clothes etc for her, I will again re-curtsey! In fact I really love waiting on her Ladyship as personal maid the best."

Maid 5
She also admits "I know it sounds so old fashioned, but I truly love it. I address her as 'My Lady' and always curtsey if she enters a room I am working in or every time I answer 'Yes My Lady' or always before I leave her presence. I know she loves me doing so and that is why I am here in the first place. In fact I was even shown how she would like me to curtsey!"

So what is the proper way for a maid to curtsy to her employer?
"I was taught the correct way to curtsey on my arrival in London and when and where. I am left handed, so I place my left foot behind my right foot, catch my dress with my finger-tips and widen my dress slightly and bend my knees and lower my body about 2 or 3 inches etc, hold there a second and rise again. ...I do not bow my head, but do not make eye contact either."

1950's Debutantes learn to curtsy

I didn't know this before but there are different types of curtsies to be used for different people. For instance if you were curtsying to royalty (such as the Queen of England) your curtsy would we low with head bowed. If you were curtsying before an English country dance began it would be a grander more exaggerated curtsy than if you were just bobbing to friend or acquaintance. I also hadn't thought of this before but other countries, particularly African countries still use curtsies on a regular basis!

Miss Claire passed on this bit of information about curtsying she has learned: "In Monaco I am told it is still very common as its seen as a symbol of status and personal wealth when the house owner is entertaining. Then in countries like Zimbabwe its the tradition that women, especially from the Shona tribe always curtsey when greeting one another, how beautiful I think! However its in a different style, they join their 2 hands together and then bend their knees, unlike the British style I practice. Its amazing once you are seen to curtsey, the information you find out from guests and other's comments."

Maid 9

I have to admit that the idea of a Lady in this modern age having a live-in maid does seem a bit odd, but to me it sounds so charming! How lovely to be able to curtsy each day! And having the privilege of caring for another person in this way is awesome. 

I've really enjoyed reading Miss Claire's letters, asking her questions and hearing her thoughts on being a maid.

"I really really love my job and its so much nicer than all the modern fast pace jobs my friends and peers have I think anyway.  ...I just adore dropping a graceful curtsey for my employer, Its just like I was a maid in a former life or something, it just seems so natural for me to do so. Yes my job is really interesting and so old world...We both love our new lives inside these four walls and are really good friends even though [we are] from totally different backgrounds. A Lady and her maid relationship is special when both understand their place. I just thought you might like to know somewhere in the world, a real upstairs downstairs still exists in this horrible modern world." - Miss Claire

Curtsy 1

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