Oh, that Novel Strumpet! She loves everything that has to do with Books, novels, and… Jane Austen… While my favorite memory of Jane Austen was… well… I don’t have one, lol… I know how many fans of her work there are.
The Strumpet was able to head out to a special Jane Austen evening put on by the Society for Manners and Merriment in the city of Los Angeles. There was dancing, costumes, and whole host of 1700’s goodness!
Check out the Strumpet’s day after the jump!
The Novel Strumpet Parties Like It’s 1799
On January 21st I attended a very special evening hosted by the Society for Manners and Merriment in the district of Los Angeles known as Pasadena. The event is very hard to gain an invitation to (since you have to purchase the tickets almost as soon as they go on sale) so you know that the quality of people will be higher than those that may be found at general assemblies (cheap dance clubs). I refer to, of course, the elegant and prestigious Jane Austen Evening.
The problem with attending such an auspicious event is that in this modern era, one must rely on her own wits and skills in order to prepare. However, modern convenience has made the process a bit simpler especially in regards to hair. In the past one would wait for an iron to be warmed over a hot stove and then applied to the hair which may give one glorious curls or a bald patch. Now, one simply plugs in a contraption that holds plastic baskets that heat to a tolerable temperature and then wraps her hair around it. Which would be unsightly if one is forced to take herself out of doors, so in order to protect the general decorum of the populace I suggest a nice hat…such as a plaid tam one bought in London.
Of course the most important element of any successful ball is the selection of one’s dress:
One must make sure that it is appropriate to the evenings festivities and that the right accoutrement is acquired. It is generally gauche to wear the same outfit more than once, after all a respected lady never lets on that she might have limited funds, however if she has made the dress by hand herself then she might be forgiven for such behavior. Especially if she attends only one ball a year and will therefore not be remembered by other attendees.
The awkward part comes in dressing. Without a maid, one is simply at one’s own mercy…
It is embarrassing to be caught dressing oneself, however there are times when it cannot be helped.
Next comes the selection of jewels. If one’s costume is a bit dressier than muslin, then understated but tasteful jewels are called for.
Once dress and jewels are in place it is time to decide on the hairstyle.
Careful extraction of the curling baskets is important so those with hair that would naturally lie stick straight do not pull out their curl:
Once all curling baskets are removed it is time to decide on the styling of the hair….
An up-do perhaps?
A style that sweeps the hair more to the side:
After the hairstyle is decided on there should always be a last minute check for wayward curls. After all a lady wants to look as refined from the back as she does from the front.
Now that the dress, accoutrement, jewels and hair have all been donned, tied, laced and sprayed (with copious amounts of hairspray since stick straight hair does not hold curl well). One is ready for the ball!
A modern horseless carriage was the transportation of the evening and after finding a spot where it could wait with other queued horseless carriages for the ball to end I made my way to the assembly rooms (a Masonic Lodge). Unfortunately some unseemly character was outside:
Apparently this Frenchman (said with all due disdain) has views (same disdain) for such shows of merrymaking:
(Honestly I have nothing but respect for French people, I thought this man rather clever…..honestly, I like the French…..really)
Any good ball will fuel it’s participants before the dancing and it is considered proper, if a bit irregular, to bring one’s own tea service:
I chose a lovely blue and gold pattern, with the fanciest of cutlery. We had to share a table with others due to the crowded nature, but it is always best if one can look past such trials. That shows the character of a true lady. It also helps if one has a confidante accompanying them. I had two.
Soon the bell for tea service was sounded and we were treated to a plethora of tasty combustibles. However, one never piles their plate too full, just enough to show that the food is appetizing to the eye and palette.
There should always be entertainment and this year we had a lecture on proper modern and Regency area ballroom etiquette.
A modest helping of dessert and tea is always the thing to get one through such an…informative…talk
There must be a break between tea and dancing, lest one loose the contents of one’s tea on the ballroom floor (most unseemly), so to pass the time one might….
Look at the list of scheduled dances,
Entertain other guests, especially gentlemen, with a lovely song,
watch the band prepare,
or rest to better aide digestion.
Then it is time for dancing!!!! Remember to always prep your lines….
And then we dance…
Unfortunately there is always a scarcity of gentlemen at such events so some ladies might have to take one the role of the male partner, but for the sake of the dancing it is not only proper but encouraged so everyone may have a chance to show off their skills…and dresses.
After the tea is consumed and the dancing has ended it is time for one to climb into their horseless carriage once again and be taken home. There exhaustion and a slight depression overwhelm one.
But there is always next year……