Have you ever dreamed about being a prince/princess or from the upper class in the 19th century? being brought up in a magnificent castle where all women wear elegant fancy dresses and all men ride horses and go hunting, where everyone in the morning ride carriages in the gardens and at night they dance in big royal balls?
Well it’s not as easy as it seems. It was definitely times that are harder in the 19th century or the Victorian era and not because the likely chance to be cursed by a witch or locked in a tower or being forced to face a breathing fire dragon as Disney has taught us.
In that era everyone has to do everything by the book and it was a huge book with too many rules for every little thing, surprisingly they had the ability to follow them all, for example:
Always wear gloves in formal occasions, except when eating or drinking. In the evening the gloves must be white or cream-colored while in the morning the gloves should be dark-colored.
Lift your hat to a lady when she greets you in public and never greet her in public unless she acknowledges you first.
Between gentlemen, a small nod of the head, a gesture of the hand, or a mere touching of the hat is quite enough. To someone you know a bow may be offered without speaking, but with those with whom you know better, more cordiality is expected. A bow should always be returned, even to an enemy. Never refer to another person by their first name in public.
Stand when a lady enters a room or when she stands, offer a lady your seat if no other seat is available or assist her with her chair. Help a lady if she drops an item, open doors for her and help with her coat, cloak or shawl. Offer to bring a lady refreshment. Never leave a lady you know unattended, except with permission. Never use tobacco in any form when ladies are present.
So, if I were a gentleman living in the 19th century and saw a lady passing by a room that I am in, I would pray god a lot she doesn’t enter. Ladies life wasn’t easier than men.
They had to learn to draw, play the piano, attend balls and she basically had to suffer to look good and be dressed well all the time. The most famously ridiculous item of a Victorian woman’s wardrobe was the crinoline. As a substitute for layers of heavy petticoats, these wide steel-constructed domed cages held w omen’s skirts far from their legs. Such devices made it easy to use the chamber pot, perhaps, but maneuvering in small spaces became a challenge. Women also had to relearn how to sit elegantly. They weren’t allowed by any chance to sit crossing their legs.
Also women had no choice but to get married and raise children and they had no right at all to inherits their fathers so there only choice were to marry wealthy man in young age.
At balls, ladies generally had dance cards on which to write the names of their partners. A promise to dance, once made, was sacred and “should not on any account be broken.” And a lady was never to dance more than three times with one gentleman.
When crossing the pavement, a lady should raise her dress with the right hand, a little about the ankle. To raise the dress with both hands is vulgar and can only be excused when mud is very deep.
Many of the followed etiquette and manners in the Victorian era were logical also not a few number was weird and totally are necessary, and some of them is shared with the Arabian countries – or most likely those countries were their source – such as; that a lady can’t handshake a man, a lady can’t ride cars with a man she doesn’t know, a lady can’t be with a strange man in the same room without other company.
No matter how hard following this etiquette was you can’t deny that it build a great society and a magnificent kingdom, and if you really wish to return back in time to live in that charming era you should be ready to spend your life learning your required etiquette.