Saturday, November 11, 2017

Refined Young Ladies & Gentlemen

Last night K and I were volunteer chaperones at The Rooster's cotillion class. 

Cotillion has been updated from the days of white gloves and the fox trot and is now more of a professional preparatory class. 

The kids learn how to properly wear a nametag (high and right), how to sit in an interview, how to introduce themselves, how to conduct themselves in a fine dining environment and many other ways to behave correctly in a professional setting. 

The Rooster was dismayed to have us in the room and announced the following ground rules: 

1.      Don’t touch me; 
2.      Don’t talk to me; 
3.      Don’t look at me; 
4.      Say your daughter’s name is Cathy and that she goes to a different middle school than mine.

One trick they learn is how to hold a small appetizer plate and a drink in their left hand so that their right hand is free to shake hands with professional contacts at a networking event. 

[Put the middle through pinky fingers of the left hand under the plate and the thumb and pointer finger above the plate.  Make an “o” with the thumb and pointer finger and hold your drink there.]

The teacher paused to remind the children that when they wanted to take a sip of their drink, it was critical to take it out of their left hand and sip it with their right or else all the food on their plate would fall to the floor. 

[You would think that would be obvious, but the teacher told the parents she had cleaned enough food up off the floor to know that it wasn’t.]  

As volunteers, K and I were asked to mingle with the kids, introducing ourselves to them after they got refreshments to make sure they were prepared to shake our hands and say the right things. 

[The Rooster was mortified.]

K and I enjoyed confronting the unsuspecting 6th graders, greeting them, telling them our names, thrusting our hands out for a handshake, and waiting. 

Most of them managed to shake our hands, greet us, introduce themselves and follow up with a “nice to meet you.”

One boy had his plate and cup in the wrong hand when K approached him. 

He thought for a moment, raised his eyebrows in a questioning way and with a hopeful look on his face, lifted a fist offering K a fist bump.  

The kids were served some sort of mini cupcake. 

One young girl had the plate and cup perfectly balanced in her left hand. 

[All good so far.]

She picked up the cupcake with her right hand and realized she was stuck. 

[How was she supposed to get the cupcake wrapper off??!!!]

Suddenly, she was illuminated.

[An idea!]

She jammed the cupcake muffin top between her teeth and peeled the wrapper off while holding the treat steady with her choppers.

[Eureka! That worked!]

There was a moment of triumph, followed by a moment of terror and despair.

[Now what?]

Her hands were full - cup and plate in one hand, cupcake wrapper in the other.

The mini-cupcake’s muffin top remained squeezed between her teeth while the cake end protruded from her face torpedo-style. 

I could almost see her brain wringing its hands. 

She hesitated for a moment, then, in a flash of inspiration, threw her head backwards and swung it from side to side until the whole cupcake fell backwards towards her tonsils.

She closed her small mouth around the too large pillow of cake and choked it down.

I had to restrain myself from thrusting out my hand at that precise moment, “Hi, I’m...”  

The boy paired with The Rooster told her he was sure she had cooties.  Eye rolls ensued. 

A “swing dance” ended the evening in an awkward, vaguely robotic, spate of flailing about.

Want to go back to middle school? 

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