Warning to St. Louis Youth: The Cotillion is Coming to Town

The youth of today! They're all attitude and slouch. Instead of reading, they play video games. Instead of getting a proper haircut, they get a Bieber.

click to enlarge Why don't today's youth enjoy standing around in fancy dress and having adult conversation?
Why don't today's youth enjoy standing around in fancy dress and having adult conversation?
Haven't you longed for the days when young ladies wore white gloves and young men danced the foxtrot?

Umm, yeah. Us too. Which is why we were so excited to see that the National League of Junior Cotillions is setting up shop right here in St. Louis County!

As the organization helpfully informed Daily RFT in a press release, it promotes training in "etiquette, character education and social dance." It teaches young whippersnappers "honor, respect, ethics, sportsmanship, acknowledgment of gifts" and even "receiving lines" (thank God! Finally someone is paying the proper attention to receiving lines!) It sponsors instructional seven-course dinners -- presumably so the youth of America can learn the lost art of using a finger bowl.

As Spokeswoman Debra Roberts explains, the National League of Junior Cotillions started in 1989 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Today, there are approximately 150 chapters across the U.S., all spreading the gospel of proper social graces.

We couldn't help but ask: Aren't the social graces in question hopelessly old-fashioned? Who needs to know manners in 2010? And who (other than Bristol Palin, apparently) needs to learn how to waltz?

But Roberts insists the program is timeless: "It teaches students. It gives them that self-confidence to look someone in the eye when they're speaking with them."

And lest you think this kind of program is hopelessly fuddy-duddy (ahem!), the organization proclaims that ballroom dancing is taught using "nationally approved top 40 music."

That doesn't mean Kanye West and Lady GaGa, mind you. "It's nationally approved music," Roberts stresses. "It has to be approved. It has to be clean."

So no ballroom dancing to Nelly? "Exactly," she says.

If you think you've got what it takes to shape up the youth of today -- and teach them to behave much like the youth of 60 years ago -- you're encouraged to email [email protected] or call 1-800-633-7947. Roberts says they are looking to train a new director who would have exclusive rights to the mold the minds of the area's middle and junior high school students; the hope is to get the person selected by February and get the program up and running by the next school year.

Slackers of St. Louis, consider yourself warned. You may be chillaxing the days away, but come next year, you're learning the cha cha.

About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
Scroll to read more St. Louis Metro News articles (1)


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.