Bowing & curtseying

Added on April 20th, 2020 by Lorne Smith
Posted in General
There are very few who see anything good coming out of the Wuhan virus, except perhaps XR leader Rupert Read, who is reported by David Rose as seeing it as a huge opportunity. But let us ignore the extremists for surely the focus needs to be on recreating jobs and growth.
Boris, who before he went under and scared us all, alluded to the importance of the word ‘social’ used by Margaret Thatcher in her famous 1980s interview. She was trying to show that ‘society’ is not an abstract but made up of obligations to each other. She spoke of a “living tapestry of men and women”. Quite a good analogy for our interconnectedness.
Unfortunately, it seems that we will have to learn to live with ‘social distancing’ and the unnatural inability to show warmth to others on greeting with handshakes and kisses.
Nevertheless, as others have noted, perhaps if people took up bowing and curtseying again something good may arise out of the tragedy.
To use a nod or bob with those not so well known, while an arm across the tummy and a leg backwards with a full flourish for those we love, and the whole gamut in between, is surely more enjoyable than ankle or elbow tapping and keeps a distance. Let us bannish our social embarrassment and enhance natural British good manners!
Of course for those of us who are inveterate hat wearers, a touch of the brim or the full taking off, gives us a further opportunity to show our respect for others and our interconnectedness. Somebody told me that a gentleman takes his hat off, rather than just touching the brim. I would not know if that is the case but that type of pedantry is unnecessary.
For bowing and curtseying to become popular in today’s age it will need to be seen as a fun thing to do and not be connected to its original historical context of empowering social hierarchy and deference, which flows from traditions of aristocracy and monarchy. Is it possible to borrow this attractive social etiquette without the deference? Or is there any reason why some on the republican left might not use it as part of their rebellious cause?

It was only in 2003 that players at the Wimbledon tennis Championship were allowed to not have to bow or curtsey to the Royal Box. Some continue to do so.

Following Princess Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth bowed her head towards Diana’s coffin. According to some royal experts, the gesture was to show respect and recognize the work of the late princess.

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