At left is another gem of yesteryear that I rediscovered at mom and dad’s house last weekend: a social etiquette primer from my freshman year of high school. The Pink Book, as it was called, was neatly tucked away in a desk drawer with high school honors day certificates and a Meyers-Briggs test I took in 1999 (ENFJ, if you’re wondering). I may be a packrat, but at least I’m orderly about it.
This booklet was meant to introduce us young ladies to the art of responding to invitations, specifically invitations to annual dances known as PDC — Pre-Debutante Cotillion. Yes, there are still debutantes. Yes, some of them are normal people. Most of us just wanted to go to a fancy date party!
Miss Liz Clement-Riker, an old battleaxe of the local Junior League (may she rest in peace), distributed and walked girls through the Pink Books at a gathering at the Driving Club called a Coke Party (Ha!). As in, we all got together and drank Cokes and listened to the rules of how to accept or decline and invitation. To wit:
Watch out for homophones, ladies! And be sure you note that the invitation was gracious and kind rather than giving yourself that credit when you respond for the Spring Dance. Otherwise you may not be invited back for the Christmas Dance, the Holley [sic?] Ball or the Mistletoe Buffet. Of course, please disregard any grammatical errors that may be found in the Pink Book. (There are plenty.)
Postscript: When I googled “pre-debutante cotillion Atlanta,” I learned that indeed they still have Coke Parties and a Pink Book with the same drawing on the cover! I also found a 2008 blog post by a Danish exchange student attending my high school that attempts to explain the PDC phenomenon to her readers back home; her account is pretty spot-on. It probably sounds just as odd to many of you as it surely did to the Europeans. Those of you who have experienced PDC or will likely be as amused as I was to read about it from her point of view. I don’t think the whole affair was quite so thoroughly noots back in the day, at least among my crowd… but I guess it’s all relative.