The Rules Of ‘Downton Abbey’ Can Cure All Your Social Awkwardness
Sorry, "Game of Thrones," but "Downton Abbey" is the best show ever. The historical romance oozes style.
The show plays host to Lady Sybil’s periwinkle harem pants and Lady Mary’s enviable roaring '20s sequins. It has witty banter, beautiful men (Tweet me, Allen Leech) and Dame Maggie Smith, for crying out loud.
"Game of Thrones" might make me dread weddings, but “Downton” is next level drama.
What drew me in initially, however, wasn’t Allen Leech’s jawline. It was the etiquette. The show makes me pine for a time when people courted instead of swiping right.
Every mannerism, conversation and comeback was shaped around the strict conduct codes of the post-Edwardian era.
While I can’t model my life on "Downton" — I don’t have a Carson, nor am I a Dutchess — I can take certain social cues and apply them to my day-to-day.
To help channel my inner Lady Mary, I spoke with lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann on how to apply some '20s-style suavity to social situations.
From awkward holiday parties to modern-day dating, here's how to live the "Downton" way.
Start giving a sh*t about what other people think.
At the turn of the century, reputation shaped your entire livelihood. Things aren’t as severe these days, but maybe giving a f*ck isn’t such a bad idea.
Swann stresses the importance of being concerned about how we conduct ourselves whether we’re out in public, at work or even online.
“Etiquette is all about putting others at ease,” Swann says. “Consideration [means] doing something that won’t embarrass someone else."
It's okay to act like a damn lady.
Yes, women are strong and independent. There are more women in positions of power now than ever before.
Just because you’re a powerful chick at work doesn’t mean you have to translate that to every aspect of your life.
“It’s hard for a man to hug a porcupine,” Swann explains.
In short: There's nothing wrong with a lady accepting a chivalrous act.
Don’t refuse his jacket if you’re cold. Allow him to open the door for you.
He shouldn’t text you to say he’s waiting downstairs in your building's lobby. Instead, he should come straight to your door and walk with you to his car.
Swann stresses the importance of not dumbing ourselves down, but lightening up a bit.
Even prickly Lady Mary allows men to woo her. And we all know she's a boss bitch.
Wait a little while before jumping his bones.
It won't get any easier for you later down the line.
Sure, Lady Mary might’ve opted to sleep with Lord Gillingham before considering marriage. But, for the most part, sex before marriage just wasn’t done in the "Downton" days.
And for good reason.
“When we have sex with someone too early, we become clouded and are prevented from making sound judgements,” Swann stresses. “If he’s not the right one for you ... it makes it easier to cut him off if you wait."
Don’t let annoying family members get the best of you.
If Aunt Marge won’t shut up about how you’re still single, have a plan of action.
After all, it’s not like Cora attacked The Dowager Countess over the dinner table.
“Let crazy be crazy,” Swann suggests. “Recognize you can’t fix them."
Swann’s top tip is to maintain your composure in the face of adversity. Don’t call anyone out.
When the conversation gets weird, answer Aunt Marge's probing question. Then, promptly divert the conversation by making small talk about her life.
She'll love that you remembered her hobbies. And, honestly, ladies love to talk about themselves.
Or, you can be like the Dowager and give virtually zero f*cks.