“Deportment and propriety in High Society 101” at Lady Favisham’s, a mandatory course for young ladies.
(AKA “How to break a man’s wrist without letting go of your fan”)
“Men,” began Mistress Carlysle. She said the word as though it were an epithet. “They own the world. They run the world. The spend their lives believing that whatever they see… they own. They believe they have the right to help themselves. And it is up to us… It is left to us… to relieve them of that ridiculous notion.“
Tracy raised her eyebrows. This was not what she expected.
Mistress Carlysle raised a cloth over a box. It was a glass case containing a pair of kitten heels, a fan, a clutch purse, a handkerchief, and a very pretty brooch. “These are our weapons. They seem like foolish frippery. I will teach you otherwise.”
So it began. Men likened themselves to hungering animals, and it were those beasts that all these young girls now trained to defend themselves gainst in a ladylike manner.
Tracy was rather proud that she could gracefully suplex a human four times her weight without staining or tearing a delicate chiffon gown. He could disable a man with a fan. Breaking not only his fingers, but also his hands and, in rapid succession, his forearms.
Men could not imply consent when the had both his arms broken.
Kitten heels and the more spiky varieties of ladies’ shoes could either pierce a foot or pierce a skull, though killing a gentleman was viewed in the utmost of bad taste.
And there was also the Favisham’s Slap. Done right, it could deafen a man or break his jaw. Even with a half-hearted effort, it could knock an ‘ungentlemanly gentleman’ off his feet.
And, if the action resulted in a scene, Lady Favisham’s taught the most disarming tactic of ladylike defense: hysterical crying.
Lady Favisham knew her stuff. The semblance of delicacy was the most important weapon of all. It used toxic gender roles to their advantage.
And Tracy made certain she learned every trick in the book.