Time to reconsider the curtsy?

The Oxford American Dictionary defines a curtsy as: 

“A woman or girl’s respectful greeting, made by bending the knees with one foot in front of the other.”

May I humbly propose that it’s time to leave the confines of this antiquated definition behind?

What I’m suggesting is that we consider, in these gender-bending times, curtsying could be a remedy to one of the worst aspects of wearing a mask. 

I am referring to how masks make our smiles disappear. 

When my pal Gusta drops off a mason jar of bone broth, or I pick up my Gibraltar or mocha at the world-famous Verve coffee roastery in my neighborhood, the mask hides my gratitude and joy from view. I don’t know about you, but I sorely miss this simple — as unappreciated as it is compelling — nonverbal aspect of social interaction, of connecting with others.

That’s why I’m asking: Why can’t we all curtsy?

We can break the historically imposed boundary on this behavior. 

The dictionary also informs us that this word is a variant of courtesy. The currency of civility is cultural; being polite and considerate needn’t be bound by biology. Why not add this action, along with the elbow bump and head-nod hello, to our expanding pandemic-inspired vocabulary of body language? 

What better wordless way to express thanks? What a wonderful way to make this essential silent sign of appreciation visible again! 

From my experience, curtsying, as surprising and amusing as it seems at first in these times, especially when a man does it, is appreciated as intended: as a sincere, heartfelt “thank-you.”

Go on. Give it a go. 

If you haven’t seen the recent article in the New York Times about somatics and the Feldenkrais Method® of neurophysical learning, please click here.

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If you’re ready to experience the benefits of the method, you might be interested in the groundbreaking year-long Awareness Through Movement® program, The Bodywise Project, launching next month. To be amongst the first to find out what’s coming, please click here.


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Responses

  1. HaHaHa, Larry you're so sweet. I am actually appreciating the way we look each other in the Eyes more than usual. But I really wanna ask you if you are considering doing the sweeping Workshop again some time. I think its so valuable and wonderful.
    Thanks for the files on AFW, hope you're fine in Santa Cruz.
    Another Friend and San Rafael Feldenkrais Practitioner Training Programm Buddy is sending Fotos from the Pacific Ocean and Pelicans flying all the Time, makes me wanna visit California again, but not now, I know......
    Cheers Larry, have a wonderful day, Luka from Hamburg

    1. Hello Luka -
      Thanks for responding.
      Yes, in the bright California sunshine, I was wearing sunglasses. Be that as it may, you're so right! Eye contact is that much more meaningful.
      Hmmm . . . I've no plans of teaching Sweeping Changes again soon. Come to think of it . . . it might be a good idea to make the recordings available. 😉
      Glad you're enjoying the recordings of THE ARTIFICIAL FLOOR/Vienna!
      I'm fine in Santa Cruz, surfing the world on the Internet and taking long walks & rides in my adopted home town.
      Take good care,
      Larry

  2. Oh my gosh, my golly! I shall try this. To date, I've often simply told people I'm smiling...you know "You can't see because of the mask - I'm smiling right now." I just looked up bow and unlike curtsy it isn't gendered. Hmmm. Well, I shall commit to one curtsy this week and also see what other imaginative ways I can move to show gratitude/forge connection in lieu of a smile. Thanks for the playful inspiration!! 🧡

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