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.
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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