By BEN R. WILLIAMS
When I was about 12 years old, I took some Cotillion classes at a local country club. My memories of the class are vague at best, but I nonetheless feel qualified to offer a complete guide to Cotillion, and I do not plan to do any research while writing it. If you have an uncouth middle school-aged child that needs to be whipped into shape and learn where a fork goes on a table, please read the following!
What is Cotillion?
Cotillion is an ancient Latin word that means “to punish a child who likes video games too much.” However, it’s so much more than that. Cotillion is a series of etiquette classes designed for middle schoolers, and it ends with one final dinner and dance in which the children get to show their parents that they shouldn’t have wasted their money.
What to wear to Cotillion?
It’s important that young men dress for the occasion. Boys should wear a pair of khaki slacks and a dark-colored blazer, both of which should be purchased at JCPenney, preferably from a dusty shelf marked “IRREGULAR.” A classy tie is also important for the ensemble. I recommend one with Batman on it. Young women, meanwhile, should wear a dress or something.
When and where does Cotillion take place?
Cotillion takes place in the summer in the upstairs ballroom of a fancy country club where something is wrong with the HVAC system. Much like setting up a habitat for exotic reptiles, it’s important that the temperature hovers around 80 degrees. That is the best environment for pubescent children who haven’t yet learned that they need to wear deodorant every day.
What is learned at Cotillion?
What ISN’T learned at Cotillion? For one thing, young people will learn where silverware goes on a table. This includes not only the placement of the standard fork, knife, and spoon, but also the seldom-seen pheasant fork, custard knife, and trout hammer.
Additionally, boys are taught that when they are sitting down, they should never cross their ankles. On the other hand, girls should always cross their ankles while sitting. This is important.
Boys are also taught that it’s very important to offer girls a glass of the watered-down lemon drink that is being served from the punchbowl on the folding table. This is because girls have yet to master the intricacies of using a ladle.
Perhaps most importantly, young people are also taught how to dance. There are exactly four dances: the fox trot, the box step, the fox step, and the box trot.
But what song should the young people dance to? There is only one answer: “What the World Needs Now Is Love” as performed by original writer Burt Bacharach. No other songs are necessary. “What the World Needs Now Is Love” should be played so many times that decades later, every Cotillion participant should remember every note of the song verbatim, and whenever they hear it in the wild, they should have an “Apocalypse Now”-style flashback.
Finally, young men will learn that when dancing with a girl, they should hold her right hand in their left, place their right hand on the small of her back, and then stand as far away from her as is humanly possible. If done correctly, the boys will actually be able to hear the soft snapping noises of their straining arm ligaments. This part requires very little training because the boys and girls will naturally be terrified of one another.
After Cotillion classes, should boys attempt to climb up the exterior wall of the country club as though they are Spider-Man?
Yes. The exterior wall of the country club has extruded bricks that make for great little hand-holds, and trying to climb up the wall like Spider-Man is a wonderful way for them to pass the time while waiting for their parents to pick them up. Indeed, it may be the best part of Cotillion.