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Vitamin Q: the book!
~ Thursday, February 13, 2003
A list of rules for Square Dancing from circa 1875:
1 Admittance 50 cents, refreshments included.
2 The music is to consist of a fiddle, a pip or tabor, a hurdy gurdy. No chorus is to be sung until after dancing is over.
3 No lady to dance in black stockings – nor must she have her elbows bare.
4 Every lady to come with a clean handkerchief with her name marked.
5 To prevent spitting, no gentleman to chew tobacco or smoke.
6 No gentleman to dance in a great coat unless his under one torn.
7 No lady to dress her hair in tallow candle, nor must she have a bunch of hair sticking up, top of her head.
8 Leather small clothes except newly washed are forbidden, as they might soil the ladies gowns - and to prevent the tearing of the planking, no gentleman to dance in nailed shoes or boots.
9 No whispering to be allowed - if anyone shall be found Io make insidious remarks about anyone's dancing, he or she shall be put out of the room.
10 No scissors or gimlets are to be brought either by ladies or gentlemen unless their pockets are whole.
11 No gentleman to appear with a cravet that has been worn more than a week or a fortnight.
12 Long beards are forbidden, as they would be very disagreeable, if a gentleman should happen to put his cheek beside a lady's.
13 Those ladies who have not white stockings and black morocco shoes will not be admitted under any pretense whatever. Two old ladies will be provided to examine all who enter.
14 No lady must appear with a veil on even if it be turned aside, as the gentlemen will not have an opportunity of looking at their faces distinct.
15 No gentleman must squeeze his partner's hand, nor look earnestly upon her; and furthermore he must not pick up her handkerchief, provided it were to fall. The first denotes he loves her, the second he wishes to kiss her, and the last that she makes a sigh for both.
16 For distinction sake, the master of ceremonies is to wear a red coat, buff small clothes, black stockings, green shoes, and a furtout. The work of command is, tumble up ladies.
Source: 4n8ers.org (the site seems unclear of the proper date)