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BEARKING NEWS: The Difference Between a Cotillion and a Debutante Ball

It's no secret we Southerners love traditions, especially those that encourage participation from each generation as a rite of passage. So it shouldn't be surprising that two well-known coming-of-age traditions are closely associated with Southern culture: cotillions and debutante balls. Just the mention of either and visions of white gloves and young people dancing the foxtrot appear in our heads. These two events have a lot in common but are distinct occasions with different origins and purposes.

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by Anonymousreply 33April 2, 2023 10:00 PM

Aunt Belle : Pres has always loved you in white. If he isn't simply bowled over by it, I won't know what to think.

Julie : [speaking to an assistant who carries off a red dress] Wait a minute. Bring that over here. Saucy, isn't it?

Aunt Belle : And vulgar!

Julie : Yes, isn't it? Come on, get me out of this.

Aunt Belle : Julie, what are you doing?

Julie : If it fits me, I'm gonna wear it to the Olympus Ball.

Aunt Belle : A red dress to the Olympus Ball? Why, you're out of your senses.

Julie : ...Mary Vickers couldn't possibly do it justice.

Aunt Belle : Child, you're out of your mind. You know you can't wear red to the Olympus Ball.

Julie : Can't I? I'm going to. This is 1852, dumpling, 1852! Not the Dark Ages. Girls don't have to simper around in white just because they're not married.

Aunt Belle : In New Orleans, they do. Julie, you'd insult every woman on the floor.

Mme. Poulard : Mademoiselle, your aunt, she's right. Look how beautiful this dress is.

Julie : Will you kindly get me out of this?

Aunt Belle : Julie, you can't be serious.

Julie : Never more serious in my life.

Aunt Belle : But Julie, think of Pres.

Julie : That's just exactly what I am thinking of.

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by Anonymousreply 1March 25, 2023 5:36 AM

Stop trying to make Bearking happen.

by Anonymousreply 2March 25, 2023 5:36 AM

Now that our Southern Living friends have clarified that, there's more to learn!

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by Anonymousreply 3March 25, 2023 5:41 AM

I was promised a Bear King. I have been sorely disappointed.

by Anonymousreply 4March 25, 2023 5:56 AM

My grandfather was president of one of the oldest and largest debutante balls still going and even my sister, who debuted over thirty years ago, knew it was on its way out.

Most girls now don’t bother unless the parents are involved and force them to. Often the promise of gifts (like a BMW 3 series) sweeten the deal.

It’s normally just a month or two of binge drinking, and girls can do that any day of the week at college anyway.

by Anonymousreply 5March 25, 2023 7:13 AM

🎼"Oh come one and all, to the debutantes ball, it's very refined......."🎶

- Harpers Bizarre

by Anonymousreply 6March 25, 2023 8:33 AM

This thread reeks of someone with no life.

by Anonymousreply 7March 25, 2023 8:36 AM


by Anonymousreply 8March 25, 2023 8:37 AM

Cotillions are what Black people have.

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by Anonymousreply 9March 25, 2023 9:06 AM

Can we discuss trans visibility (or lack thereof) in cotillion and debutante culture? Is this a cause we need to rally around?

by Anonymousreply 10March 25, 2023 1:30 PM


by Anonymousreply 11March 30, 2023 8:41 PM

As Sheldon Cooper beautifully clarified, "Cotillion offers all the tools needed to function in 18th century Vienna". It's all for ugly, yet wealthy children of equally fugly, but wealthy parents who think their little ghouls are something special. I didn't realize Debuts were still a thing. I last heard of those balls in the 80's. Now young women meet their husbands at college or after. Parents have little to do with it.

by Anonymousreply 12March 30, 2023 8:57 PM

[quote] Cotillions are what Black people have.

Two tears in a bucket. Motherfuck it.

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by Anonymousreply 13March 30, 2023 8:59 PM

I wonder how many abortions are performed in New York State after this season of wonder in the former Confederacy?

by Anonymousreply 14March 30, 2023 9:09 PM
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by Anonymousreply 15March 30, 2023 9:14 PM

Which one do I attend if I want to wear my cha-cha heals?

by Anonymousreply 16March 30, 2023 9:18 PM

[quote]Cotillions are what Black people have.

Cotillion is my cousin!

by Anonymousreply 17March 30, 2023 9:31 PM

Those gowns are very forgiving to the plus-size gals!

by Anonymousreply 18March 30, 2023 9:32 PM

OP, you forgot to sign your post as Lindsey Graham!

by Anonymousreply 19March 30, 2023 9:45 PM

The meals at debutante balls are hot and nutritious, that's the main difference.

by Anonymousreply 20March 31, 2023 12:31 PM

I can't stand the old south now. I know the cities are supposed to be liberal but it's an ignorant backwater that drags the whole country down. Nothing but crackers and racists.

by Anonymousreply 21March 31, 2023 12:35 PM

Fun photo feature from the NY Times (may be behind a paywall).

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by Anonymousreply 22March 31, 2023 12:53 PM

Cotillion Champale is my drag name.

by Anonymousreply 23March 31, 2023 3:40 PM

There was a series of films released in the '80s and '90s titled, 'Dirty Debutantes' which would probably help to explain the differences between the two terms...

by Anonymousreply 24March 31, 2023 9:10 PM

Aren't they both in essence just basically livestock shows letting eligible bachelor's know that your daughters are ready for fucking?

by Anonymousreply 25March 31, 2023 9:57 PM

R25 I think boys do cotillion as well. Debuts are strictly for the 1% gals looking for someone in their financial league.

by Anonymousreply 26March 31, 2023 11:17 PM

Mother's debut was canceled in 1944 because of the war. She didn't really care anyway.

by Anonymousreply 27March 31, 2023 11:50 PM

Cotilllion? I LOVED her in La Vie En Rose!

by Anonymousreply 28April 1, 2023 2:17 AM

Debutante balls are fun for the guys. I spent several Christmas and Summer seasons going to parties and balls. We got drunk, danced and stayed out late. All on someone else's dime. I had two tuxedos and half a dozen formal shirts when I was 18 because we'd trash our outfits and needed a spare. We were young, silly and came from money. Nothing to be ashamed of. Just how it is for some people. Don't be a hater. Be proud of whatever you were doing at that age.

by Anonymousreply 29April 1, 2023 4:24 AM

R25, the debut thing doesn't just signify that your daughter is ready for fucking, it signifies that either the parents or the girl want the world to know that she won't fuck just anybody! That either she's holding out for an advantageous marriage, or her mother is damn well trying to *make*her hold out for an advantageous marriage.

I honestly wonder if these balls have any effect on the girls' marriage prospects. The girls come out at 18-ish, don't they? Since the girls don't marry that young, and the young men who are roped into the debut circuit are more interested in free booze than a wife, does a debut actually help a girl meet the right sort of straight man?

by Anonymousreply 30April 1, 2023 4:57 AM

When you think about it. Beauty pageants also do serve this function for more lower class to middle class parents to get their daughters married off to a wealthy man. The judge women not only on beauty but poise, sophistication, intelligence and other talents.

by Anonymousreply 31April 1, 2023 6:23 PM

I think the pageant route is slowly but surely being choked off too, R31.

by Anonymousreply 32April 2, 2023 3:57 PM

R31, someone once described beauty pageants as "competing in all the skills a rich wife is expected to have".

Looking fantastic in a wide range of clothing, accepting judgement of one's body, discussing current events politely, acting happy when some other bitch gets something you want, wearing jewelry well, etc. Everything but the breeding, but they sort of cover that in the "can't have been married before" clause.

by Anonymousreply 33April 2, 2023 10:00 PM
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