How I lost my reputation as a well-mannered young woman (working title) | Skillshare Projects

Dania D.

Editor & translator



How I lost my reputation as a well-mannered young woman (working title)

Hi there,

my essay is about a faux pas I made during a dinner my parents had given for a special guest when I was a teenager. On a more deeper level, it deals with the struggles I had with my parents during my teenage years, especially with my mother on topics like manners, looks and being dressed properly. 

I got very inspired at the beginning and wrote a draft of the first part of the essay very quickly. Then I had a long pause and I am struggling now to get back to it. Also I think the second half of the story has to be in a way more tense to come to a coherent and captivating ending. Tough. But I am enjoying it a lot!

One last thing: I am no native speaker (as you have probably already spotted out). For those of you who are going to read it, I hope you won't be to much annoied by the mistakes and maybe obscure meanings you will find. I was just so curious to do this experiment. Also, beware: there is some allusion to Jane Austen in the following text. For those of you who are defintely not into that kind of things, feel free to stay away from this.



I think I am not overstating when I say I have probably been the best teenage daughter my parents could have ever dreamed of. To start with, I was very good at school and really happy to go every single morning. I don’t remember a time my parents had to remind me to go and sit at the desk to do my homework. I was even pretty damn fast at it: by the time my brother and I had our merenda, a little tea time snack, my books were already back on their shelves and the rest of the afternoon free for experimenting.

My social life was of the kind my parents had not to worry about: I would meet with my peer group of three girls to talk and play guitar, comfy sitting on beds while sipping in mugs of hot tea. We had not yet discovered caffeine, not to say alcohol. Things like smoking, coming home late at night or hanging around with friends that did either or both were an unknown territory to us.

Though we had what it seemed to be a very strong disposition to suffer from regular crushes, none of us had ever dated guys in those days – something that can be easily added up to the things that let parents of teenage children sleep uncomfortably at night. Mum and dad looked always very refreshed in the morning.

If I take a closer look at the young woman I was then, I think I could even define myself as accomplished - and I do mean it in the Victorian sense of the word. Remember the scene in Pride and Prejudice where Elisabeth Bennett is discussing the topic with Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy? I am pretty sure Miss Bingley would have pointed her finger at me for my lack of that “certain something in [my] air and manner of walking”; however, as for the rest, I certainly could have belonged to this most extraordinary species: I had (and indeed still have) some (ok, not so thorough but, so what) “knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing [no jigs though] and the modern languages.” In addition to this, I knitted my own sweaters, rarely asked for money, and did the dishes every evening, while my brother was free to leave the dining room, he being a boy and we living in an Italian small town in the 1980’s.

So why on earth did I have such a hard time with my parents during my teenage years? Wasn’t I the best candidate to go through puberty with some easiness at least on parental side?


(to be continued)


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