THE MAKING OF A DANDIZETTE
Tyne O’Connell, (born Clementyne) traces her heritage as a dandizette to her upbringing at the hands of a redoubtable Elegant Feminist, her Edwardian mother, Veronica Mary. Veronica considered her daughter’s education at the hands of Belgium & Dutch nuns (mostly under 5” tall in their wooden clogged shoes) and all born before the the 1900‘s, to be more Victorian in style than her own. Yet she conceded that these nuns were true feminist trailblazers and more than capable of putting cheeky men and bold priests in their place.
Not only had these sisters personally championed the suffrage of women & lived through two world wars but they still had plenty of fight in them when it came to men who dared to lord it over them.
The weaponry the sisters used in their combat against men who would oppress women were deportment and elocution, food and fashion. A man may be taller and stronger but armed with deportment and elocution and the power to host the perfect diplomatic dinner the nuns assured the girls they could make any man feel as small as she needed.
Tyne learned that cooking, while an excellent and creative way to give to others could, if allowed, be used by men as yet another method to confine women to domestic drudgery.
Two of Tyne’s nuns, were Flemish double act: Sister Bernard & Sister Veronica, who endured great privations during both wars, schooled Audrey Hepburn at one point and claimed to have “taught Christian Dior everything he knew about how to cut”.
While they spoke only rudimentary English they taught needlework and the artistry of tailoring and textiles, along with the alchemy of haute cuisine. Rather than merely teaching the girls to follow “receipts” they immersed them in the history of food both as art and as nutrition.
Tyne explains “we began with embroidering a napkin and boiling an egg and ended with cordon bleu and a marriage trousseau, including the skill set necessary to make a three piece suit for our husbands – well actually we made a three piece suit though I thought it might be a bit spooky to present him with it on the wedding night. After six years under Sisters Bernard and Veronica, Tyne O’Connell obtained a Diploma of Culinary Arts and a degree in fashion.”
“I count myself as extremely lucky to have received the education I did. Subjects such as Etiquette & Deportment were taken as seriously as literature and science so that our razor sharp minds were matched by our upright posture and poise. We could simultaneously cut a man down to size with our delightful charm,” Tyne explains. “For The Dandizette must be able to comport herself with elegance and calm in any situation. Being a dandizette is more than simply being part of a sartorial revolution. As we take up charms against a sea of male bluster we must do so with straight backs and clear speech.”