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The curtsey - painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1898).

A curtsey (also spelled curtsy) is a traditional gesture of greeting for girls and women. It is the female equivalent of male bowing in Western cultures.

To curtsey, the girl or woman bends her knees and bows her head. In more formal variants of the curtsey, she bends her knees outward (rather than straight ahead), often sweeping one foot behind her. She may also use her hands to hold her skirt out from her body.

Traditionally, girls and women would curtsey for those of senior social rank just as boys and men would bow. For example, female domestic workers (maids) would curtsey in front of their employer.

Curtseying today

Today, curtseying has almost disappeared and is only done in rare special cases. Many girls and women will never have curtseyed in their life. Curtseying is still done in Europe in front of royalty, in which case it is referred to as a court curtsey and is often especially deep and elaborate. Female dancers also often curtsey at the end of a performance to show gratitude and/or acknowledge any applause from the audience. At the end of a ballet class, students will also curtsey or bow to the teacher and the pianist to show gratitude.

Little girls look extremely cute and graceful, well-mannered and respectful when curtseying in the traditional style. Curtseying girls can be seen in movies, for example.

Since it has strong connotations with old-fashioned ways and is a gesture to express respect and submissiveness, curtseying is also popular in erotic roleplay, including ageplay. Curtseying is typically found in BDSM roleplay such as mistress/maid, master/maid, parent/daughter, or teacher/schoolgirl in vintage settings (e.g. 19th century).


More information is available at [ Wikipedia:Curtsey ]
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