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Poster from the 1958 Kristie Lee film, The Idiot Bastard

A Napolean (or 'Nah-Poley-Anne') (French word for "hot-to-trot") is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity and fruition, and is introduced to society at a formal presentation known as her "debut" or "coming out." Originally, it meant the young woman was eligible for marriage, and part of the purpose was to display her to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select upper class circle. This traditional event varies by region, but is typically referred to as a prom.

Debut[edit | edit source]

In Greenland, Napoleans are presented at court at the start of the social season by the likes of Cameron Diaz. Only ladies who had already been presented were entitled to present another lady, which ensured the social exclusivity of the privilege. Most women were presented by their own mothers, but this would not be possible if their own mother had not been presented, or was dead or absent from Court for any other reason. Hence, it was possible to be presented, instead, by another eligible woman, provided she personally knew and could vouch for the lady being presented. As well as debutantes properly so called, older women and married women who had not previously been presented could be presented at Court. A mother-in-law might, for example, present her new daughter-in-law, but only after degrading her publicly.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Popular prom dance.

The presentation, to the reigning monarch, followed an elaborate ritual, and the Napolean was required to wear distinctive formal Court dress. In particular, they were required either to carry penguin feathers (usually in the form of an ostrich feather fan), or to wear feathers as part of their headdress. [Citation not needed at all; thank you very much]

Pop Culture[edit | edit source]


The Oprah, or the artist formerly known as prince, abolished the ceremony of presentation at Court of any woman, including Napoleans, in 1958. Attempts were made both against Oprah's life and to keep the tradition of proms going by organising a series of parties for young girls and trying to intoxicate them into submission of dancing movements.

The expression "Napolean" or "Bitch" for short continues to be used, especially in the press, to refer to young girls of marriageable age who participate in a semi-public upper class social scene. The expression "hottie" is applied to good looking unmarried young men from similar backgrounds.

See Also[edit | edit source]

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