Thank Goodness We Don’t Have To Do That Anymore: Not Safe in Taxis

Don’t get into one of these with a handsy guy (unless that’s your thing!) via Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago I was in London and visiting every museum possible, and I saw this amazing exhibit at Kensington Palace called The Last Debutantes which was based on a book of the same title by Fiona MacCarthy about her experience as part of the last group of debutantes to be presented to the Queen of England in 1958 before the ceremony was ended. Among all the exhibits teaching you the proper way to curtsey, balance a book on your head (I am an ace at this, btw), and waltz, there was a strange acronym. NST. What is NST?

Not Safe in Taxis. This was used by debutantes and their mothers to refer to young men who couldn’t be trusted to escort a deb home in a taxi without getting handsy. Apparently some mothers actually kept a list of these young men and the debs themselves would avoid them. Young men of the right pedigree to attend debutante events were apparently in such short supply that these guys would still be invited to things, and would dance with the girls, they just couldn’t escort them home. Dates to debutante parties were charmingly called “deb’s delights” by the way.

Fortunately we live in an age where you can take your own taxi home without having to resort to a creepy guy escorting you. Unfortunately, just because no one keeps lists of the men who might grope you if given the chance, it doesn’t mean that we are beyond it happening. It’s pretty sad that so little has changed in over 50 years. Good etiquette shouldn’t be about avoiding getting groped, it is about being the kind of person who would never grope anyone who didn’t want it.


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