How to Turn a Street Urchin Into a Proper Lady

  1. Accept bet from colleague only because you’re eager to help someone less fortunate than yourself and you have a serious gambling addiction
  2. Scrub coal dust from face and determine the gender of the urchin in question; if male, send to Professor Merriweather down the street who turns male urchins into rent boys
  3. Propose scheme to urchin and state the you have the utmost faith in her success, once she gets her head out of the garbage bin and stops offering to ‘polish yer knob for a tuppance’
  4. Devise a series of punishing tongue-twisters, the mastery of which will not only straighten out her clunky accent but teach her a lesson about perseverance; Sudoku is not an acceptable substitute
  5. Inform your student that only a real lady can walk tightrope in heels, just like Jackie O or Helen of Troy
  6. When flummoxed by proper order of cutlery, tell her that table manners are the greatest divider of class and breeding in the cultured world and she has set out to conquer them and, by God, conquer them she will; also, dissuade her from asking which of the forks ‘is for fendin’ off darkies and hebes’
  7. Positive reinforcement is helpful, but don’t overdo it; e.g., don’t mark each time she replaces the word ‘cock’ with ‘pee-pee’ by hollering, ‘By George, she’s got it!’
  8. Thank God you’ve got tenure and thus all the time in the world to devote to a preposterous task such as this
  9. When she has completed her transformation, clad in a billowing dress and ready to attend the Grand Ball, tell her it was only a joke and you were really looking for a part-time maid; the amount of profanity in response is her final test on ‘poise’
  10. Realize, against all logic and reason, that you’ve fallen in love with your student; propose marriage only to be told that she’s accepted the advances of that prick Merriweather; battle deep depression by trying the same transformation with a Doberman
  11. Marry the Doberman—she looks better in a bonnet anyway
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