Bingley: They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses.
Caroline: A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.
A constant source of vexation to me is this thought that often comes to mind: What if, somehow, Mr. Darcy came to Sydney in the 21st Century… and I wasn’t “accomplished” enough for him? Shocking, indeed. What if I lose all possibility of blissful happiness, wealth et cetera… because I really couldn’t be bothered to spend a whole decade brushing up on my embroidering skills (or skillz, if we want to get all postmodern)? And so, I racked my brain for the solution to this conundrum, and came up with a bit of a “cheat”. Ladies, you no longer have to spend hours quilting-by-night or days painting-by-numbers… I can show you how to do it all (or how to fake doing it all) in seconds.
Darcy: To all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.
Even Caroline Bingley’s and Mr. Darcy’s notions of an “accomplished” young woman, will be surpassed by what you can learn using the simple iPhone or iPod Touch (Or even iPad, I suppose). What you may read below, may shock you (particularly if you have spent months/years learning French to attract your mutton-chopped beloved).
Lizzy: My fingers do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman’s of superior execution.
And so, here is how to fulfil ‘Ye Olde Listeth Of Characteristics’ in 5 minutes tops (plus download time!).
Cover screens and net purses: Did you know, that there are eighteen iPhone apps for quilting/knitting/the like. I particularly like the look of “Quilting for Beginners” by LoL Software. There are videos involved in it, and little cheat ways around things (Psst, you can also get the videos for free off of youtube). I also really liked the way “Quick & Easy Quilt Block Tool” provides very mathematical and practical instructions, how to make corner pieces and over “500 options for making traditional quilt blocks, plus bonus reference tables every quilter needs”. However, the most exciting app would have to be “Fabric Stash”. ‘Umm… what the heck is Fabric Stash?’… Well, my dears- you take a photo of each bit of fabric you have and then you can match it up with anything when shopping to get other pieces (colour matching et cetera) you can keep track of what you have and it boasts that you will “Save money” as you won’t by duplicates of the same piece.
Paint Tables: Let’s do this the easy way! Not only are there an uncountable number of applications to practice painting (for instance: Doodle Buddy, which lets you have heaps of fun smudging things around and Glow Draw! which, um, glows- yippee!) but there are even colour matching applications. Meaning? That “adorable lamp shade” you saw at Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s mansion doesn’t have to fade away as inspiration- all you do is take a picture, select and it chooses the colour (therefore leaving you with perfect pattern colours for your little darling table). The best of these: ColourMatch from ChromeToaster- uses Resene’s paint colours and is very easy to use. And- Haymes iColour which says “how do you know what paint colours are used, or what paint colours would match the colour of that flower, or that sunset, or that ancient Temple?” it also has Designer Colour Schemes inbuilt, so you don’t even have to figure out all that matchy-matchy stuff yourself!
Knowledge of music: In this day and age, most of us are fairly cluey about the top 40 hits. But, I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to impress Mr. I-own-Pemberley-and-probably-my-own-yacht-in-the-modern-day-too Darcy. So what will? Probably the “Classical Music Master Collection”- so you can actually have one of those You: “What music do you like?” Fitzy: “Ohh… classics, piano forte…” You: “OMG, me2!” moments. If you’re a bit worried about a failing memory, then you can always try using the “Classical Music” app by ADS Software Group, Inc. because it has a quiz game “Who is the composer?” and includes short biographical information and looks bloody pretty. “Classic Music Radio” from Jirbo, Inc. has all the sub-genres as well, and it’s free. You can always use “Shazam!” (the app that knows what song is playing) if you get stuck in an awkward situation and need to discuss what Kitty is howling on the piano.
Singing: Well. If you’ve ever heard me singing in the shower (and I hope you haven’t because, frankly, that would be kind of weird) you would know that there’s a lot to be desired. But there is (some) hope. Starting easy- “Sing Along Lyrics” has a whole bunch of kids songs that if you weren’t abused you probably know, to get you beginning. To get your notes right, I suggest “Piano Pups Free” or “Piano Cats Free” if you swing that way (have a laugh, and get in tune!). Similarly, “Perfect Pitch Free” helps you recognise the notes, but it just isn’t quite as fun. You can also checkout “Vocal Warmups & Tongue Twisters by VocalU.com” (Groupofminds.com) that helps you get your mouth into shape for singing (which, as all performers will tell you, is a big deal!).
Drawing: The iPhone has some stunning applications to draw with. Particularly for the not-so-artistically-inclined of us. At the top of the pile is “SketchBook MobileX” from Autodesk Inc. which is “a professional-grade paint and drawing application” offering advanced tools to draw with, the undo function (which I doubt Caroline ever had, ha!), pressure sensitivity and so on. Although the comments suggest they are having a few problems with the updates (and other teething issues) it looks like a goer. For people who prefer portraits, then there is “SketchMee” which uses photos and makes them look like artworks. Sweet! They look good, and (behind glass and from a distance) could probably even look real. There’s even ‘iDoodle2’ which is a simple looking, but effective app that combines digitalization with a slightly more organic look (easier to fool Darcy with?).
Dancing: Two left feet? Un-co? There is help available. “Salsa” by Cubicvideo GmbH is the easiest app! I tried this out myself, and the steps (although simple) are a complete breeze. It has diagrams, videos and different perspectives, so you always know what to expect. There’s “Waltz,, Your Wedding Dance” that includes demonstrations straight from the Ballroom Dance Channel. Rumba, Tango, Samba, Foxtrot etc are all availble. You can even download “Dancing Terms” so you don’t accidentally reveal the truth about your minimal dance knowledge.
Modern Languages: This is a piece of cake. The iPhone is packed full of translators and foreign dictionaries. “iTranslate ~ the universal translator” boasts 52 languages. “Language Translator” uses Google’s translation service to change texts into different languages. There are also phrasebooks (the LonelyPlanet has some great ones on the iPhone). However, to completely convince Mr. Darcy and all his irritating relatives etc that you are skilled in the “modern languages” then you can also get tutor applications. “FREE Spanish Tutor” uses real voices to help you learn pronunciation, and includes a whole bunch of games that get you learning in no time. “Learn French” is a simply-created app that includes hundreds of words to learn. Done, and dusted.
Something in her air and manner of walking: I knew this one might be a toughie. However, “iPosture Companion Free” helps with exercises and information to improve your posture and the way you walk. More fun though, is “Upright- Posture Alert”, which actually judges using motion sensors when you are slouching and alerts you. If that’s not on-the-job training then I don’t know what is. There are several other similar applications, including “The Body Level” and “PosturePad”. I also think that having “something in her air” is to do with confidence, so I’m going to chuck the “Self Confidence Hypnosis Program” (or similar) into our ‘Accomplished’ toolbox, although I haven’t had to try that out (so if you do let me know!). I am also going to suggest one of the many pedometers (some, like iStride Lite, even keep an eye on your speed of walking) as there is a lot of importance, apparently, in the speed and length of your stride.
Tone of voice: If you haven’t got this one down after the ‘singing’ skill, then now is the time to concentrate. There are many recording devices (one comes inbuilt, but I suggest “iTalk Lite”) so you can listen to your voice back and note any problems in tone and pitch. You can then seek to rectify these using a simple app such as “iNoteTrainer” from Pokmis. “NoteTutor” can also help. “ClearTune – Chromatic Tuner” also looks like a great way to get that tone in check, it is a “chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe”, your voice is, afterall, just an instrument.
Addresses and expressions: This comes under the ‘etiquette’ barrier. The app “Etiquette” from IndiaNIC Infocom Limited says that is helps you with Right Speech ‘Know how to say the right thing at the right time’ and ‘Know the guidelines of correct and courteous behaviour’. “Etiquette by Emily Post (BTN)” from BTN, includes instructions such as “The word “present” is preferable on formal occassions to the word “introduce”. On informal…” etc.
Reading extensively: This is one of the reasons I have the iPhone. Access to hundreds of books in seconds. The ‘Kindle’ app comes with a load of free books, as does ‘Stanza’. You can also get most of the classics such as Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and even Austen herself. BeamItDownSoftware is fantastic to use, and I definitely recommend it for individual reads. To really increase your knowledge, for when those witty bantering moments rear their heads, try getting any one of the literature quizzes from Quizicals. ‘101 Classic Novels’ will only set you back just over a dollar, plus you can even get ‘audiobooks’ apps for if you really don’t want to read them all, although this can be a bit more on the pricey side for something of good quality and nice expression (although if you choose apps with a human synthesizer, rather than an actual voice, such as: ‘Top100Audiobooks Free’ it obviously drops the cost).
Masterly manner with the piano: I never thought I’d see the day, but ‘FingerLite’ (which sounds dodgy but totally isn’t) is a fantastic free application that uses the same premise as Guitar hero… but with a piano. It’s easy, great fun, and you learn very quickly (if you’re familar with Synthesia, then this is exactly like that). It comes with classics, including Fur Elise, and is very soothing to play. For the more advanced there is always ‘Etude ~ sheet music on steroids’ that is of a similar idea but uses the sheet music above the piano. Then there is even Sam Williams’ ‘Sheet Music’ which, if you have your own instrument, is invaluable for practicing with. ‘Piano Legend’ by Pokmis looks good, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the 5 dollars they want you to pay.
So there you have it- how to master all those womenly accomplisments using your iPhone. And really, I’d rather do that then spend hours moping around making curtains.