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Friday, March 29, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

   "Well isn't today just beautiful?!" I couldn't help but asking myself as I walked to work this morning.  The sun is out (I think you'll notice a common trend that I happen to love it when the sun is out.), the trees are green, there's no snow, and it is just radiant outside today!  (Seriously. I forgot my sunglasses, and my eyes are secretly hating me for it.)  Today, my message for you is about not just love, but about life.  What exactly though?  (I know...ALL of my messages are about the same kind of thing ;) )  
Today I want to address the idea of being 
ladies and gentlemen.  

What does this even mean in our culture today?  Now think about that question for a minute.  Were you raised to be a lady or a gentleman?  I'm talking to you ladies out there, and asking...how do you think of yourself?  How do you think of the men in your life?  In our world today, there is evidence on top of evidence suggesting the loss of this concept.  Take a look at the article excerpt from Leonard Sax's "Ladies and Gentlemen, Skanks and Pimps."  (I'm sorry for those words...but it is the article title.)

     "The New York Times recently published a column by Lynn Messina, a regular contributor, in which she complained about her preschool teaching her 4-year-old son something about what it means to be a gentleman. Ms. Messina was upset that her preschool would dare to use the word “gentleman.” In Ms. Messina’s opinion, teaching girls and boys to be Ladies and Gentlemen is a “first lesson in sexism.” She admits that when she shares her concern with other parents, not all agree. “What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?” they ask. I would ask the same question. If you fail to teach little boys to respect little girls, some years later you are likely to have teenage boys who do not respect teenage girls."

    Apparently, we shouldn't even be teaching children about ladies and gentlemen! Let me ask, what happened to this ideal that used to be such a part of our society?  I was so saddened as I read this full article, that I made up my mind to write a post about it.  

     I was raised in a very traditional, religious, southern family.  That being said, I love everyone I meet, and I was also raised to never hold prejudices against ANYONE, regardless of color, sexual orientation, background, or political party. I want to make it plain though, that while I will never discriminate against those of homosexual orientation, I do not agree with, nor will ever support homosexuality.  I have had many friends who are gay or lesbian, and I have never loved them any less. I would like for you to bear this in mind, as I discuss my views on this Ladies and Gentlemen issue, since I will only refer to love and marriage in a traditional sense.  If that offends you, I am very sorry that it does, and I hope you will continue to read other blog posts that don't.  It is not my intention to offend, but I want it clear where I stand.  

     Growing up, my mother relentlessly enforced the ideals of being a "little lady," and "would a princess act that way?"  I can remember kicking my childhood best friend Christopher Stewart in his "man parts", and my mother about lost her marbles.  In addition to that, I was always splashing in the creek, coming home mud-streaked, and saying whatever was on my mind.  After each of these episodes (nearly every day) my mom would sit down with me, and discuss the importance of acting like a lady, and emphasizing that I could still have fun, but I needed to do it in the right time and place, and respect other ladies and gentlemen. 

     My mother taught me to say kind things, help others in need, and dress in an appropriate manner.  She taught me how to have tact, and hold my head up high, no matter how someone's biting words hurt. She taught me how to keep my composure, and how to act like a LADY. I have carried these principles with me as I have grown, and work to show others that today, I am the LADY she wanted me to be. Do you act like a lady?  

It's not just about femininity, it's about 
professionalism, tact and composure

     Now, with all of that in mind...now let me ask you my REAL question- do you LOOK for a GENTLEMAN?  If you already have a sweetheart, do you TREAT him like a GENTLEMAN?  This is our job as women.  We act like ladies, they treat us like ladies.  We find a gentleman, and we treat him as such.  How should a gentleman be treated though?  I'm not talking about doing the "make-me-a-sandwich" kind of things. Here's a list of questions to ask yourself, because as a LADY, it is my responsibility to treat my gentleman as such, and it's yours too.

1. Do you treat him with the same respect you would your father?

2. Do you allow him to act as a gentlemen?
     *Letting him open the door for you
     *Letting him pay
     *Letting him pull out your chair
3. Do you LET him protect you from harm?
4. Do you let him compliment you?
5. Do you try to "out-do" him? Stop.
6. Do you let him take care of you when you're sick or hurt?
7. Do you take his arm, and allow him to take the lead? (Not just in dancing)
8. Do you let him surprise you?
9. Do you make him feel love in return?

     If we fail to do these things as women, 
men will fail to treat us this way.  
Every girl wants to be treated like a lady, but we have to let our men do so.  There is nothing wrong with being a strong, independent woman, but if a man never feels as though he can be the gentleman, and take care of you, then why will he continue to try? A major portion of being a lady is allowing gentlemen to act AS GENTLEMEN.  I've seen dozens of Facebook statues, and Pinterest quotes, and news articles asking the SAME QUESTION: "What happened to good old fashioned gentlemen?"  Well women...I fear we have driven them away and forgotten their importance to us.  

    I challenge you (I will always have a challenge for you), be a lady, and allow your man to be a gentle one.  Let him do these things for you, and then allow him to feel loved in return. Do things for him, surprise him, THANK HIM, and most of all, let him know how loved he is.  

    Ask yourself if you act like a lady, with tact, composure, compassion and professionalism?  You don't have to sacrifice independence and originality for these things. In no way am I suggesting that we put back on 50 layers of skirts, and give up the right to vote. But I am telling you, it's OKAY to be a LADY.  It's about being respectful and respected in return; respected by the men we want to be GENTLEMEN.

    I know I can be better at being a lady, and letting Eric always be the gentleman.  He gets on me for it all the time!!  We can all be better.  So how will it be for you?  I'm holding myself accountable here.  I want to make sure that I can answer all of my own questions appropriately. 

    Think about it. Read up more on it if you want, and finish that article I posted.  Decide what is of value to you, and what isn't.  Most of all...be a lady, and let him be a gentleman.