What does it mean to "ladylike"?
I guess we all know that the term was used to describe the bearing and manners of a woman of high social rank back in the 1700-1800s. But today does it still apply? Do we still strive to carry ourselves this way? Has our new casualness and gender neutrality rendered it archaic? Do men still look for it or just notice it as quaint or fake?
In an informal poll these were some of the words used in association with Lady-likeness:
Classy, Mannerly, Feminine, Graceful, Confident, Elegant, Kindly, Socially Acceptable, Poised, Modest, Discrete, Proper, Restrained, Gentle, Stylish, Charming, Deferential, Dainty, Tender, and Nurturing.
I would have to agree that all of these words describe a facet of the "ladylike" woman I want to be.
I can remember my mother teaching me about it. I was probably a terrible challenge to her regarding how to sit, how to walk, how to show respect, how to dress for various occasions, etiquette, and general feminine graces. I remember being told it was disgracefully forward to ride in a car full of boys or worse yet to call them on the phone. (Smile) To this day I can't leave home guilt free with no lipstick on, or with scuffs on my heels. And heaven forbid I would have a handbag that did not match my shoes! Wearing panyhose and a slip was the law! I would die of embarrassment if I burped aloud in public. I'd never discuss feminine issues with males if I could help it and if not, I'd blush. Today, thanks to very chivalrous men in my life, I rarely if ever open a door for myself. I love caring for my home, I love pretty clothes, I cry at sad movies, and I enjoy being protected and provided for. Thanks to the nurture of a great Mom, I can carry myself with ladylike poise and I'm confident enough to be myself. Thanks to a Godly, manly man, I know what it's like to be cherished and treated like a lady. But I believe being a lady is so much more than these superficial things.
Such pretty posture. What man would want to besmirch her?
Being a lady is embracing your female-ness. It's loving God's design for us to be helpers, nurturers and lovers. It's delighting in experiencing the male-ness of gentlemen. When we behave like ladies, we create gentlemen. They respect us, cherish us, protect us, and lead us. Do you wish the men or boys you are around were more chivalrous or tender or attentive? Do you want to be respected? Do you want to be irresistible, lovable, and valued to men? Be a lady. Men don't need a doormat, or a weakling, a princess, or a high-maintenance Diva. But they do need to be reminded what they're fighting for. What better way to point that out than to openly display a woman's heart, form, and function.
Be powerful, driven to excellence, and fastideous. But be a lady and remember the qualities that God deems precious.