I don’t know how many women of my generation were (and are) being told by their mothers to “act ladylike” or “be a lady”. I know my mother (and to a certain extent my father) were sure to tell me when I was not acting like a lady.
Do I consider myself a lady? I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t think so. But I’m a different brand of lady than my parents wanted me to be.
My brand of ladylike allows me to choose when I want to be feminine (fancy hair, make-up, pretty dresses, the whole shebang) and when I want to just be me. It also gives me the liberty to swear when and if I need to, but not excessively, because that’s just plain rude. It is about being polite, but not to the point of excess. I hold doors, offer to pay for dinner, and unlock car doors because it is nice thing to do, just a decent act between one human being and another; I also expect the people I am with to do the same things for me on occasion.
My mother trained me well on acts of courtesy. When someone I know well has a person close to them die, I will at least send them a card, and possibly a very personal gift. If someone sends me a gift, I send a thank you card as soon as I can. When someone writes me a letter or a kind email I try to write them back promptly, even if just to thank them for thinking of me. What else my mother has taught me will be the subject for another post.
Being a lady is equivalent to being a decent human being.