On being a lady, with apologies to gentlemen.

“I often wonder if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would feel challenged to be gentlemen.” 

A few months ago, I was chatting with a few of my high school girls about gentlemen and chivalry before a rehearsal. One of them said something like this, “Oh so-and-so is dating so-and-so now. That means he’ll be much more of a gentleman when they break up. She trains them well.” From what I understand, this girl won’t open a door if a guy is around. She expects him to do it and waits until he does. I don’t know exactly how I feel about that–on the surface, it seems a little pretentious. However, if I don’t give a guy a chance to be a gentleman, I’m certainly not being a lady.

Chivalry still lives, but are girls killing it by not being ladylike?

A moment that has defined my life of being a lady took place in Mexico on a missions trip in 1995. The Mexican sun was hot as blazes. The sweaty, 7 year-old me in a striped dress and sandals was getting ready to jump out of a huge white van onto the dusty road. (I know it sounds sketch.) As I prepared to leap out of the van, a gentleman from our church offered his hand to help me down. Bless my little feminist heart, I refused his help. I can vividly recall my mother sitting in the van saying something to the effect of, “Sarah, you always accept a gentleman’s help.”

Unfortunately, it’s taken me a long time to apply that pearl of wisdom from my mother. I can think of numerous occasions when I haven’t been ladylike, which I’m sure only discourages gentlemen.

So, to the gentleman who offered me his jacket while I was shivering in the freezing rain: thank you–even though I was rude and didn’t wear it.

To the gentleman who offered to help me up off the floor: thank you–even though I refused your help.

To the gentleman who offered the last chair to me: thank you–even though I insisted on standing.

To the gentleman who offered to buy my drink: thank you–even though I wasn’t thirsty and didn’t order anything.

To the little gentleman who offered to carry my bags: thank you–even though I insisted on carrying all 4 of them myself.

To the gentleman who tried to walk me to the door: thank you–even though I kept running away and rushed inside.

To the gentleman who opened the car door: props to you–even though I made it incredibly awkward.

To the gentleman who walked on the street side of the sidewalk: thanks for risking your life–even though I didn’t look at it that way at the time.

To the gentleman who pumped my gas: thank you–that’s an area in which I’ve never had a problem being ladylike.

To the gentleman who let me go first when we were the only ones in line: thank you. I’m learning to be a gracious recipient slowly but surely.

To every gentleman who has ever held a door for me: thanks. This is one of the easiest acts of kindness you can show, but it scores very big points in my book. My apologies if I’ve ever complicated this situation for you. (If you need a little guidance on how to open doors for women, there is an excellent post found here.)

Though our conversation that day at rehearsal was brief, those high school girls and I all resolved to be more ladylike. I can only hope that I haven’t scarred all of you gentlemen for life and made you give up on being courteous and considerate. Your chivalry doesn’t go unnoticed and it is certainly not unappreciated. Please accept my sincere apologies. I hope you will offer this unmannerly girl a second chance as I promise to let you be a gentleman and express my appreciation for you doing so.

“As long as ladies in society exist who are considerate and kind toward gentlemen, gentlemen will always exist.”
{from network of enlightened women}

“A gracious woman gets honor.”
{Proverbs 11:16

*{Most of these pictures were found on Pinterest.}
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