From Ladette To Lady
For reasons that are too complicated to go into, by the time I hit the teen years I was a classic Aussie ladette. I was proud of it. I did a lot of sport in men's sports clubs. In some places, they never worked out that I was not one of them. I wielded my strength. I once socked a guy in the nose and broke it. I was a real heav. It helped me to feel not so vulnerable.
Over the years a transformation happened. That is not the purpose of this story i.e. to say how that transformation happened. Perhaps I will write another story some other time to try and explain.
For now, I want to say that thanks to the superb example of very refined and well mannered ladies I am, though still learning, at least able to be in their company without significant embarassment. I would like to share with you what they have taught me.
A lady does not lose control. If provoked, she doesn't use her fists, and if she needs to use her tongue a little, it is without raising her voice.
She respects her femininity. That was a hard one for me because femininity was so associated in my mind with weakness. Nowadays I realise that while a lady is gentle, graceful and feminine she is also strong, capable and resilient. And definitely not one to be messed around with.
I have already spoken about dress. The concept of ladylike dressing is almost completely lost in the present generation and it is high time that it was revived. The ladies I associate with are very strong on this. They rarely wear trousers. There is nothing in their attire that is low cut, see through or clingy. Their tops are high cut and have sleeves. Their appearance commands respect. I have never seen a properly dressed lady treated with discourtesy. And a real lady is not in the business of being lascivious in her dress. She sends out a message of identity and consideration.
A lady does not dominate the conversation but supplies when it is lacking. She is quick to praise and slow to condemn. She covers the fault of another as if it were her own blemish. She does not gossip. In her conversation she encourages, exhorts, inspires and consoles.
A lady is attentive to the needs of others, expecially within her family. She is happy to make sacrifices for them but she prioritizes her own needs too.
A lady is an accomplished and useful woman, well spoken and always increasing her learning.
She is never idle. Her hands are always busy and full, knitting, reading, writing, cooking or hugging. A lady's life is a full and productive one in which kindness, generosity and forbearance produce peace and happiness wherever she is.
Every day in my workplace I mix with refined and well mannered ladies. They look beautiful; their husbands are proud of them. They have children in their hands or are busy delivering acts of kindness. They are tremendously busy yet always have time for a kind and attentive word. They are a constant inspiration to me and this is a tribute to them.