Thursday, 6 December 2012

Learning to be Lady-like. 'Mann'erisms

Years ago, little girls were taught that certain mannerisms and expressions were unlady-like. Whistling was included in this category, as was eating in the street, shouting, chewing gum, saying 'okay', sitting with your legs crossed... There were so many that I can't list them all here. Many of these may seem rather petty to the modern mindset, and yet, if you look at them a certain way, they are connected to lady-likeness, (lack of)

They generally fit into two categories:

1. They are inconsiderate towards others

2. They come across as 'manly'

James Clark, "A bowl of cherries"
Flickr Sofi01
Consideration for others, is to me, the mark of a true 'Lady'.

But we are often unaware of those mannerisms and behaviours that belong in the second category. That is why many women appear 'manly' and have no idea of it.

Have you ever looked through your holiday snaps and been confronted by a picture of yourself that is embarrassingly unlady-like? I have. There is one in particular that I thought would look funny. I pretended to be pulling out a sword from a stone. The grimace in the photo was not funny at all, but ugly and masculine-looking. How I hated that picture! When we try to look cool, or witty, we very often come across as unlady-like.

I was reminded while writing this post of my dear Auntie Rene. She wasn't particularly pretty, or delicate. She wasn't witty or clever as far as I can remember. But she was gentle and kind and very content in her role, as home-maker in her little flat (apartment). When she was very old, her face was kind and soft and very feminine. Have you ever heard the phrase 'if the wind changes, you'll stay like that'? We were told that, as children, if we pulled silly faces. In a way I think it is true. If we spend our daily lives grimacing (inside and outside!), one day we will look in the mirror and our faces will reflect those mannerisms, expressions and thoughts.

So here are some challenges you might like to try

1. Think carefully about your mannerisms this week. Look through photographs or pictures on the internet of women and pay attention to their expressions. Are they feminine?

2. Choose one or two expressions or mannerisms that you would like to focus on, and work on them during the week. Although it can take two weeks to make a new habit - so maybe work on them for a fortnight.

3. Find a picture of a gentle and feminine Victorian lady and make it into a screen-saver, or place it somewhere prominent. Every time you see the picture, imagine that you are her. How would she behave in public, towards her family, towards others?

4. Surround yourself with the sort of beauty that you would like to see reflected in your face, like Auntie Rene. Fill your home with flowers, or  china bunnies, or home-baked goodies and things that you know will make the people around you feel loved and special and cheerful.

5. Look forward to seeing the sweet, feminine, gentle, Lady-like lady reflected back at you in the mirror.

Happy reflections, ladies


  1. Thank you, my sweet friend for this insightful post. I will be working on steps 1 - 5 :) Sometimes I am not aware of how I might look and I want to look feminine all the time! I hope you have a blessed day!

    Hugs to you,

  2. Dear Stephanie, I know that you are lady-like because you are sweet and kind to others x

  3. I am *so* loving this series, thank you for taking the time to post these.

    Truly, your blog is a treasure.....

  4. Thank you Mrs B. It is so encouraging to get your kind feedback.

    Hugs x

  5. These are so wonderful! I like your idea of working on one thing at a time, instead of overwhelming myself like I like to do. :)

    I always look forward to your posts, and come away refreshed.



  6. Thank-you Marqueta. I have done the same in the past - tried to work on everything at once. It's a quick route to feeling like a failure : )

    One thing at a time, and allowing the Holy Spirit to help us x

  7. My poor grandmother was such a lady and I was such a tomboy, lol! I followed after my older brothers everywhere and tried to do everything that they did, lol!

    My brother used to put me in dresses but I tore them everyday with my rough play. She finally put me in pants or shorts.

    But my parents trained us in manners and I remember that I hated waiting for my brothers to open the car door for me!

    1. I was a little tomboy too - I'm glad I'm not now though : )