Ladies and Gentlemen…

15 Dec

On Sunday 13th of November I vowed to begin a social experiment which would help me to understand the place of a ‘lady’ in our society today, whether real ‘ladies’ could exist in a world of equal rights and ladette type culture and also to see if behaving in a ‘lady-like’ manner attracted polite etiquette and manners from others. As I did this, I kept a daily diary which can be found at: http://thenotsobblackandwhite.com/diary-of-a-lady-in-training/ in order for both myself and others to track my progress, encounters and any lessons learnt.

I think it is fair to say that the person that this social experiment has been more successful for has been myself as I have managed to succeed in doing
something which I really thought was impossible for me to do. I also think it will be successful to those who read about my progress, men and women alike who can realise that it is okay to notice your flaws and to implement a positive change, as long as it is you that is noticing them and not others forcing you to make that change.

 As you will read in many of my posts I tend to hold an extremely pessimistic view of the society that surrounds us as I feel it has slowly regressed into a revolting and offensive world rather than progressed into a world where learning from mistakes has forced us to appreciate one another. Everyone is striving to be better than the other whether in studying, at work or even within families and a place that this is best exemplified is in the battle between gender roles (male and female).

Women appear to be in a constant fight to gain equality or even superiority but I have never quite understood why? Particularly as for most of them it tends to involve taking on male traits such as drinking beer and vast amounts of alcohol, sitting with their legs open, breaking wind loudly and rudely, swearing and even engaging in conversations of vulgar subject matter (although I would like to point out that not all men do hold these traits, gentlemen as an example, do not) but that is in no way showing equality or superiority, merely stupidity and an idiocy on their part because in taking on such behaviour they show lack of confidence in themselves, an absence of any self-respect and of course naivety. Is it any wonder, we are often thought of as the weaker sex?

During my journey as a ‘lady-in training’ I have often regressed myself, but it was moments such as these which sparked reminders of mannerisms of the person I once was, whilst it was nice to be comfortable it also made me realise that you learn to appreciate it more if you don’t engage in such behaviour all the time. Of course I also noticed moments where being a ‘lady’ really did not fit. For example; in the gym, when you’re feeling poorly or ill and of course in a nightclub where most people are so intoxicated they don’t know the difference between their left or right arm.

Marilyn Monroe in a Gym in Heels!At the gym was the only time that I wore trousers outside of the house but it also a time when I was going somewhere for myself and to be alone, therefore impressing anyone else or maintaining my presentation weren’t priorities. Of course I ensured that my manners were always present which I believe is one of the most important parts of being a lady. When being poorly or ill I once again wasn’t too concerned with my presentation but more with getting better but as long as you uphold manners and politeness (even if you are groggy) then I think lazing around in tracksuit bottoms is permissible.

The one I struggled with most was being out in a nightclub. Today, hedonism is a huge part of people’s lifestyle choices and going out and getting drunk appears to be what most people pursue at a weekend in order to feed this hedonism. However, I’m sure that once they wake up the following morning and have flashbacks of the previous night that they are not too happy. As you will see from that diary entry (9th December) I did struggle slightly with a lot of the sights that I saw. Young women in dresses so short that when they were that intoxicated and bent over or even fell over you could not only see their underwear but entire behind. Throughout the entire month I struggled with the absence of manners anyway but the fact that people could push or pull you about, spill their drink on you or even step on your toe without saying sorry was quite irritating. The fact that I am quite a confrontational person anyway didn’t help but I suppressed this irritation well and just carried on, it’s not quite like they would’ve realised what they’d done wrong if I confronted them about it anyway, or would even care. Which I think highlights one key problem with people today.  Surely they cannot be happy with the life they are living anyway if they are resorting to the abuse of a drug to completely change the person that they are.

One of the things I did mention in my initial article ‘Do Ladies Still Exist?’ http://thenotsobblackandwhite.com/2011/11/13/do-ladies-still-exist/ is that I hoped that adopting lady etiquette would attract people with similar thoughts or values. I must admit, this is quite impossible to do because it is hard to find anyone who actually behaves in such a manner. We all have our ‘off’ days, days when we’re in bad moods, days when we feel anti-social or what not, but it seemed that the majority of people I encountered were all having ‘off’ days. I encountered groups of men who thought it acceptable to swear profusely around other people, notably women, and who also felt it okay to talk about women in a degrading manner. I encountered people who did not seem to know the words ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ existed and I also encountered people who seemed to think that the way I dressed implied a need to be ogled.

 Dressing presentably is not the most important of things to address, however, I would recommend it as it does give you air of confidence and implies that you respect yourself enough to dress well and take care of yourself. Whilst I may have got odd looks at first because I appeared to stand out I found that they blended further and further into the background as time went on. The worst thing about dressing well was the ogling. MenIMG-20111126-01225 who think that they are in a position to objectify women. (NOT gentlemen) The fact was that I felt like I was the one making a fool out of them because little did they know I was dressing this way for myself.

Ladies can exist, and I am sure they still do, but it is extremely hard to maintain such etiquette when you are surrounded by a world that has no true values and a complete mix of priorities. There will always be a time where you are influenced by it. The truth is, I went to extreme lengths in order to be a ‘lady-in-training’ but all you actually need to do is:

1)      Ensure that you have manners and know how to maintain them.

2)      We live in a world where women have the ability to voice their opinions without fear of consequence therefore do it but ensure you do it tactfully and politely not aggressively and not in a masculine manner.

3)      Hold yourself well, don’t slouch, you will find that standing in a certain way can command respect as you will more often than not be giving off an air of self-respect.

4)      Drink alcohol and enjoy it, but don’t do it excessively. Losing your inhibitions may sound attractive but really you are reducing your self-worth.

5)      Don’t swear in public or around other people unless it is absolutely and entirely necessary. Stop and think about it. If you’re doing it to obtain respect it results in the opposite.

If you read through the above steps you will find that these can also apply to men and women alike and by implementing them you’re making a positive step toward making our society a progressive one rather than a regressive one.

We all have the capability to implement change to our lives without actually changing who we are, so why not start now? The New Year is a perfect time to become a new you in a new society.

It would be nice to actually live in a society of Ladies AND Gentlemen for once.

Signed: N, Lady

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