Ladies and Gentlemen!
Do you understand the definition of these two words? What is a lady? What is a gentleman?
The origin of these terms have changed greatly over the centuries, yet one still remains the same. The word/term “Lady”, in today’s use, is essentially a woman who is “refined, polite and well-spoken” regardless of her social stature.
The same generally goes for the word/term “Gentleman”, which is considered a man who is “a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man”.
So, why do I bring this up? Well, it seems that these terms and definitions have more recently been lost in our society. Many of the Generation Xer’s and Millennial’s have no idea what the true meaning of being a lady or gentleman mean or most certainly, how to behave as one.
It’s true that these days the terms often merely describe gender. A lady is simply a woman and a gentleman just a man. Believe me friends; I’ve known many a woman or man who is neither lady nor gentleman. I’m also very sad to say there have been times when I have acted less of a lady myself.
So, let’s break this down, shall we?
Gentlemen: I recently came across a very helpful website focusing on what it means to be a gentleman, called Real Men, Real Style. It’s run by a former Marine Captain with an MBA, wife and four children, Antonio Centeno. The Gentleman’s Gazette interviewed Mr. Centeno who essentially believes, and I’m paraphrasing, that a gentleman’s appearance sincerely matters.
Think about this for a minute. Why would you believe that a gentleman’s appearance matters so much? Here’s my thoughts; I believe quite simply that when you look good you feel good, therefore you will also be treating other people as good as you feel. This thought goes for ladies as well.
So, what about the ladies?
Ladies: There is also a website directed at being a lady called, The Elegant Woman owned and operated by Eunice Leong. Mrs. Leong has no specific, special training that I was able to research, but always felt as if she was meant to be and help other women be elegant ladies. I believe she’s doing an amazing job!
There are many websites and books in print that will help describe how to be a lady or a gentleman in these modern times. I wish more people, especially young people, would take the time to learn the simple art of making other people feel comfortable. In truth, that is all a gentleman or lady is; someone who has the decency and respect for themselves and others in order to purposely provide a comfortable environment.
So, here’s my own thoughts on being a lady or a gentleman regardless of which gender you identify with:
- Always be polite.
- If you like something someone is wearing or how they’ve styled their hair, etc., be sincere with your compliments.
- Be kind to others in spite of their indifference, obtrusiveness, irreverence, hostility, etc. Sometimes people act out in derision due to pain or fear. Being kind will usually help the offending party to relax in your presence and feel relieved or even grateful.
- Be modest. Remember the old saying, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free”? Well, that saying is very true. It also shows others how you respect yourself.
- Address strangers formally. Those who bite back with, “Don’t call me sir/ma’am” are merely showing their own lack of self-worth and rebelliousness toward authority.
- Do not presume that the opposite sex (or even same sex) appreciates forwardness on your part when trying to strike up a friendship/relationship. Always be respectful.
- Don’t interrupt.
- Say sorry, excuse me, please and thank you.
- Be truthful, but not offensive.
- Be courteous.
- Be punctual.
- When in a public or group setting (especially around children) curb the cursing.
I could go on and on, but I assume you get the picture. All of the above are some of the finer points of being a Lady or a Gentleman.
Believe it or not, I actually attended Charm School as a young teenager, but I also learned most of the above references from none other than my parents and grandparents; oh, and Dear Abby of course!
Do I always follow my own advice? Well, I do my best, but I am not perfect. There have been times in my life where I’ve forgotten myself and acted a fool, which only hurt me more than others.
Parents and grandparents; please do all you can to teach your children how to be ladies and gentlemen. It’s never old fashioned to be courteous and it will help your children go so much farther in life.