Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Is "Lady-Like"?

 Checking APOC mail in my inbox, I found a note from a young lady requesting help on knowing what "becoming a lady"is.  Here is what she said:
Dear A Pinch Of Classy,
After about a year of struggling with it and living on the border, I've decided it's time for me to become a lady. What do you suppose that entails? I've worn skirts for a long time, and my casual is the same as my Sunday clothes, so my dress style I don't think needs to change. For me, it has so far meant running up stairs one step at a time as opposed to two, and not wrestling with my brothers (though I still race them). I think I'm missing something, though. If you would please pray about it and post a reply, I'd be most appreciative. I'll pray about it too.
Sincerely, A New-found Lady  
Well, New-Found Lady, first of all, that is an excellent question!  I am glad to hear you want to become a lady and want to know how to carry yourself like one.
For centuries women have strived to be "lady-like".  Only until the last 50 years in particular has this striving deteriorated greatly from society. 
Whenever I hear the term lady-like, I tend to automatically associate it with being classy, and possessing a sense of modesty. I think these three go hand in hand with each other perfectly.
So what does it mean to be a "lady?" What does it mean to be "lady-like?"
The 1828 Webster's dictionary describes the word lady in this manner.
LA'DY, n. "A woman of distinction. Originally, the title of lady was given to the daughters of earls and others in higher rank, but by custom, the title belongs to any woman of genteel education."
LA'DY-LIKE, a. "Like a lady in manners; genteel; well-bred."
What does genteel mean? From the same 1828 Webster's dictionary:
GENTEE'L, a. 1. "Polite; well-bred; easy and graceful in manners or behavior..." 2., "Graceful in mein or form; elegant..." 3. "Decorous; refined; free from anything low or vulgar..."
I think genteel sums up "lady-like" pretty well.  A true lady is in essence, a true woman. Feminine, graceful, never given to partaking in anything crass, crude or vulgar.  Refined. Thoughtful of others.
You asked how one can become a lady, and what this entails.
I am speaking from my own personal opinion when I say that being lady-like is far more than just carrying yourself like a queen and never laughing at rude jokes.
You said that you have worn skirts for a long time and don't think your outfit choices are what need changing.
Quite honestly, I personally do not believe skirts automatically define you as a lady. I have seen young women who wear long skirts and act like childish little girls instead of true ladies. I have been one of those young women, myself. 
 If you would like to become a lady than you need not focus overly on your clothes because that is not the core of what being a lady is. Yes, your choice of apparel has everything to do with the topic, but it is not what is most important.
And for the record, I think pants (as long as they are modest) are totally fine and that you can still be a lady in pants. (Even though I have always felt classier and more lady-like in skirts and dresses, personally.)
 You also said that "For me, it has so far meant running up stairs one step at a time as opposed to two, and not wrestling with my brothers (though I still race them)."
As a sister to 4 younger brothers, I can completely relate with you here. *smiles* In fact, a couple months ago even I wrestled with the eldest one who is 13. I used to wrestle and fight him pretty frequently, but now I have generally stopped wrestling with Will because, obviously, it isn't very appropriate given the ages we are both at currently, with him going through puberty, especially.
However, we still box sometimes and chase each other around the house doing poke wars.

I don't think that being lady-like means you can't ever do anything physical. Actually I greatly detest that line of thinking because...well, honestly, it's no fun! If you are still in your childhood/teen hood/in a situation where you can still run around with your siblings, than I would highly suggest you take advantage of it while it's still there. It is a gift, and as you grow up, it will eventually be gone.

Now, when I jump on the trampoline with my brothers, I make sure that I wear something adequate. Pants and a shirt which don't fly up revealingly, or a skirt with something underneath it. When I run, I follow the same rule. (You can get other ideas for what to wear while doing these kind of activities here)

So, in conclusion to whether or not you should run two steps at a time down the stairs or wrestle with your brothers, and how this affects your being a lady; I would say that depending on you and your brothers' ages, the wrestling probably isn't very lady-like. If you are in your early teens, or your brothers are much younger than you, than it might be alright. (Depending on what you wear and how rough you get!) But if you are like me, a 17 year old girl, and your brother is like mine, entering puberty, I would advise against it.

The stairs-issue? I'll admit that I still do the double-step thing sometimes. ;) Once again it totally depends on where you are and who you're with, as well as what you're wearing.

Being a lady can range from how you sit on the couch to how you walk, and how you carry a conversation. It really goes hand in hand, as I said earlier, with being modest and classy.

Want to act like a lady? Never do anything you wouldn't think is appropriate or becoming for someone your age and gender. Hold your head highly but don't look down your nose at people.
Stand up straight, and don't slouch. I have been told that I looked regal when I did this. (Even though obviously I don't do things just to be told I looked 'regal'!)

Ladies speak with purpose and clarity.

Ladies think of others before themselves, and strive to be selfless and generous with their time, possessions and abilities.

These are just a few things which I believe come with being a lady. As I said, it is a very subjective matter. While there are certain absolutes, e.g., ladies never flirt or wear clothing which flaunts their bodies, ssometimes, what might be good for one person is totally wrong for another, and vice versa.

My mother is a true lady. I have learned so much from her, and I'm sure you can probably do the same with your own mother or even grandmother. Look around you for examples of being truly-ladylike.

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask! I hope this helped you and was encouraging to you. I would definitely suggest to continue praying about it.

I pray constantly that God would help me to flourish into a Godly, on-fire-for-Him woman. A real woman. I think this is a very important thing to strive for, even far above being "lady-like", because lady-like is more of a surface issue and being a Godly woman is more internal, a matter of the heart.

Hope you're having a blessed day!


  1. Great post, Leah. Do you have a 1828 Webster's dictionary?

  2. Hey Leah! I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award on my blog! Check it out!


  3. Thank you. Though you have added more questions with your answers, I appreciate it. It makes me think more. Still struggling, but still trying, New-Found Lady.

    1. You're welcome. If you want to talk more about it just send me an e-mail. :)