‘Being in power is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you are not’- Margaret Thatcher.
‘A lady is that which is a lady at all times.’ This sounds boring, I mean the thought of being prim and proper at all times. It’s like a regimented lifestyle. A lifestyle that originates from our colonial masters- the English. See what Heinrich Heine concluded about them;
‘From every Englishman emanates a kind of gas, the deadly choke-damp of boredom’.
George B. Shaw also added;
‘An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable’
But is it actually necessary as a lady to assume an afflictive position in order to show impeccable social grace? How then do you strike a balance- being socially appropriate without being such a drag? There need not be a contest here, they are not exactly two parallel lines. It is possible to be socially appropriate and interesting simultaneously. A lady, for instance is not uninteresting if she chooses not to use the F-word in conversation. A lady is not uninteresting if she decides against answering her phone calls in a business meeting.
Sometimes, however, a lady, in the words of a famous man, is a ‘prisoner’ of the passion of her purpose and this requires discipline – ‘self-imposed standards and restrictions motivated by a desire that is greater than the alternatives…’someone has aptly described it. Don’t get me wrong, you need not be so uptight- it’s okay to let your hair down. Take for example though, you are seated next to someone with a choking body odour. This could be pretty offensive, still, you shouldn’t go ahead to correct this aspect of your neighbour to his/her face (grin and bear it! Lol!). Did I hear you say ‘I’ll excuse myself and leave’? Well, just pray you are not in the middle of a business meeting, or worse still, seated next to the CEO of the company from which you hope to secure a million dollar contract! Like the above definition, you ‘restrict’ yourself (by bearing) motivated by a ‘desire’ which is the contract in this case. In a lady’s world, like in a gentleman’s, discretion is key! A vital aspect of having sound social manners is maintaining a graceful disposition in a lacking situation and this can be achieved effortlessly with self-possession and resilience.
This is not to say a lady should not speak up when the situation calls for it because there is a time to be verbal- oh yes! If you are self-respecting enough to join a queue and a ‘smart’ person comes along and ‘greets his way’ into the line, you may go, ‘Excuse me,…..blah blah blah’ without causing a scene. You can be verbal without being loud. There is no correlation between keeping quiet while an injustice is done to you and being a lady. It just doesn’t work like that. If it did, there will be no ladies in this part of the world, trust me. You’ll just be taken advantage of.
Part II comes up shortly- watch this space!