Thursday, August 5, 2010

Girl Day

A friend of ours just had her first baby, happily all are well. Which reminded me our my first born's arrival. We were way too young, and I could read from the hospital window, a bus kiosk with the poster for a prenatal clinic who's tag line was " It's like being grounded for 18 years". I'll remember that moment forever.

Having a daughter was a wonderful experience especially for a guy who didn't have sisters. My mission in life, after our daughter's birth, was to raise no mouseburger. I wanted our daughter to know she could accomplish everything she set her mind to. I like to think I've been successful. I I've been blessed by her life.

Occasionally, I'll run across some bit of dross which reminds me of what a gift women are to a man's life. How the playing field isn't level, and never will be, in spite of our best efforts and wishes.

This is a current Nike ad, I first saw at the gym. It speaks volumes, quietly.

LPC of Privilege recently tackled the sticky wicket of what makes a lady, and I believe she scratched the veneer, but not the substance of her topic. Mayhaps, I misunderstood, and apologize to her in advance if I am wrong.

To my mind a "Lady" has nothing to do with position or net worth, and everything to do with personal integrity. A lady stands for something, proudly and unashamably. She is a beacon to all she comes into contact. She is a woman who values herself, her family and friends. She's honest in all her dealings, will accept no guff, and will not tolerate slip shod dealings from herself or others.

Her children are well mannered, know right from wrong, understand the consequences of bad behavior and live in dread of disappointing her.

She loves, from the bottom of her heart.

As I've matured I have come to realize what a civilizing influence women have on men's behavior. Thank you ladies for making this a better world.

Happy Birthday 7


Shelley said...

Nice post, Toad. Lovely of you to express your appreciation of the women in your life.

James said...

I hope you are not insulted, but you and I are a lot alike. This post says all that I feel. Well done

Suburban Princess said...

And this is why we need men. Observations from the inside are not always the easiest to convey - I read the comments on LPC's post and 20 or so women tried to define 'lady' but as you have proven again, it takes someone looking in to provide the best definition.

Mrs. Blandings said...

This is something to aspire to.

LPC said...

Toad, the world would be a noble and courageous place indeed, were your definition of lady to become common usage. I have not found it to be so. I hate to say this, but often women showing extraordinary personal integrity, if they do so in louder voices, wearing messy clothes, or cracking a risque joke or two, are often threatened with "You aren't a lady!", as a way to keep them quiet.

My post was an attempt to parse out "lady" from traditional gender stereotypes, and superficial class markers.

As I say, would that the world were full of Toads.

Suburban Princess said...

LPC - would we consider Betty Draper to be a lady?

LPC said...

Princess - I would not consider Betty to be a lady. Too inconsiderate of others. She doesn't work hard enough at doing a good job of what she's taken on in life, i.e. her children. She treats Carla rudely. Of course, she's had so much less choice, that I might not condemn her so strongly for the lack. Can't help but note it though.

Toad said...

LPC, obviously you are closer to the firing line than I but I discern a flaw in your defense. Fundamentally, we are in total agreement.

I question would anyone, of any consequence whatsoever, lead with a "you're no lady?" even as a crack? The true ladies of my experience would have set him straight in seconds, without raising their voice.

In my minds eye, I am picturing three women and how they would have dealt with such a comment whether made in private or a group and it wouldn't have been pretty.

My generation has lost the ability, and consequently the skills necessary to pass on, how to firmly put one in their place. It's a great loss to society at all levels.

LPC said...

Toad, yes, fundamentally we are in total agreement. I would say that few voice "You're no lady," out loud. But the hundreds of tiny signals saying the same thing can be brutal. No question that things are better now than 25 years ago, when a former boss told me, "Lisa, I didn't see you as having kids. I thought you were a career girl." (That's not quite the same as you are no lady, just in the same family of statements.) The comment on my blog, however, the one that provoked this post, was very recent. Brought back old and unpleasant memories.

With any luck I am shooting at old ghosts.

Suburban Princess said...

Mr Toad - very true...unfortunately much of society has also lost the ability to be put in one's place and take it with grace.

DocP said...

Toad, I agree with your definition. But women, at least of my age (same as Lisa), have had the (usually veiled) threat of being thought "not a lady" used to stifle ambition, creativity or any behavior perceived as being a bit uppity. The word "lady" is used by parents, grandparents, teachers and significant others as a blunt instrument to force conformity.

"Gentlewoman" doesn't have that baggage, but it probably has other class and wealth connotations that also limit its' use.

Toad said...

DocP, as much as the world has changed in the past 50 years let us hope this barrier is also breached.