If you’ve ever taken a look at the ‘What is Timeless, Ladylike Beauty?’ page on this blog (just a few inches above where you’re reading right now), you see a very picturesque portrait of two gentleman helping a pretty lady out of a carriage. Go ahead… take a look. Sigh! I love that picture. It’s actually a close-up of a real picture that I got at an antique shop and now hangs in our guest bathroom. Why am I so drawn to it?
I know I might have a bit of a romantic spirit, but even beyond that, it’s this type of image that brings us back to the days where ladies were ladies, and men were… gentlemen. Now, picture how things are today. Quite a change, huh? What the heck happened in between?
I know there’s a ton of huge differences between those days and now, but the one I want to talk about is what has happened in the area of chivalry. Actually, technically speaking, chivalry, has to do with the ye olde knighthood days – horses, men-at-arms, etc. But the more modern association with that term has to do with men that are gallant and distinguished. Those terms still stretching a little far? How about nobility, integrity, and courtesy? Being honorable… considerate. These are the words I’m grasping for here.
Now, the whole theme of LadylikeIdeas is addressing part of the problem… The fact that we gals need to be ladylike in the first place, right? I mean what guy wants to attempt showing honor to an elbowing, crass, headstrong woman, only to be made to feel redundant, unneeded, and a hindrance? Might as well try to step in front of a moving train.
But, I must say, there are still many valiant and gracious men out there that are considerate to us ladies, even when it’s undeserved. Because they were raised that way. They do it because they are gentlemen, regardless as to whether or not the woman has become confused about the fact that she is, in fact, of the softer sex.
And another thing, (before I get to the ‘raising’ part), why in the WORLD would we ladies ever want to lose these niceties? Having a man always looking out for your best interest, like your daddy did, is an enormous blessing. Don’t ruin it! At least not for the rest of us! Yes, you can still be intelligent, have your own mind, and all that other stuff. But let yourself be taken care of like a lady. (A lady – not a spoiled, self-absorbed “yes-your-majesty” princess. Ick.) It is an innate part of the men to take care of us… they enjoy it! But please be sure to show your appreciation gals… no one wants to be a doormat.
So, how do we raise our boys to be this way? Well, the main thing, is that it must be modeled for them. Kind of hard to pick up on this in today’s world, though, isn’t it? So the modeling comes down to you, dads. (And grandfathers, uncles, etc.) Now sometimes the dad isn’t available or present though. So, in that case mom, you’ll be teaching this one. But it’s not that hard, honestly. Showing our boys even a few basics makes all the difference. And they can start this behavior at home on moms, sisters, grandmas, etc. They will be fantastic husbands because by then it will be second-nature!
Here’s a short list of gentlemanly acts-of-kindness to teach our boys, and I’m sure many of you out there have great ideas as well. Feel free to share them, please!
- Open the car door for the lady passenger(s), keeping it open until she’s settled, then close it behind her. If you’d like, you can also walk around and open it for her after you’ve reached your destination.
- Hold open any doors as you’re entering into a building/restaurant, etc. Keep standing there if more people follow through after your gal… the line of people won’t last forever, and most people will be touched. (And impressed if the door-holding-gentleman is one ’in training’!)
- Offer your chair to a standing lady in a waiting area if all the seating has been taken. This is especially true for pregnant or elderly women.
- Hold back the elevator doors while the ladies board. Do the same when everyone is getting off the elevator as well.
And as your son is getting a little older, he can try some of the following ideas:
- Ask if you can lend a helping hand to a gal that may be struggling with a heavy load. She might refuse it, which is ok. You also have to keep in mind that she wants to feel safe, and she doesn’t know you from the next guy in the parking lot.
- Use clean language when around the women folk. I know this might seem old-fashioned, but it still bothers my spirit when a man curses around me. (And it’s twice as bad when there are children present.)
- Kindly help your date by assisting her with her coat. (Younger boys can practice this on their sisters.)
- Pull out your date’s chair for her when you are being seated at a restaurant. Don’t sit down until she’s settled.
These are just a few ideas, but the point is that it starts our boys in their ‘protective’ thinking, and makes them start to realize and feel their role. I’m so thankful to all you men out there that have maintained this type of kindness. Believe me, it doesn’t go unnoticed. And for all of us that are raising the next generation…help the young men become gentlemen. They will make fine husbands, and the world will appreciate them.