Act like a “lady”


“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” »Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Charm is deceit. ~King Solomon


She told her young daughter

Who was just starting elementary school

Be a lady

Don’t be loud

Don’t cause a commotion and have a tantrum

don’t get mad

Be shy

nice boys like shy girls (verbatim, for real)

As the daughter reached high school

More rules were added on

Dress nice (aka wear a dress)

Put on a little makeup

So people can stare and admire you

But the daughter liked her denim jeans and plain baggy tee shirts

She admired the tomboys

For what they could do

For what was allowed and encouraged

While she was subconsciously forced to play a role of dainty expectations.

The mother didn’t gave her daughter etiquette and ethics instructions

That was learned by the young girl growing up

By reading the advice and dilemma help columns in the newspaper

when the mother was out of the public eye, she did opposite the instructions given to her child

I’m married

I’m a mom

I’m “old”

Were explanations of her rationale

But still at social functions, she would lift her pinky daintily

While sipping from her cup

I wonder if she knows that’s a sign of pretentiousness

And demure delicacy it is NOT

Why the false modesty?

Why the posed smiles?

Why the slightly awkward sounding false laugh?

What hypocrisy is this?

It was nothing but lures and lies

To catch a future husband’s eyes

Maybe a rich one

If not, oh well, at least my social status gets raised

But you see…like attracts like

It’s a universal law

That funny and charming “gentleman”

Wanted only a pretty prize (sans gilded cage,

she needed to be a hard worker to take on the household and child rearing chores).

All this happened in the later part

Of the 20th century

After the second wave women’s lib of the 1960’s.

None of this above indoctrination

are what women are here for.