Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm Still A Lady

When exactly did it become O.K. for us women to not be treated like a LADY? When did we let that part of us go?

I know in my lifetime that there was a push for equal rights. I do believe that if you do the same exact job, you should be paid the same exact wage. But did we carry it a little too far?

All of a sudden, my friends started opening their own doors, pulling out their own chairs, and even started paying for “a date.” When I asked them about all these new behaviors, they would flippantly reply, “I don’t need a man to do anything for me. I can do it for myself.”

I found myself falling into the trap that other women had set for me. I wasn’t raised that way, but here I was doing the same things they were. When I went out, I paid for my “own”. Dutch was the new and improved trend.

I found myself opening doors with my hands full. Clenching the mail in my teeth, while caring in groceries and trying to unlock my door. Yhep, I was WOMAN! Hear me roar!

When I started dating my Ex-husband this all somehow would start to change. I remember the first time we stopped somewhere and I went to open my door. My Ex smiled, and said in a gentle voice, “You know that door will open by itself if you give me a minute.”

WOW! It was the first time I had ever been told that. I noticed he was different. He did everything that I had been raised that a gentleman would do. I just didn’t know they were still out there.

When I asked him about “this behavior”, he shook his head, eyes sparkling and stated, “When I was growing up, my Mom told me that I didn’t have a lot of money, I wasn’t good looking, so I had better learn to charm the ladies.”

To my surprise, it was working. Of course his comment brought a heartfelt laugh, and I found myself replying, “To me you are Prince Charming.”

There it where I left it. Didn’t think anymore about it, that was just the way it was.

As our children grew older, we both instructed them how they should treat others. It was also important to us to teach them how they should expect to be treated.

We had 4 Kings and 1 Queen and instructed them in the art of the “old ways.” I never thought about why we were teaching these values. It simply was.

(Apparently since he is an EX, he wasn't my Prince Charming.)

Now that I am once again single, with three children out of the home, I started noticing the influence we had made. I really noticed it when my son was 15 and started dating his girlfriend.

I sat back and watched in amazement at how he treated her. When we would go to pick her up, he would always walk to the door, knock and wait for her. (Even though she lived 5 blocks away and a phone call was made to say, “We’re on our way!”)

If she was carrying anything he would smile, gently take the items and carry them for her. He would then open the car door, help her get in the car, then close the door behind her.

When we arrived at our home (quick as a wink) he would jump out of the car, move around to her side, open the door, extend his hand, and helped her out. He then moved to my door and would do the same for me.

If she was bringing an item to our home, he would then retrieve it and make his way to our house door. There he would open the door and hold it while we both made our way inside. Once inside he would ask his girlfriend where she would like the item and joyfully take the item to the requested spot.

Talk about being a proud parent…I was! But why was I so proud? Was it the fact that he was doing as he had been taught to do? I stopped for a moment and thought about it.

It wasn’t the fact that he was doing as he had been raised; but that he was showing his girlfriend RESPECT.

Yes I said it…respect. He was appreciating her for the young woman she was. Or better yet, the young lady she is.

I started looking at my own life. The guys I dated didn’t have a clue. I knew I was a lady (and we all are) but I wasn’t allowing myself to be treated as one. I wasn’t making any man respect me.

I expected my children to act one way, yet I wasn’t setting that example. It wasn’t about “women’s liberation” it was about allowing other to appreciate me.

When the boys and I would go to the store, I didn’t take the items out to the car. I didn’t place them in the car. The boys did it all. And somehow my door would always be open, ready for me to get inside, then gently shut.

When we arrived home, my door would open and I would be helped out. I would open our house door, and the boys would carry all the items inside. I would await the items and then put them away.

I was allowing my boys to give to me. It made them feel good to “take care of their mother” and I was allowing them to feel good about themselves. I was allowing them to appreciate me, respect me and in a strange way allowing them to demonstrate their love.

Why wasn’t I doing this in my dating life? Didn’t I feel worth it? Did I feel silly expecting a man to do anything for me? Why was I being a yellow belled sap sucker in that area of my life? Was I scared if I demanded that respect that I would never see him after the first date? Didn’t I deserve the best someone had to offer?

I started making changes. I AM A LADY! I want and deserve to be treated as such.

I expect now to be treated as I have raised my children. I want to appreciate what a man has to offer, and receive it as the gift it is.

The man I am currently dating, was a man “who didn’t have a clue” at the beginning of the romance. Once he witnessed how my boys treat me… he started to get the picture.

Thinking back on our first date, he came to the door (I wouldn’t have gone out if he had honked his car horn.) and since it was summer, I grabbed my purse and we headed for the car. He naturally went to his side of the car, but saw me standing outside of mine. He got the picture and swept around the car to open my door. (I admit, I giggled on the inside. I was wondering if he was thinking, “What have I got myself into here?)

The months have passed and we both keep growing. Gone are the days of “Dutch” for me. Gone are the feelings of “having to do it all.” I have come to appreciate a gesture. No matter how small it may be. I have opened myself up to receive and appreciate.

So just in case you’re wondering…how far do I take this? ALL THE WAY!

1 comment:

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