Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I like the term "gentleman" because I like the idea that being gentle is classy, distinguished, polished and polite. I believe the term "lady" refers to a person who understands how to behave gently, who is honest, has integrity and is very polite. Ladies are the counterparts of Gentlemen, right?

During the 70's, the Women's Movement taught us that there's honor in toughness, sharp edges, assertiveness and head-banging confrontations. In fact any behavior that a "lady" would never entertain was encouraged enthusiastically within the movement. At that moment in time, we had to abandon our manners for awhile, in order to bust through the glass ceiling of our cultural hierarchy. It was important and I'm really glad we did it.

Unfortunately, though, in the process of becoming empowered, we lost contact with the virtues of kindness, gentleness, softness and receptivity. To cultivate gentleness was to sell out to the man. To be called a lady was a heinous insult. Seriously, it was.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or, well, who knows why? But these days I so appreciate gentle behavior. My favorite massage therapist is persistent but gentle. My acupuncturist is focused - but gentle! I've even managed to cultivate a little bit of gentleness within my own being, something I intend to continue.

Every day I'm walking around in this beautiful, gentle, soft and sweet autumn in Washington DC, marvelling at the subtlety of the colors and shapes, and the pearly softness of the sky. The air itself is healing. The season is gentle and I am loving it!


Ulysses said...

I've been feeling I should respond with a picture -- there's an idea for Bloggernerds to get on.
This morning, I was being treated roughly by circumstance. A fog dropped in and invited me to hide. I couldn't of course, but I appreciated the thought.

Reya Mellicker said...

I loved the fog, too. It put soft edges around everything. Sweet!

You can't imagine how many times I've wanted to post a pic instead of a comment. It's only a matter of time before that technology will be created.

Lynne said...

Love, love, love the top photo! You are so lucky to have car reflections!

I don't think I'm a contender for being a lady although I am honest to a fault, polite, and I do have integrity. The rest ... well ... I can definitely have a hard edge. :p

Momentary Academic said...

I love the last photo. I've been thinking a lot about politeness lately. You've hit the nail on the head--as usual.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

That last photo is stunning! I'm right with you in what you say about the return of gentleness. It seems we've come to consider it a weakness - but it's not - it's a real strength. I'm constantly trying to cultivate my own gentleness, much of which was once knocked off by having to live the tough corporate life. But it comes back, I'm delighted to say.

deborah said...

funny story--back in the lady as wife of a lord and head of a feudal kingdom 70's--I lost my car in the multi-level parking lot of a client and explained to the man on the motorized tiny car taking me level to level seeking my car (who refered to me as a "lady") all of the above.

The explanation covered five or six levels of the parking lot and then my car was discovered.

The man who had helped me said, "So you want to be called a woman?" to which I responded in the afirmative and was so pleased. And then he said, "That's really interesting, tonight I'll go home and tell my wife, 'some dumb woman lost her car in the parking lot today.'"

Reya's current perspective hit me hard at that moment.

Reya Mellicker said...

Deborah your comment made me laugh out loud. The great part about that story is: the guy actually "got" it.

Awesome consciousness raising - I salute you! Wish I could find your blog, but your profile was not available.

Pod said...

i know exactly what you mean, in life, and during treatment. i strive to be gentle, but firm, and present. and of course, still. i love the gentlemanly way, and hark after the era when being a gentleman was taught.......for examlpe, when i helped you to put your luggage onto the big ship last century. remember?