How to be a Lady: “I’m a Lady, Goddamnit!”

How to be a ladyI remember hearing my mom talking about how I first learned how to be a lady, and this happened when I was a wee little 3 year old. (Lady, incidentally, was the name of the Doberman next door.) Well, my mom’s friend invited my mom and I to an expensive restaurant for brunch. I, being three years old at the time, decided that eating utensils were not necessary for my food (which was soup), and then made a stink about the menu.

“Ossiana, please, act like a lady!” said my mom’s friend.

So I did. I got up on the table, sat on all fours, and started barking furiously at her. I could only imagine what kind of thoughts were going through that poor old woman’s head…But still, this did teach me a very important lesson that I carried with me through the rest of my life – “Lady is in the eyes of the beholder.”

To be honest, I don’t really know what makes a true lady. I have seen and read about characters who I believe are true ladies, but the fact is that a lot of society wouldn’t agree with me. These women I consider “ladies” include Xena (as in the Warrior Princess), Liz Renay (author of “My First 2,000 Men”), and Lil’ Kim (of rap fame). Each one of these women are ladies because they carry themselves with a certain pride and confidence, as well as a mysterious air about them that makes them irresistable to fans. They are women who spat in the face of what society expects of a girl to be, and they also managed to do very well for themselves. They are independent, they are able to handle themselves around men, and they are also incredibly smart. You cannot be successful without being smart and hardworking – and let’s face it, these ladies excelled in what they did.

But then again, aggressive and overtly sexual behavior are never considered quite ladylike.  Nor was swearing, and I’m pretty sure that at least one of my ideal ladies curses people out on the regular. Still, they are women who I find to be ladylike, because ladies should pack a punch. Ladies should not have to curb their behavior, their bite, and their zest for life because society dictates it to be the way “women are supposed to be.”

Which, oddly enough, makes issues like the New Jersey school that banned girls from cussing while leaving boys free to let the f-bombs drop completely infuriating to me.

Haven’t heard about that? Oh, well, long story short, a Catholic school called the Queen Of Peace decided that girls should not be allowed to swear, but gave boys a free pass. The entire reasoning behind this asinine rule is because they believe “ladies need to act like ladies.” So, wait, if we are going to go with this Victorian standard of manners, why shouldn’t gentlemen behave like gentlemen? Does a penis give people the right to curse? Why is it that a man can curse and still be a gentleman in these imbeciles’ eyes while a woman who swears once stops being a lady?

All I know is what I respect in a real lady. A real lady doesn’t mince words, nor does she back down in the face of adversity. She is strong, and she can handle her own in ways that most people cannot. She is successful in her own right, and she doesn’t sacrifice her true essence because society expects her to. A true lady is confident in her sexuality, and doesn’t let others dictate what she can and can not do simply because she is female. I’m a lady, goddamnit, and there needs to be more of us around.

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About the Author

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a professional author who has ghostwritten over 10 books in her lifetime. When she isn't typing furiously at a keyboard, she is modeling, adventuring, or just making a mess of things.