24 Rules for Being a Lady in 2014
Very recently the clever minds at Thought Catalog wrote a piece called 24 Rules for Being a Gentleman in 2014. I know the art of being a gentleman is sort of a buzzy thing to talk about right now, and being a "lady" doesn't sound quite so cool, but that doesn't mean that it isn't. In fact, all those 24 rules for being a gentlemen match rules for women to be ladies, and they would make the world a better place.
A note on formatting: The "For Gentlemen" rules are direct quotes from the Thought Catalogue post, that you can read in its original context here.
1) The Drink:
For Gentlemen: Have a signature drink that you both can make at home after a long day’s work, and order with effortless swag at any bar you happen to be in.
For Ladies: The same! Personally I think it's endlessly attractive for a woman's signature drink to be a) simple and b) not wine or super sweet, but really, whatever makes you happy.
2) Social media:
For Gentlemen: Keep all negative social media activities to a minimum, because no gentleman engages in things like Twitter fights or passive-aggressive Facebook statuses. It’s just not classy.
For Ladies: Again, the same! Being a negative nelly on social media doesn't show the other person who wrong they are, it just makes you look petty. The only time to engage in someone's angry social media banter is to defend the helpless.
And let's just add "VagueBooking" to this one. VagueBooking is the act of writing vaguely negative Facebook statuses ("Sometimes everything is the worst) so that people pour affection on you. Not classy either.
For Gentlemen: Hold doors open for everyone, because that’s just a nice thing that you do.
For Ladies: More of the same. If you get to a door first, or are on the side of the handle, open it for whoever you're walking with, man or woman. It is just friendly. And if someone opens a door for you, thank them with a word and/or smile, and walk through it. You don't need to prove to them that you can open doors yourself, nor do you need to make a huge deal about the gesture.
For Gentlemen: Always text back promptly, even if it’s to let someone down gently. The worst thing you can possibly to do someone is leave them hanging so they can torture themselves with worst case scenarios.
For Ladies: Keep it coming. Not responding because your answer is no or because you don't want to deal with conflict is unkind. Let the person know your answer so you can both move forward.
5) The clothes.
For Gentlemen: Own and be able to sufficiently rock at least one suit. Suits are the greatest untapped resource that most men have access to, and can take even the most slovenly 4Chan dweller into slick presentability. You owe it to yourself to know your way around a suit.
For Ladies: Own and be able to sufficiently rock at least one Little Black Dress. I use the term "little black dress" lightly, because it need not be black, nor be too little. It should be, as the saying goes, tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to show you're a lady. Otherwise, what sets an LBD apart from other dresses is the fact that it elevates your look in an instant.
6) The handshake.
For Gentlemen: Master a good handshake, so that you are neither depositing your limp sea slug of a hand on someone else’s palm, nor crushing them with your Rock-Biter-from-the-Neverending-Story force.
For Ladies: Oh please, the same. The days of extending a limp hand to be grasped awkwardly around the fingers are thankfully gone. Show your confidence and capability in life with a firm handshake.
7) The Cat Call.
For Gentlemen: Never attempt to explain, under any circumstances, why a cat call should be considered a compliment.
For Ladies: Never engage with a cat caller. Yelling a crude response back might feel good but you're not actually teaching them a lesson and you're just looking kind of foolish in the process. On the flip side, encouraging them just encourages them. On the other flip side, cat calling men isn't lady-like either. If you appreciate a man's look, tell him with words, not sounds.
For Gentlemen: Do not be afraid of accessorizing, because a pair of nice shoes or a classy watch can Upgrade U almost immediately, as explained in the Beyoncé song.
For Ladies: Don't get too crazy with the accessories. If you're rocking a statement necklace, you don't need a statement bracelet and a statement pair of shoes. Or, if you're like me, feel free to throw on at least one accessory once and a while. It really does do wonders for your look.
For Gentlemen: Do not refer to things as “gay” that aren’t homosexual human beings. People who call things “gay” as a pejorative are truly the raisins in the trail mix of life.
For Ladies: I am so deeply saddened that this even needs to be mentioned. Of course you should follow suit on this one.
10) Putting down.
For Gentlemen: Do your best not to put others down in order to elevate yourself, it reeks of the people who categorize men by their Greek letter status.
For Ladies: Oh please, the same. There is nothing to be desired in being catty - by tearing down another woman, especially for her appearance or sexual choices, hurts us all. If you have a problem with something someone is doing, address the problem, not the person.
11) Call your mother.
For Gentlemen: Call your mother, even if you have to set up a Google calendar reminder to get yourself to do this.
For Ladies: Ditto. And hey, say hi to your Dad while you're at it. You might be surprised how much insight your Dad has to offer.
For Gentlemen: Know how to cook at least a few good meals, because a) there is nothing worse than guys who assume it’s up to the woman to do all the cooking, b) there is nothing sexier than a dude who can cook, and c) everyone deserves to feed themselves well.
For Ladies: Know how to cook at least a few good meals so that you can sufficiently feed yourself and others. Just because SJP used her oven for sweater storage in Sex and the City doesn't mean you have to. Being able to provide nutritious and tasty meals for yourself and your loved ones doesn't make you a barefoot and pregnant housewife, it makes you competent at life.
13) Eye contact.
For Gentlemen: Make good eye contact, but not so much that it gets into “I’ve been watching you from behind your dumpster” levels.
For Ladies: Make good eye contact. Period. The coy look-away is fine once and a while, but confidence can and should be a part of your arsenal.
For Gentlemen: Don’t corner people at house parties with your political views (and this goes double — nay, triple — for libertarians, as you guys are the most egregious culprits).
For Ladies: Ditto, but that doesn't mean you can't engage in an intelligent and open-minded political discussion, should one arise, so know what your views are and be open to hearing someone else's.
15) Name calling.
For Gentlemen: Erase the word “slut” from your vocabulary.
For Ladies: Double ditto. Triple ditto. Calling other women sluts, even as a fun pet name, is not classy nor does it help elevate respect for women in general. Calling men sluts might not have the same loaded effect as using the term on women, but it is still low on the "class" scale.
16) The opposite sex.
For Gentlemen: Treat every woman with the same amount of respect and humanity that you would your mother, sister, or daughter — and think about why there might have been conditions on how you treated them in the first place.
For Ladies: The same applies. Just because a man is not attractive to you doesn't mean he's a creep or a jerk. Treat him as you would want someone to treat your younger brother.
17) The RSVP.
For Gentlemen: RSVP.
For Ladies: RSVP.
Fun fact for all: RSVP stands for "respond s'il-vous-plait", not "let me know if you're coming and say nothing if you aren't or don't know". Let the host know your intentions, whatever they are.
For Gentlemen: Always put a little money away at the end of each month, and not because you’re saving for anything in particular.
For Ladies: Do that.
19) Who pays?
For Gentlemen: Be up-front about your finances, because it’s unfair for anyone to believe in the outdated gender roles of “the man should pay for everything.” As long as you’re working hard and trying your best, you deserve to be honest.
For Ladies: Don't expect the man to pay for everything, and don't fight back tooth and nail if he does try to pay. If he's paying, he's trying to make a gesture. It doesn't show him that you're independent if you force him to let you pay - it throws that gesture back in his face and makes him feel like a jerk. Of course, you should always offer to pay, and if he insists, thank him and offer to get the next one. Then actually follow through and get the next one.
20) The Sex.
For Gentlemen: Do not sleep with anyone who wants a relationship from you that you are not prepared to give. Using their affection to get something from them physically is easy, but it makes you a bad person.
For Ladies: We can be guilty of this too. Don't use your feminine wiles to get what you want from a man. Tempting him with sex (or using actual sex) to get a guy to do something for you is simply cruel. As is sleeping with him if he wants a relationship and you don't. As is using sex (withholding it or giving it) to get your way in an argument. This one is especially bad because it perpetuates the myth that women don't really want sex and that men want it all the time - both are hurtful.
For Gentlemen: Learn how to dance, at least a bit.
For Ladies: Learn how to dance for fun, not just for sex appeal. And learn how to follow on the off-chance you meet a man who knows how to lead for some proper partnered dancing.
For Gentlemen: Never underestimate the great value of unexpected flowers on a day that is otherwise nothing special, especially in long-term relationships.
For Ladies: You can give random little gifts in your relationship too. Flowers might not feel right, but maybe surprising your fellah with his gentlemanly drink, cigar, or cookie would be nice.
23) The Selfie.
For Gentlemen: Don’t be disdainful of selfies, guys have just as much a right to look and feel good about themselves as anyone else. If you want a selfie, take a selfie! Just don’t be a dick about other people who like to do it, too.
For Ladies: Don't be disdainful of selfies, even if you think the girl is "too young" or "just trying to show her cleavage" or "whatever else you are assuming about her motives for the selfie." If she is doing the things you assume, then she needs some extra love, not judgement. If you want to do a selfie with duck lips, go for it, with full awareness of what you're doing.
For Gentlemen: Be compassionate, and know that you are allowed to experience the full range of human emotion. Where the gentleman of our grandparents’ generation might have prided himself on keeping all of his feelings in check for fear of seeming ‘feminine,’ a real gentleman knows that the best thing about him is his ability to be kind and empathetic. Everything else — yes, even the suit — is just icing on the cake.
For Ladies: Be compassionate towards everyone, period. I feel like a lot of women these days think being kind of judgey, brash, and covering up their emotions makes them more hip, modern, and maybe even feminist. Remember, the assumptions you make about someone else's motives say something about you and your motives. Empathy is not old-fashioned, it's human.
BONUSES FOR THE LADIES:
25) Learn how to do at least one "taking care of the home" thing, from fixing your running toilet to properly drilling and hanging shelves on your wall. Self-sufficiency is empowering and sexy.
26) Don't accept drinks from people you aren't interested in. No, it's not a bonus free drink. The offer of a drink is the offer to get to know someone better, so if someone offers you a drink and you don't want to get to know them better, smile and say no thank you.