In this day and age the word lady arguably has many definitions.
Let’s put it this way, if you’re someone who complains, privately much less publicly, that women want to be independent yet have the door held open for them too, then, in my less-than-humble opinion, you should be automatically disqualified from having to even worry about how to treat a lady.
Hopefully she has someone else holding her hand on her meteoric rise up in the world—and also someone loving enough to want to hold the door for her.
Now, what about if you do have a lady in your life?
She’s someone who lets you know when she’s upset—yet she tries to be as tactful and graceful as possible while she’s putting you in your place—and if she does overstep these rather sensitive moral boundaries, then she always apologizes.
She’s mysterious and lively, intelligent and just plain fun—she’s many things, in fact.
This is a lady.
What exactly do you do with this sort of woman?
Never fear, this lady will give you a few pointers.
1. Keep your sense of humor—you’ll need it.
An emotionally mature woman is still allowed the occasional temper tantrum (in case you weren’t aware).
From time to time, she might go off about not being your housemaid—when, in reality, you know that it’syou who is doing much of the laundry.
She might also—only every now and then mind you—have another glass of wine that she didn’t really need, and her silly sense of humor might temporarily become a little overboard.
These situations, and many others, require a lady’s mate to have a great sense of humor.
Be someone that can laugh with her (never at her)—and also remember to use your own comedic timing to lighten her mood when she does get out of sorts.
2. Don’t pick on her (too much).
I understand that it must be some sort of natural inclination of men, starting around age seven when they discover that there are people without penises on the playground, to pick on ladies that they find interesting.
Be careful how much you pick on her, and know when it’s the right time.
Wrong moments include (but aren’t limited to) that time of the month, as well as anytime when she’s preparing for a holiday or important event that she’s nervous about, while she’s driving, or if she has had that aforementioned extra glass of wine.
It is acceptable, however, to be playful for shorter intervals. (I recommend short intervals, because then you can see how she handles it before you get stuck in an unfortunate situation that might possibly lead her into having to apologize later—although she will, because she is a lady.)
3. Don’t talk about other women.
You’d think that this wouldn’t be an issue, what with all the horror stories out there—yet it’s still an occurrence in some relationships.
Real ladies do not like you to make any reference to other women because, one: she likes having female friends and doesn’t like them to be unfavorably compared to her (which they should always be—keep this in mind); two: being a lady, of course, she has impeccable manners and doesn’t like unnecessary gossip and,three: should you be idiotic enough to actually bring up a scenario where another woman winds up the victor, well, let’s just say that she is officially not held accountable for her subsequent actions. But, more importantly, she also doesn’t like having her feelings hurt because inside all ladies there are tender little girls.
4. Hold the damn door.
Yes, I can understand that some men think that women nowadays want their cake so that they can eat it too. Let me tell you, this is absolutely true—and she also wants you to clean up the crumbs.
What’s wrong with that? She’s worth it and she knows it.
5. Be strong.
What a lady wants more than anything else in the world is a friend who knows her inside and out, loves her anyways, and then treats her with such an unconditional love.
If you want the same thing—a willing partner and an intellectual match—then, please, be strong enough to handle her.
She, no doubt, will try your patience—and she will want you to challenge hers in return. (Just so you’re aware—this is an unspoken rule.)
Do not let her win all the time because she will lose respect for you.
Learn how to delicately stand up to her when you know that she’s not seeing the bigger picture, and, for Godsakes, be able to tell her how you feel too. It will make her less likely to trample you—because a strong women will, without meaning to, sometimes make you feel bulldozed.
Part of being a lady is that she knows exactly who she is—so know who you are too.
If you’ve ever loved a real woman—someone with strength of character and softness of heart—then you’re more than aware that she is worth learning how to work with.
Don’t forget that her feminine complexities are what drew you to her in the first place.
While there are arguably many definitions for a lady—because, thankfully, no one woman is like another—I will assure you of this: they all want to be treated well.
“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde.
This article was previously published by elephant journal.