On becoming ladylike

Ladylike or not  by CeliaSue Hecht

someone recently told me that

since I had cursed at him

(for good reason)

I was not being ladylike

who the hell wants to be

ladylike? I said

who the hell aspires to be


who the hell wants to behave

like a lady?

I have not wanted to become

ladylike since I was 14 years old

and even then

it was negotiable

acting ladylike wasn’t any fun

I could not climb trees

or play stoop ball

nor ringolevio

my tomboy self rebelled

against becoming ladylike

in any way

until I started liking boys

and thought I had to


and become a lady


acting dumb

and pretending to be weak

becoming ladylike

is code for becoming powerless

the girdles pinched

and the make-up

high heels and skirts

restricted my every movement

instantly I felt fat

some other girls

felt flat

each of us hated ourselves

for not being ladylike


in other words not being

attractive enough to boys

who only liked other girls

and models in magazines

we could never live up to

being ladylike enough

for those boys and men

we berated ourselves

with each and every flaw

counting our freckles

and doing damage to our

hair, faces and bodies

all in the name of

becoming ladies

no pain no gain

we mantra’d

we went on diets

and became bulimic

and anorexic

and exercised until we had

no more periods


until we became liberated

and threw away our bras

but even then in the back of our

minds, inside our heads

we still were never good and

ladylike enough

even after going to charm school

and reading Miss Manners

outwardly we spoke up

and raised our consciousness

but inside we continued to feel


ashamed because we were never

ladylike enough

mothers felt guilty and wrong for staying home

and for going outside the home to work

single women were ambivalent

about sex and getting married

divorce meant the whole world knew

that we were never going to be ladylike

enough EVER

being a lady means

keeping your legs together


wearing clean underwear

in case of a car accident or

what if you get hit by a bus?

controlling your mouth

no cursing nor telling dirty jokes allowed

no yelling or expressing your opinion

ladies, like children, should be seen and not heard

fists and bowels clenched

no belching, burping or passing wind

no vulgar displays of your sexuality

DO NOT dress like a slut

no sweat pants or crude lewd dresses

never lose your temper

or speak your truth to power

when out in public, know your place

inside and outside the home


being ladylike is related

to being a good little girl

who lives  her life seeking daddy’s approval

(and never attaining it)

while there is something to be said

for acting classy, elegant and polite

being ladylike can be a prison cell

here is a shocker:

Even Ladies like sex

so go forth and BE YOUR SELF


of what it means to be a Lady/woman

and forget about being ladylike

Move Over Barbie, Twinkies and Ho Hos…




About CeliaSue

Writer for Hire... CeliaSue Hecht has been published in more than 40 publications including top 100 newspapers and national magazines. She is a published travel writer and co-author of five romantic travel guides, originally from NYC, who has lived in Monterey, Burlingame (SF airport area) and Bodega Bay and will show you many local favorite hot spots, secret surprises and share insider's tips about writing travel stories along the way. She has taken a grand tour along the California coast to Ashland, Oregon with her wonder dog, Cici. Last summer, they went to Mendocino. She has traveled around the world and lived in Bangladesh, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Israel, Singapore and Thailand (as well as NYC, Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada).
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