“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so decent, such regular chaps.
Ready to help you through any mishaps.
Ready to buck you up whenever you are glum.
Why can’t a woman be a chum?
Why is thinking something women never do?
Why is logic never even tried?
Straight’ning up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s inside?
Why can’t a woman behave like a man?”
-Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady
The whole idea of “womanhood” has been a dilemma for me. Perhaps this is because I find myself often on the male edge of thinking. Not logistically, of course- since “‘Brittany’ [Ahab] never thinks, she [he] just feels, feels, feels”- but I guess more on the desensitized, indelicate side of male thinking. I attribute this to my dear father and uncles, who, though I love them with every beating of my heart, have an amazing talent for making even the most crass and crude of commentary seem apropos for the moment. Whether it’s a talent, or just a lack of, what’s that word again? Oh yeah- tact- we may never know. But regardless, my being born with estrogenical phenotypes has done nothing to sway this brand of synapses from propagating in my female mind. And I welcome them! Because having that dad and those uncles and brothers who you’ve epitomized as the definition of humor, applaud your
humor, is the kind of compliment worth writing home about. This is all fine and dandy, but… I can’t help but feel like it is a sort of betrayal to the womanly virtues I’ve been granted, too. “What the world needs is a return to sweetness and decency…
” (-Princess Ann, Roman Holiday). What of tenderness, and grace, and eloquence?
In the last week, I’ve managed to prioritize six Audrey films into my schedule. If one were to paint the portrait of a lady, I would say that my beloved Ms. Hepburn is the epitome of what a lady should be. Some characteristics of Lady Aud that come to mind: class, eloquence, style, grace, serene sense of humor, kindness, concern for her fellow man. Audrey and all her essence are indeed the receivers of many an admiring eye, both male and female alike. No man can admit that she isn’t refreshingly and flawlessly lovely, and no woman cannot admire her. I doubt Audrey ever voiced a crass or harsh thought toward another living creature.
It would be absolutely divine to be able to effortlessly exude such poise and grace, but I just don’t think it’s in the stars for me. Channeling my inner Audrey- my inner lady- takes a conscious, strained effort… I would imagine it’s much like a paraplegic trying to walk. It’s not that I’m (totally) white trash or vulgar or anything. It’s just that I happen to love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia just as much as I love Pride and Prejudice. (Maybe not AS much… But I do quite enjoy it far more than any woman venturing to call herself a lady ever should.) I’ve decided my quest for 2011 is to acquiesce to my feminine proclivities and hone those propensities for the opposite with which I’ve seemingly been graced. In order to prepare for this quest, I have to consider those ladies who inspire me the most, both real and fictionary…
Carol Calhoun – Grandmother. Once described in my journal as, “possessing a formula of the tenderness and intelligence and wisdom and humor that makes for a perfect person. And she’s beautiful.” I can honestly say I’ve never heard one profane word exit her mouth. That might be the most inspiring thing of all.
Sabrina Fairchild – The charming little heroine of the movie, Sabrina. She handles her disappointments so gracefully and with such poise and fragile acceptance.
Anne Shirley – Maybe my most cherished literary heroine of all time… Her idealistic imagination and whimsical use of words are nothing short of inspiring to Yours Truly.
Chanin Warren – Aunt. She’s oh so sensible, classy, funny, and naturally beautiful. And has the most distinguished good taste out of any woman I know. Every visit to her home is like a luxury vacay at a four-star hotel. She is a charming and considerate hostess, an unsurpassed chef, and a kindred spirit. There is nothing about her that I don’t admire and whole-heartedly adore.
Charlotte York – Here’s where I admit to my Sex and the City crush. Though Carrie is my favorite, it is Charlotte who portrays the qualities I find most commendable. She wants “nice bedding” and to be a mother and despite being surrounded by three other women who are somewhat indelicate, she manages to maintain a delicate feminine quality that I find quite refreshing.
Amy Winehouse – jk.
Ariel Allen – BFF. Her heart is three times bigger than anyone’s I’ve ever met. She is selfless and giving. She is exquisitely lovely. She appreciates and protects the planet. She knows so many good words. She is funny and brave. I truly believe there is nothing she can’t do.
Fraulein Maria – Yes, thee musically-inclined-nun-turned-governess-turned-wifey of the delicious Captain von Trapp. She lived through music. She enriched lives. She created her own happiness.
Annie – The little ginger orphan. Always optimistic, was she. I mean, the dame had red hair and no parents, and she STILL opted for optimism: “The sun’ll come out, tomorrow…” You get it.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect woman. (Except for Audrey.) But as the new year is upon me, I feel that now is as good a time as any to labor for fine-tuning that perfect version of myself. My New Year’s Reso’s are usually foiled by the time March rolls around… But I’m a little more determined this year because this is something I’ve been musing about for awhile now; trying to figure out how to be true to who I inescapably am, yet still somehow capture the portrait of a lady in my being. In considering the character traits of the ladies listed above and in knowing my own poisons, I’ve come up with the following resolutions:
1. The over-arching, “umbrella” resolution: Ask myself,
“What would Audrey do (WWAD)?” and then… Do it. Or not do it. If she wouldn’t.
2. Actually USE all those words I love so much and have highlighted in my Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary (to which I refer even when I’m not wearing a vest… Yeah that’s right)INSTEAD of the choice words that sailors and I have in common.
4. Invite lovely things into my life… Music, literature, art, people, experiences, whatev will enrich my life.
5. Cherish virtue.
6. Be more tidy. Just because I’m the only one living my life doesn’t mean I don’t have to be inconsiderate to myself… Ha.
7. Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.
8. Pray always.
9. Think happy thoughts. Is it any wonder that “optimism” and “opium” begin and end the same way? I think not.
10. Think more of others than myself.
11. Make time for reverie.
We’ll see if I can get past March…
With these goals in tow, I don’t have to wait for good fortune to smile upon me because I’ll be creating it, and hopefully become more of a lady in the process.
Peace and Love.