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This post was edited by ttt222 at 2013-5-4 20:03|
Rumors are circulating that American actress Anne Hathaway is replacing Carey Mulligan to star in a remake of the 1964 film My Fair Lady. It's still a mystery who will finally snag the role of Eliza Doolittle, a vulgar flower girl who is transformed into a lady by a language expert, but the news has definitely called attention to the word “lady”。
The word always conjures up images of women in the Victorian era of British history or Jane Austen novels. But do we have to go back to dressing in that style to be a lady? What does being a lady actually mean in the 21st century?
British etiquette tutor William Hanson told The Telegraph that being a lady today is all about elegance and confidence. “The behavior doesn't need to be something straight out of a Jane Austen novel,” he said. But that doesn't mean there are no specific rules to being a modern day lady. According to Hanson and other experts on etiquette, a real lady must tick all the following boxes of style and manner.
Being educated was one of the essential qualities of a lady in the time of Jane Austen, when the middle class was commonly educated at home. In Pride & Prejudice, Caroline Bingley says: “A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages to deserve the word [lady].” Mr Darcy adds that an accomplished lady must also improve her mind through extensive reading.
This educational requirement hasn't been compromised much. A lady by today's standards must educate herself in every possible way, from higher education to common sense manners, according to Candice Simpson, author of How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy.
One of the biggest misconceptions of a lady is that she can't be fashionable, pointed out Eunice J Leong of elegantwoman.org. As a modern example of a lady, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has proved that it's possible to be elegant and fashionable at the same time. But elegant fashion is usually understated and simple ― ostentatious designer logos should be avoided.
In addition, according to Hanson, a lady never feels the need to show her flesh, legs or cleavage ― she always lets her natural beauty shine. Hanson even prescribes strict skirt lengths. He believes a lady should never wear any garment that rises too far above the knee ― if necessary, she should wear dark colored tights. Based on this rule, Lady Gaga, one of the most famous ladies of our times, should be simply Gaga.
A true lady knows that she is expected to begin eating first, before the men, said Hanson. So don't faff around, as a true gentleman will just sit there watching his food go cold as you carry on chattering.
A much forgotten skill, added Hanson, is “turning the table”。 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is still an advocate of this. It means speaking to the person on either side of you, one after the other. During the first course a lady speaks to the person on her left, during the second course she speaks to the person on her right, and so on. And no one ever talks across the table.
Art of words
Although it can be tempting to gossip quietly about a friend or close acquaintance, a lady should avoid mean gossip, said Hanson. It leaves a bad impression on others, even if they are joining in. If you freely gossip about someone, others will begin to wonder if you gossip about them to others.
Further tips for being a lady, as offered by Hanson, include:
Don't be brusque with others.
Don't overshare or talk about your private life loudly in public.