Feminine Ideal: Class vs. Crass

The other night, I caught an earful of sexual commentary, crass humor and rampant profanity.

Was I watching an intense movie? Was I moonlighting with a local biker gang? Was I watching an episode of "Cops"? No, actually -- this torrent of vile verbiage was flowing from the lips of a group of women.

And for what purpose? From what I could surmise, they were trying to get the attention of nearby males. I sipped my water and watched this interaction go down like I was watching a documentary on the dynamics of modern dating exploits. The comments got viler and the raucous laughter got louder, and I found myself mesmerized -- would this really work for them? Would the men be drawn in by this technique?

To be honest, I didn't stick around long enough to see how this scenario ended. (Sorry to leave you hanging.) But it did get me thinking, especially after an article circulating through my social network caught my attention the other day: The Death Of Pretty.

The gist of the article is this: women no longer aim to be pretty; they aim to be hot. They no longer wish to project innocence and virtue; they wish to be ogled. The idea rang true with my recent field studies, i.e. the aforementioned interaction I observed.

It was obvious those women were asking those men for attention -- but certainly not for respect. And, if that's the type of man they're sincerely looking for, then mazel tov to one and all -- perhaps they can all be quite happy together.

But here's the problem: the majority of women I meet express a desire to meet "a nice man" or "a good man" or "a guy that respects women."

Here's the kicker, girls: you get what you ask for. If you want a man to treat you with respect, you need to ask for respect. Flaunting your sexuality with crass comments and vulgarity? Not exactly the avenue that will lead you to a gentleman.

If it's true that pretty has died, I'd say the concept of being a lady is occupying a neighboring grave. Ladylike ideals of refinement and class have taken a beating from the push for equality across gender lines.

But why do these things have to be mutually exclusive? Does leveling the playing field between men and women mean we have to throw all gentle, demure female attributes out the window?

I like to play sports. I also like a guy to open a door for me.

I have a career and a college degree. I also like to wear a skirt on a first date and expect the guy to pay for me.

I can change a car battery. I also prefer to keep profanity and vulgarity out of my vernacular.

Oh, and I can vote. And if I want to do it with lipstick and pearls on, so be it.

Just because a woman is capable and can keep up with the male gender doesn't mean she needs to be rough around the edges to prove it.

Does this make me outdated? You might think so. But I know I want to attract gentlemen and people with class, and because of that, I want to play in their court. And so, I choose to be a lady.

Parting words that hit home with me, courtesy of Margaret D. Nadauld:

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

Amen, sister.