Tuesday, June 8, 2010

of dojos & dickinson

Speaking of unladylike pursuits, I'm getting weary of the grappling/self-defense module in karate. Every time I show up for class there's an odd number of women and I end up with some teenage boy rolling around on the mat. Two weeks ago my heavily adorned/pierced/spiked partner kept losing his bling all over the mat. We had to keep quitting mid-grapple to find his bits and bobbles so we could safely continue. (I did not want to get flipped over onto one of his stray spikes.) The kid looked like he'd been attacked by a rabid Bedazzler. I returned to the dojo last night to find the same situation again--only this time I partnered off with this kid whose only metal embellishment is found in his mouth--braces. Even so, there is nothing ladylike about being flipped to one's back and stuffed into a chokehold while your feet splay in different directions and your hair gets caught in your mouth.

Nor is there anything ladylike about clomping around a muddy garden in Wellies, yanking out stinging nettle while cursing under one's breath. And sweating. Profusely. My gardening pursuits do not remotely resemble Emily Dickinson's. She gardened wearing a white dress.

In particular, this white dress. I'm trying to imagine the hours I'd spend with a spray bottle of Oxy-Clean if I wore a white dress to garden. Amazing to consider she gardened wearing a white dress and wrote pretty little poems about the experience. But she didn't have children, so there was time for laundry and poetry.
A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown --
Who ponders this tremendous scene --
This whole Experiment of Green --
As if it were his own!
Such truth in her writing.
Alyssa's book has me thinking about "ladylike," a term that conjures up images of Southern belles and proper matrons sitting with their ankles crossed while sipping tea. I believe a "lady" had good manners, doesn't emote too much and tries never to offend others. "Ladylike" had more to do with behavior than some obscure Victorian code of where to find a salad fork.

Thank goodness reading is a ladylike pursuit--you can cross your ankles, sip your tea and pick up Alyssa Goodnight's Unladylike Pursuits without compromising your cleanliness or decorum! Enter to win a copy of this FABULOUS book by leaving comments through Saturday. Spill it, reader. What makes you feel particularly unladylike?

18 comments:

  1. Well, being a mom to 3 boys pretty much throws ladylike out the window! Its a good thing that I've never been too prissy or quiet ;) God knows who can handle it and who can't right!?! I have friends or girls with very girly households and they marvel at the sheer madness of living with boys.

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  2. Such a lovely white dress. Even I would wear that, but certainly not to garden in. I am always FILTHY from head to toe when I come in from another round of weeding/mulching/raking/etc.

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  3. In a household overflowing with testosterone, there is no room for ladylike. I leave home for that. I think I hit a new unladylike point yesterday, sprawling out for a nap in my 90-degree car waiting on The Teenager. Sweat, drool, talking in my sleep. I woke with a start, hoping no one had come out to see the unfortunate scene.

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  4. Most of my day-to-day probably falls decisively under the unladylike heading. The love of Jane Austen may well be one of my only ladylike tendecies...

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  5. i swear i can't walk outside without getting dirt on me. the white dress would be ripped to shreds in seconds. it is beautiful.

    reading is the best pursuit of all. ladylike or not.

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  6. Oh, gardening in that dress is laughable. Seriously.

    Always wearing jeans and sneakers makes me feel unladylike. I'd love to put on a dress every once in a while. But what am I going to do once I'm in it? Garden?

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  7. I had to dig out the septic tank lid yesterday is a jean skirt..does that count? Hubby "forgot" and of course the septic guys came..they will charge an additional $100 to dig out. So there I was...
    Stop laughing

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  8. I'm just...I'm just trying...OMG, I'm trying to imagine rolling around on a mat with some random teenager! You KILL me!

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  9. I hardly ever wear dresses or skirts. Occasionally in the summer, but I'd never wear nylons. My grandma wore a dress everyday.

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  10. My grandmother used to have to hide to read, because it was considered 'Unladylike'. Imagine!

    I can pretend to be ladylike. If absolutely necessary. I have had good training! It's a useful skill.

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  11. Very amusing post, I couldn't help but chuckle!!

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  12. I loved the part about the rabid Bedazzler!!

    And I have to say that sweating makes me feel very unladylike. Ugh!

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  13. Ummm ... taking my Dad to his colonosopy (sp?) appointment. Enough said.

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  14. You'd think there'd be a "no bling" rule at the dojo.

    I attended schools where girls were constantly warned against being "unladylike." It was unladylike to hang upside down from the monkey bars and it was unladylike to whistle ("Whenever a girl whistles, the Virgin Mary cries.") and unladylike to shout at other kids across the playground, etc.

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  15. I can out belch the best of them and I guess that isn't very lady like....at least Irv tells me it isn't. I do always say excuse me though. :)

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  16. hahahahaha...i just am picturing you(even though i don't know you in-real-life) rolling around on a mat, doing karate with that kid. you are funny.

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  17. I would think all jewelry and metal, except braces, would be strictly prohibited in karate. I have girls who don't like to get that dirty so it's pretty easy (one of them would probably love to roll around in the mud if dad let her). Although the girls can take on and probably win against any guy in a belching contest. I'm so proud....

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  18. Unladylike? Tripping in the hallway and spilling my coffee in a huge puddle. That would do it. I couldn't even teach in a white dress; I'm forever getting marker or lunch on myself.

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Spill it, reader.