Friday, November 03, 2006

Using Hands and Walking (Part 2 of my "Don'ts for the feminine Manners""

Today officially began the first day of examining first hand the "don'ts" listed in November 2nd's post. The entire day, I was watching how I used my hands, making sure that they weren't used in an unladylike way as question number one states, "Don't use your hands in a stiff, brusque, efficient, firm, or strong manner." I had to actually tweak this "Don't" a little bit because as a paid worker in a bakery, it is important to honor the Lord by working with my hands and doing the job He has given me, and doing it well. This usually means that at the end of the day, I will have managed to leave with a burn or two from the oven, paper cuts and dry hands from hot, soapy water while washing endless amounts of pans.

I have also decided that using one’s hands in a strong manner isn't always unladylike either, as most women have to open tight jars, carry a vacuum up stairs, and lift up five year olds during the day without the help of a man. With that being said, for me, this "don't" mostly meant, no talking excessively with my hands, which seems to be very common with headstrong women like myself.

Luckily, this one came quite easily as my hands were quite busy throughout the day at work, and then while taking notes at school. But say that I had stopped on the way from class and began taking to a classmate. My classmate may be a very good listener, but if I'm throwing up my hands in exclamation, or waving them back in forth making gestures, will they be looking at me or my hands? And if someone is sitting at a nearby table, will my hands direct attention towards me, meanwhile the person is thinking "I wonder what she's getting all excited about?" In a sense, a conversation that was between just me and the one other person, is now visible to anyone else around who may see that I was agitated earlier by the way I've thrown my hands up in disgust. I know, seems like such an odd thing to consider, but please DO consider what your hands reveal to others during your conversation with them.

The next "don't" that I tried not to do today was number two on my list,
"Don't walk with a heavy gait or long strides." I must tell you, if you had seen me running out the door this morning for work, you would have thought, she's off to a great start! And sarcastically speaking, you would have been right. However, the day did get better. I hope that all you long-legged women will back me on this, it is hard to NOT take long strides when it's so easy to take two steps, two stairs, whichever, and you are there. But today, I decided to slow down a bit, and I loved it! Walking slow almost made me feel like a princess, not like the Hunch Back of Notre Dame that I'm usually like.

Walking lady-like slowed me down and gave me a chance to really concentrate on just taking one step at a time, no hurry, just getting to where I needed to be. It was rather peaceful, not stressful like I had to run to be somewhere a few seconds earlier.

What I learned today: Using my hands can glorify the Lord, and they can also glorify me. WORKING with my hands brings glory to Him who gave me use of my hands; however, TALKING with my hands, brings attention away from what I'm saying and on what my hands are saying. This can be used to glorify myself because I’m subconscious using my hands to elaborate what I have to say (often exaggerating), bringing unwanted attention from many directions, putting the focus on me.

As for as walking ladylike, it is quite lovely to walk more slowly and delicately as a lady should. Even long-legged women, like myself, should slow it down and concentrate on each step she’s taking. However, it is UNSAFE to walk slowly in a parking lot at night, whether with someone or alone. Therefore, in my opinion, if you must for the sake of safety, pick up your princess slippers and walk a little faster!


LeanNot said...

I think that you and I are alike. :) I also have a naturally long stride, and it took many years of my mother scolding me about it to get it under control. I appreciate her patient efforts on turning me into a lady!

I agree about using your hands to gesture strongly -- I wonder if using large, strong, bold gestures is a mark of authority, and that is why it looks so inappropriate in a lady? I have always considered it unattractive, at least.

I enjoy your blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

What a good post!!! I'm thankful that you are sharing your findings with us! I've MUCH to learn!!

I, too, need to watch the use of my hands. I was recently watching a popular chef on TV and noticed how much she uses her hands. Well, not just her hands, but her ARMS, too!!! She comes across very many when she talks like this. I've been trying to notice if I do this. I know I talk with my hands, but is it THIS bad? Do I come across as manly?

Very interesting post, indeed!

Mrs. U

LeanNot said...

Mrs. U., from reading your blog, I would definitely guess that you do not come across as manly!

Melissa said...

I agree with you, too Leannot. I can't image Mrs. U. looking or acting manly!

Melissa said...

Thanks for both of your comments, and for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Hugs & Blessings,
Susan Godfrey

Candy said...

Another great post! As you can see, I cant get enough of your blog! :)
I truly love it and would like to encourage you to continue.