Wednesday, November 29

Have any of you read the book "How to be a Lady?" I saw it on the Vision Forum website and think that we might like to purchase it. If you've read it, please let me know what you think! Here is a little blurb from the website on the book:
“What you are while you are a girl, you will be when you become a woman.” Somewhere within the recesses of every girl’s heart is the desire to act, and be treated, as a lady. But a true lady is more than just graceful and feminine; she has a Christ-centered character that regulates her inner thoughts and motives, as well as her outward graces. In this book, originally published in 1850, extraordinarily practical wisdom is offered to young girls in the practice of developing womanly character. The girl’s equivalent to Thoughts for Young Men, this book is excellent for mothers and daughters and a must-read for every young lady-in-training!

Becoming a Feminine Lady...

I have been thinking a lot about guiding little girls in becoming feminine ladies... especially my little girl. I began thinking about this because of a conversation I had with my father-in-law and my mother-in law. My husband's father and I were discussing how excited we were about seeing the baby with bows and barrettes in her hair (when she gets some!). I expressed how much I enjoy dressing her up in little jumpers, tights, and other girly items. My father-in-law thought that this was great, but my mother -in-law wasn't so sure. She felt that doing this would "force" E. into becoming a girly-girl. "What if she wants to be a tomboy and isn't interested in wearing things like that or doing her hair?" I had no answer to her query.

What would I do if my daughter didn't enjoy being feminine? Though some may doubt what I am going to say next, I feel very strongly about the topic. I think that little girls have an inborn desire to be feminine and that they need to be encouraged to develop that femininity completely. Many women today (including my mother-in-law) weren't trained up in a way that honored the God-given roles of masculinity and femininity. I feel that it is my job as a mother to cultivate these tendencies in my children! Though it will be a hard task, I am excited to try! Please let me know if you have any hints for us!

Monday, November 27

Suggestions for Fun and Feminine Exercise...

Wear a pedometer to measure the miles or steps you take in a day. Try to increase how much you walk each day.

Borrow different exercise videos from the Library or from friends. Once you find type of exercise that you like, invest in a few DVDs for yourself and use them frequently.

Spend time taking walks, hikes, or bike rides.

Go the extra "mile:" park your car farther away from entrances, walk to get the paper or pick up the mail, or even put on some music and take a twirl around your kitchen!

Play games from your youth: hopscotch, jumping jacks, hop on one foot as long as possible, or run sprints.

Play sports like tennis, badminton, basketball, or ping pong.

Lace up your roller skates or ice skates.

Jump rope.

Play tag, hide-and-seek or manhunt.

Take an exercise class.

Get an exercise partner for taking walks, going to the gym, etc.

Bat a balloon around and try not to let it hit the floor.

Photo Courtesy of Jack Mulqueeney.

Adios Debra Barone... Hello Donna Reed!

Where have all the good television shows gone? I would love to watch a feminine role model light up the t.v. screen one evening a week! It would be grand to see a woman supporting her husband rather than tearing him down or working on improving herself rather than trying to justify her questionable actions. Thank goodness for d.v.d.'s!

Sunday, November 26

Feminine Finances...

One of the traits that I think every feminine woman should aspire to acquire is the ability to be a good steward of money. This is something that I have struggled with ever since I was a child with an allowance.

When I was a single woman going through college and I worked as a waitress, spending money didn't matter too much. The only bill I had was for car insurance. Once I completed college and became a teacher, I had an income that I was free to do whatever I wanted with. I didn't save at all and bought treats for myself, John, and my family all of the time. After getting married, I was still working and though we were far from rich, my husband and I were able to live very well.

Now that I am staying at home with our daughter and my husband is supporting us financially in an increasingly expensive world, I have begun to realize I am too frivolous with our money. Though I don't make large purchases, all of the little things I "need" add up quickly. When I saw the spread sheet Microsoft Money spit out of our October expenditures, my heart fell to the floor... My household purchases were triple what they were supposed to be.

I am now going to be writing down each item I buy (with the exception of groceries) in a little notebook I keep in my handbag with the hope that I can begin training myself to eliminate frivolous spending. I am going to try to spend as little as possible for the next ten days. Please say a little prayer that I can be more mindful and more feminine when it comes to managing money for my family.

On My Wish List...

Awhile ago, I posted about wearing pretty nightgowns. Since that blog entry, I have been searching online and in stores for the "perfect" nightgown. Here it is! I found it at Dillard's online store and it is just what I was hoping for! It even has a matching robe! This set is a bit pricey... so it will either have to be a Christmas gift (hint, hint, husband:) ) or I will have to start saving up my housekeeping money for it. Either way, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Dillard's will have a sleepwear sale soon!

Vintage Rules for Married Life...

While reading all of the blog posts I've missed this past week (we were away on a Thanksgiving break), I came across this little gem at Anna's Pleasant View School House:

I've even gone so far as to write up my own Rules for Married Life to keep in my notebook. What Rules do you follow?

Monday, November 20

The 50 Percent Solution...

Here is an excerpt from Mireille Guiliano's latest book, French Woman For All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure. I found this part of the book to be the more helpful and easy to implement in my life. I have been trying to mindfully follow the 50 Percent Solution each time I eat. I have noticed that I no longer feel stuffed once we leave the table... now, if only I can be this disciplined at our Thanksgiving meal!

The 50 Percent Solution

"If, as one critic commented on French Women Don't Get Fat, it's "all about portion size" - it's not, really, but if - then change indeed is a tall order. It's generally known that Americans on average eat 10 to 30 percent more than we need to every day. This is not such a surprising result of an increasingly knowledge-based economy, in which jobs of many individuals involve sitting all day. It is simple deductive reasoning to connect this situation with the fact that Americans are also on average 30 percent above their ideal weight. It was a sixteenth century Frenchman, Montaigne, who rightly observed that gluttony is that source of all our infirmities. In the land where there's honor in being able to eat the most hot dogs, what is one to do?

Portion control is more and art than a discipline, one grounded in a useful bit of self-deception. I have written about the power of incrementalism, cutting back portions over weeks and months as you introduce new variety. Though very simple, the method sometimes requires a scale and can be a bit too unstructured for some.

One trick I use to control my intake is to ask myself if I can live with half the amount being offered; indeed, will I be just as happy eating half as much? I put this approach into play in a variety of different ways, from splitting dessert with my husband to counting the number of pieces of bread I eat at a restaurant (Bread is one of my "offenders," a food I'm particularly vulnerable to overeating, and I can mindlessly eat three or four slices if i don't pay attention.) I use this simple alternative regularly, especially when not sure about the "hidden" ingredients of what I've been served or when the portion I've been offered is obviously large. I eat half. Slowly, of course, chewing well. I then ask myself whether I'm content, and therefore whether continuing would be a matter of pleasure or merely routine."

"Often I do continue eating, but I have only half of the half that's left. Then, after pausing, I consider half of what's left again. Edward calls this my Zeno's Paradox of portion control. To paraphrase the ancient principle, if you continue eating only half of what's on your plate each time, you will never eat the whole thing. That's a theoretical explanation. I'm content to call it the 50 Percent Solution and think more practically about why it works. The act of stopping and reflecting slows down consumption, allowing the brain to catch up with the stomach and release the hormone that tells us, "Mmm, that was good, but I've had enough." Contentment is largely a matter of the clock - not how much you ingest but also what you've eaten during a given interval.

If you implement the 50 Percent Solution routinely, your sense of a satisfying portion is bound to shrink. I've been doing ti so long it even works on a banana."

Painting: Picking Fruit By Georges Lemmen

Sunday, November 19

Teaching Our Daughters to be Ladies...

This blog entry was featured on the Ladies Against Feminism website recently. I found it to be extremely inspiring! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

Painting: Girl with Lilac
Sophie Anderson

Looking Better when Under the Weather...

Look Better Than You Feel:

  • De Puff with the Right Stuff - To deflate your face, massage in moisturizer with upward strokes to encourage circulation and drain fluid. Use tea bags (brewed, then cooled) as eye compresses for five to ten minutes (chamomile tea works well).

  • Fake Looking Awake - To mask dark circles, you need a yellowish concealer, slightly lighter than your normal skin tone - but not just under the eyes: lids, the hollow above them and the inner corners by your nose are key. To add sparkle, dust shimmery, white based shadow around entire eye; use grey or taupe line on top lids for soft definition. Curling your lashes and using clear mascara can help you look extra alert, as will a whitening solution (Visine) to help with bloodshot eyes.
  • Get a Healthy Glow - To turn a sick, pasty complexion into a model of radiance, use cream blush, not powder. Go with bright tones (red, pink) rather than murky ones (plum, brown), and rub it in evenly on the apples of cheeks, temples, and your chin. If you have a cold, you can hide a Rudolph nose with concealer (moisturize first). Chapped lips? Exfoliate with a toothbrush and use gloss to minimize the appearance of dry, flaky skin.
  • Use Clothes as a Camouflage - Avoid wearing colors that echo the same ones you are trying to downplay. If your nose is red, don't wear a red sweater. If you're hiding dark circles, stay away from black or navy. A touch of white always lightens the face, so try a v-neck sweater with a white tee or collar peeking out, a white turtleneck, or a small, white scarf.

-Taken from an article by Nathalie Zimmerman. Mademoiselle. January 1999.

For some great ideas on making your little one feel better, visit Anna's blog and this entry:

Friday, November 17


"...but you know, I've noticed that when I made changes to the outside, changes on the inside (which are way more important) soon followed... Oh, and I think it's very important to point out that femininity isn't about sitting around in a pretty outfit and doing nothing. Oh no, the feminine woman makes it her mission in life to serve God and serve her family. I have found that it's the little touches that make something 'feminine'."
-Mrs. B
The Be Not Conformed Blog

Femininity Challenge - Friday...

The baby and I enjoyed a nice trip to the library this morning! After looking around at the books and spending some time with Sophie (the resident turtle), the baby fell asleep in her carrier and I was able to flip through a few decorating books and then read some magazines! It was a lot of fun to see the different things that people can do to their homes... especially when they do it on a budget. I was really inspired by what I read!

Among the books that I decided to check out were a few DVDs - The Law of Attraction (with Julianne Moore), Dial "M" for Murder (with Grace Kelly), and "The Buccaneers (Based on Edith Wharton's Book). It seems like all of the movies have beautiful wardrobes... interestingly enough, they are from all different time periods! I am hoping that I will get some feminine inspiration from all three!

Femininity Challenge - Thursday

Yesterday was a good day for feminine pursuits in our house! The baby and I enjoyed a shopping trip to Walmart where we bought some necessities as well as some frivolities: She got two little cotton hats to keep her bald head warm and her mama got a bath pillow for the tub and a very pale shade of pink nail polish to paint her nails.

On our way home, we stopped at our local health food store for a few things and finally, we popped into the children's bookshop located next door. Though we were just supposed to window shop, I couldn't resist "Peek-a-boo! (" My mom had a copy for us when we were children and I absolutely love the illustrations!

After putting the baby to bed, I spent some time relaxing, picking up the house, and painting my nails. It is a nice feeling to have them done! I feel very glamorous!

Wednesday, November 15


Visit Be Not Conformed for a terrific post on keeping it real:

Femininity Challenge - Wednesday...

Today I did something a little different with my hair. I began styling it by giving it a thorough brushing and then used a large barreled curling iron to smooth it out and give the ends a bit of "oomph." Once this was done, I separated the top half of my hair and twisted it into a bun. I left the bottom half of my hair down. It seems like a nice hairstyle and I may do it that way again... especially if Baby sleeps in a few extra minutes like she did this morning!

Femininity Challenge - Tuesday...

Today was a very busy day for me! I cleaned most of the house - our bedroom and bathroom with have to wait until tomorrow - and did a lot of cooking and baking.

Here are some of the feminine things that I have accomplished today:

1. I wrote some favorite recipes down on pretty recipe cards... they had previously been printed from the computer and looked messy sticking out all over the place in my recipe box.

2. I took my time when eating today: I tried to take small bites and I ate slowly. With a baby that seems to fuss as soon as we sit down to eat, I've been wolfing down my food... I will try to do this no more! After all, microwaves were invented to reheat Mama's food!

3. I lit my Autumn Wreath candles in the family room.

I have been perusing your blogs and have been very inspired by what you are all doing! I am sorry that I have not commented... I have wanted to very much, by my husband has had a lot of work to do on the computer (he was up until 2 am last night) and so my time on-line is limited... Tomorrow will be better!

Tuesday, November 14

Femininity Challenge - Monday...

Yesterday was a bit cloudy with rain showers off and on, but that didn't deter me from taking the baby for a long Fall walk. As we ambled along the roads around our home, the smells of a cool, autumn day were all around us. Someone was warding off the chill by using their fireplace and we enjoyed the scent. We were so worn out by our walk, that we took a catnap once we returned.

As far as domestic femininity is concerned, I have been trying to prepare colorful and filling meals. Last night's dinner was mozzarella crusted chicken, sweet potatoes, buttered peas, and cranberry sauce. We enjoyed eating it at a nicely set table! I hope that I can keep this up when Lent arrives tomorrow!

I have been trying to give myself a spritz of my favorite honeysuckle perfume each day... It is nice to smell that springtime fragrance every so often.

I forgot to mention that I successfully wore my 'church' clothes all day on Sunday... that was a feat for me because I love cuddling up in warm slob clothes (as my dad calls them) on rainy days.

Sunday, November 12

Timeless and Universal Principles of Dress...

While perusing Elizabeth's blog, I came across her recent entry on Timeless and Universal Principles of Dress... I think that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Femininity Challenge - Sunday...

Today has been a gloriously rainy day! After church, my husband had a parish council meeting scheduled. Though it took a bit more time than we expected, it was well worth it... many things were resolved and Father John is happy and very hopeful!
Once we came home, we had a lunch of ham sandwiches and watched an episode of the PBS show, Manor House. Before the baby and I went to take an afternoon nap, I decided to make two steaming cups of hot chocolate. I topped each with baby marshmallows and we drank them right down! This delicious drink looked great in our white mugs... I think that this just might be a new Sunday afternoon treat for our little family!

Saturday, November 11

Femininity Challenge...

For the next week (Sunday, November 12th - Saturday, November 18th), I will be participating in this blog's first challenge! Each day, I will be trying to make things around me more feminine! I will take pictures of what I do and post them - along with a description. I think that it would be terrific if the readers of this blog were to join in! Here are the rules:

  • Anything can be made more feminine: your outfit, your home, your car, your yard, your cooking, etc.

  • It has to be more than what you always do... for example, if you always wear your hair femininely, it won't work for the challenge. However, if you always wear your hair in a ponytail and you add a fancy clip or bow, it counts.

I can't wait to see what we all come up with!

Embracing Femininity Through Touch...

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine touch of things:

Wear clothing that is touchable. Some great fabrics are: soft and crisp cottons, soft or fine woolens, and anything soft, silky, and womanly.

Be sure to apply lotion to your skin daily to prevent roughness.

Use conditioner in your hair to promote soft, silky strands.

Add texture to your decorating by using soft blankets, throw pillows, and other linens.

Be sure to keep surfaces in your home clean and dust free.

Use fabric softener or dryer sheets when doing laundry.

Wear soft slippers around your home during the day to keep your toes pampered and warm.

Use baskets of different weaves to hold odds and ends around your home.

Keep fluffy towels in your kitchen and bathroom.

Just as your husband gets into the shower on a cold day, toss his towel into the dryer so that it is toasty when he's ready to use it.

After going for a long walk, enjoy a hot beverage or an icy cold one... depending on the weather.

Take a cat nap in the sun and feel the warm sun on your skin.

Take a long, luxurious bath complete with bubbles or bath oils.

Give yourself a manicure and pedicure.

Exfoliate your lips and use a lip balm to help them stay soft.

Be gentle.

Learn to move more slowly, elegantly, and purposefully.

Walk in a light graceful manner.

Practice feminine facial expressions.

Keep your legs smooth by shaving or waxing frequently.

Thursday, November 9

What are your Christmas traditions?

We have a couple of traditions:

We celebrate St. Nicholas Day (December 6th). The night before, children put out their shoes and during the night, St. Nicholas puts treats in each shoe (sort of like a Christmas Stocking). In addition to the treats, we are going to buy our children their "Christmas" shoes and those will be put out instead of shoes they already own.

We have also decided to purchase one ornament for our tree each year... since this will be our second Christmas, we only have one so far. I think that we're going to get the star for the top of the tree this year because it is our first Christmas with the baby. We compensate for the lack of ornaments by using a TON of lights on the tree.

I'm also going to try to put out one decoration each day leading up to Christmas. I'll start small on the 15th of November (which is the start of Lent (Advent) for Orthodox Christians) and build up as Christmas draws near.

Wednesday, November 8

Advice: Part Two...

Thank you for all your comments on yesterday's post! Though the beginning of this quote speaks about giving advice to men, the part that really spoke to me was the bit about the responsibility that one takes on when giving advice to others. It is so easy to rattle off whatever I think to another without really thinking about what I'm saying or the consequences that my words may bring. It almost reminds me of Jane Austen's "Emma."

The Gathering Storm...

This past Sunday, my husband and I watched a DVD that we really enjoyed. Apart from being the well-written story about Churchill and the months leading up to England's entry into WWII, it was marvelously acted.
The highlight of this movie for me, however, was the costumes! They were absolutely lovely! One of my favorite outfits was worn by one of the younger actresses while she was walking in a garden... it included a chic skirt and green galoshes!

Tuesday, November 7


"Always ask a man for his advice but never give him yours - unless he asks for it and unless it concerns such minor questions as interior decoration, etiquette, or what to wear... Don't forget that giving advice means undertaking to influence the course of destiny of another person and to commit yourself to seeing that it succeeds. Women who give advice irresponsibly are just as reprehensible as people who sign bad cheques."

Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
The Men in Your Life: Timless Advice and Wisdom on Managing the Opposite Sex

Monday, November 6


"... it is still to a woman's advantage to give as much thought to undressing as she does to dressing... Even though a woman's lingerie may be reduced to two pieces, they should at least be matching. It is the height of negligence to wear a white brassiere with black pants or the reverse. Bright-coloured undergarments are charming, but of course they can only be worn under dresses which are opaque or dark. In the summer it is preferable to stick to white."
Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on all Occasions
As I am now nursing Baby (and plan to for awhile), I have decided to invest in at least two sets of well-made (and properly fitting) undergarments. I have been making due with an ill-fitting brassiere from Target and mis-matched pants from who-knows-where. Before becoming pregnant and beginning to nurse, I enjoyed wearing matching sets that were feminine and pretty. I am determined to find similar items that suit my needs now!

Sunday, November 5

Embracing Femininity Through Scent...

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine scent of things:

Pick a special scent and be sure to wear it each day.

Spritz paper with your favorite perfume.

Follow this simple recipe to make your home smell delicious:

1 1/2 cups cinnamon sticks broken into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup allspice
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/2 cup dried bay leaves, broken slightly
1/4 cup dried rosemary leaves
1/4 cup dried orange peel in 1/2-inch chunks

To use: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons potpourri, and lower heat to a simmer. Add water as needed. You can simmer the potpourri for a short time and reuse it later if you store it in the refrigerator between uses. Makes enough for thirty uses.(

Bake bread or a batch of cookies.

Light scented candles throughout your home... especially in you bedrooms and bathrooms.

Choose a favorite shampoo and conditioner and enjoy the scent as your wash your hair .

Arrange a vase full of fragrant flowers.

Place pots of herbs on your kitchen windowsill and enjoy their fragrance and use in your cooking.

Purchase household cleaners that clean well and also smell great!

Be sure to wash and air out your household linens frequently.

Throw open the windows in the house an car upon occasion.

Go for long, rambling walks and enjoy the seasonal scents.

After eating a citrus fruit, toss the peels down the garbage disposal to freshen it up.

Enjoy scented bubble baths.

Put an air freshener into your car.

Use scented drawer liners.

Hang a bunch of lavender wrapped with ribbon in your closet to keep away odors and moths.

Place bowls of potpourri around the house.

Spritz a bit of card stock with perfume and tuck it into your handbag.

Put sachets into the linen closet and your lingerie drawer for a delicate fragrance.

Saturday, November 4

French Hot Chocolate...

Break a favorite brand of chocolate bar into squares. Melt them in a saucepan on low heat. Add whole milk slowly while stirring. Simmer gently for five minutes. Whisk before serving. Alternative: Add half the amount of whole milk. Once the hot chocolate is poured into your cup, add homemade whipped cream to finish it off. Garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.

Friday, November 3

Embracing Femininity Through Sight...

Here are some things that we can do to improve the feminine look of things:

Keep a tidy and well organized home.

Wear feminine clothing that a man would not be caught dead in.

Be sure to be as well groomed as possible.

Improve your mind through reading.

Work to make your movements feminine and delicate.

Try to see the good in everything.

Add a touch of elegance and beauty to your daily routines.

Keep a journal of all that you are thankful for and read it when you feel blue.

Learn to improve your penmanship and begin collecting special stationary so that you can write real letters to your loved ones.

Begin to work towards becoming more active and fit.

Educate yourself on the art of applying makeup and arranging your hair.

Bestow a lovely smile upon all you meet.

Improve your disposition, making it as cheerful and loving as possible.

Be sure to emanate a calm, quiet air.

Be as creative and thoughtful as possible when it comes to doing mundane things.

Decide on a signature... perhaps you always use white satin ribbon to wrap around your gifts or maybe you write letters on violet colored paper.

Learn what it means to be refined and work to make this a part of your interaction with others.

Let go of bitterness.

Try to learn a new skill or art as frequently as you can.

Look to the past to show you how feminine women lived. Use this knowledge as inspiration.


Frederica Mathewes-Green is khouria of Holy Cross Church in Linthicum, MD, and author of Facing East, At the Corner of East and Now, and The Illumined Heart. She writes for, Christianity Today, Our Sunday Visitor, and National Public Radio. This article is excerpted from her new book, Gender: Men, Women, Sex, Feminism.This article originally appeared in AGAIN Vol. 24 No. 3.

It's a man's world, at least around my house. With my daughter off at college, it's just my husband, two teenaged sons, and me; even the dog and cat are of the masculine persuasion. Now, I've seen some majority-male households that have slipped toward caveman conditions, where underwear is washed by wearing it in the shower and dishes are washed by giving them to the dog. I'm determined that that won't happen here.

Rather than draw up a long list of rules covering tiny aspects of behavior, I've found that one general principle covers all circumstances. It's one my boys actually came up with on their own. The rule is (and this must be hissed in an urgent whisper): "Not in front of the chick!"

Yes, in my house, as far as I know, no one drinks from the milk jug. No one burps. Dignity and decorum rule the day.

The most obvious charge one could lay against this standard is that it's sexist, and indeed it is. The "Not in front of the chick" rule colludes in a tacit assumption that how men behave when they are alone together might be different from how they behave in feminine company. It presumes that men and women are different, men naturally devolving to a rougher state if given the chance. Women demand something finer of them: respect, protection, the kind of cherishing (St. Paul suggests) which men give to their own bodies.

This is a positive thing. When men don't feel an obligation to protect and cherish women, women get hurt. Men come to look out on a leveled world, and treat everyone the way they treat each other-- that is, pretty rough. The interaction of guys in my house tends toward broad insults, punches, and grins. They thrive on it, but the average girl would be crushed by it.

Recognizing the relative roughness of men blends well with the theory put forth by George Gilder in Men and Marriage, that men must be civilized by women. Men's natural impulse is to stray and play, he says, and it is due to women's influence that they settle down in families and contribute to a coherent society. Without this taming, men would wreak havoc.

Yet I've always thought there was an element of polite fiction to this formulation. Men seem to settle down into families willingly enough; at some level, it must be what they want to do. When they attribute their domestication to the fair sex's beguilements, it is flattering to both. The lady gets to be the fair angel of the hearth, whose purity and cleverness ensnared the savage beast. He gets to be a rough-hewn lusty fellow, whose caveman ways are barely held in check by the lady's silken cords. As he pushes the lawnmower on Saturday afternoon, the sun reddening his bald spot, he can think: I might look like Harry Homeowner, but inside I'm still a wildman. If I didn't have to fix the dryer, I'd be zooming down the California coast on a Harley.

Not that there isn't plenty of historical evidence for men being the sex that is most likely to wreak havoc. Women do appear to be more genteel. When we read a newspaper account of a gory crime, we're never shocked to discover that the culprit is male. As author Joel Achenbach says, we're accustomed to "Male Pattern Badness."

Yet women need improving, too. Their badness pattern is not as showy as men's, but it has its own distinctive malevolence. While boys are asserting rank by beating up the wimpy kids, girls are wounding their unattractive classmates with malicious gossip and humiliating practical jokes. Boys, at least, are direct. Victims of girl-style viciousness know that words can do more lasting hurt than sticks and stones. The tenderness females are famed for may go no deeper than the skin.

The problem with the caveman-and-angel scenario is that it gives too much moral credit to women. Women aren't intrinsically superior to men, nor are they programmed with better virtues. When a man falls, it can't be blamed on a wife failing to train him. Likewise, a woman's flaws can't be blamed on men. But in marriage, each spouse has a responsibility to help the other grow in character, now exhorting, now encouraging.

It may well be that women have a special calling to tame men, to refine the brutish aspects of their nature by holding them to a gentler standard. Even a mild reminder like prohibiting certain habits "in front of the chick" is a step of progress.

But men have a calling to tame women as well. Woman's vaunted compassion is the sunny side of a tendency that, on its darker side, makes moral evaluations based on emotion or what "feels right inside." What feels right is notorious for collapsing into what merely feels good. It may feel good to torment a girl in class, or to flirt with a boss and edge out a coworker for promotion. Whatever pleases me feels good, so I presume that it is good.

Men, for all their faults, are less likely to be confused by slippery emotion. Men's vilified judgmentalism is the darker side of a tendency that, on its positive side, makes moral evaluations based on objective right and wrong, that shows a hunger for fairness and balance. It is rightly suspicious of merely heart-driven ethics.Men need us women to soften them up, gentle and tame them; we women need men to remind us of the rights of others, to make us play fair, and to tame us as well. It's clear that we need each other. You'd almost think someone planned it that way.

-Frederica Mathewes-Green

Wednesday, November 1

Bridgette Raes DialStyle

A little over a year ago, I spoke with Bridgette Raes on the telephone using her new DialStyle feature. What an Amazing experience! In only fifteen minutes I was able to not only learn the answers to questions that have plagued me for a long time (What are my colors? What interesting outfits can I create using primarily skirts and tops? What can I do to make my body look more proportioned in clothing?) but also to offer advice and ideas to help me work on creating an even better wardrobe capsule then I have already! Bridgette spent quite some time looking at photos that I sent of myself the night before our call and even sent a Adobe Acrobat file full of ideas for simple additions to my wardrobe. I highly recommend this service to anyone looking for a more streamlined and chic wardrobe.

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