12:10 AM

Why didn't I learn Social Graces?

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I've always yearned to be a LADY. A proper, sophisticated, well groomed, well mannered, graceful Lady. Who's skin is always in top condition and clothes are elegant yet modest. I've searched far and wide for this "inner me". Through clothing changes, Renaissance re-enactment in the SCA, and religious change into Islam. Finally in Islam I received my answer. I already embody this Lady in my heart. Now just conforming my outside appearance would be more challenging. Obviously though the abaya it is elegant and modest and if you add the lovely black gloves it is indeed sophisticated. Hijabs of all styles allow one to be modest and still fashionable.
So OK I have the clothes and the heart. What about the graces and manners? Islam teaches the best of manners for sure and I strive to follow them. Graces?
AHHHH here is the crux of the matter! We as young girls in America don't really learn these social graces as formal education anymore. It's too 50's-ish. Feminist says we must BE men Equal in every way. So I never learned to walk gracefully balancing a book on my head etc.. I never got to learn how to primp to look best for one's husband. (I'm not talking make-up and teddies ladies....) No one ever taught me to do all these feminine things!!! I'm not talking about being able to excite a man I'm talking about being a graceful LADY. Grace and poise, grace and poise! No one taught me how best to set a formal table or which fork or spoon comes first. I was envious in the movie "Mona Lisa Smile" the Etiquette class they had.
My brother-in-law's wife is the most graceful person I've ever met. She wastes no movement as she glides (not walks). Her gestures are simple and elegant and even wearing sports clothing she exudes grace and poise. I watch her in awe. Her mother has that same grace as does her brother (but in a manly way). I wonder if it's genetic or they learned from their mother.
How does one learn grace? Why aren't we taught in school or by our mothers how to be WOMEN!!!! The ART of being a WOMAN!!! Why can't they teach us? You see these politicians wives at the sides of their husbands exuding grace and poise and the sense of everyone knowing she has a lot of control BUT SECRETLY! Where did they get it from! Where can I get it? I've read hundreds of Historical Romance books longing for the social graces they exude.

In school you are either in the popular crowd where the more flesh you show the better you get noticed or you're in the out crowd which develops your personality cause you can't make it physically. Well I fully admit it I was in the out crowd I was the FAT GIRL in school who
was made fun of. How can you learn grace if you're constantly being told you're not good enough?

I'm not graceful or elegant....*munch munch munch* !Weight goes up! People
laugh.... strive again to dance with grace but once again people laugh at the fat ballerina..... *munch munch munch* !Weight goes up! ITS A VICIOUS CYCLE!

I didn't have the option of taking home EC in school so I don't know if you learn something useful in there like how to be a good housewife and be graceful but I sure wish there was a class in this.

Why is America against bringing up good housewives and good graceful women who can teach their daughters and sons a good way to move about the earth? Sometimes I feel like a clumsy ox lumbering around my house especially when i run. I want to soar like an eagle majestic not putter like a car on empty. I know I have graceful movement sometimes and I strive to use them more but it's not learnEd so how can one teach oneself? I'm angry at America. I'm angry at feminist that don't want me to be graceful at my husband's side supporting him with my silent strength as good women can.

Now I'm all for the betterment of womankind but can't we keep our gracefulness? I want to be a LADY!

6 intelligent thoughts:

Susie of Arabia said...

I think we all have grace, but maybe in different capacities. Perhaps your grace is the deep love you have for Islam, your husband and your children. Your words can be very graceful too, and your smile lights up your whole face, and I can see grace there. You are you! You are more graceful than you know.

American Muslima Writer said...

Thanks you for you sweet comment and insha'Allah I try to live up to it :)
My marriage councelor once said I should smile more because it changes my whole face to the better. SO maybe this is a theme? I should always smile more then.
I hope I'm as graceful as you think. :)

Anonymous said...


(smile... or people will wonder what you are up to...)


Anonymous said...

People tell me I am graceful, that I am a lady. If this is true, then I guess I can offer some advice. The most important thing, which you already possess, is that you want to be a lady. From your blog I see that you also already have the qualities of a lady: the virtues and values of a good woman.
Next, hold up your head, always, and speak slowly and allow yourself to think before you speak.
This is what I try to do, conduct myself with dignity. I bet you are much more poised and graceful than you realize, it's just that you're not vain, which is good!

American Muslima Writer said...

Thanks AM!

Anon: That is good advice. Thanks, and I'm only vain when no one's looking ;) I'll try to do what you advised.

Umm Yehiya said...

Assalaamu alaikum, American Muslima!
LOL, wow, you're always spot on in my book! I'm just discovering your blog these last few days (especially in moments when I'm procrastinating from packing...istaghfirallah!), and I'm continually surprised how much our opinions coincide, alhamdulileh!

I can tell you right now - Home Ec does NOT teach you how to be a lady. Wouldn't that be nice? This topic is something I too dislike about American culture - the modern, "feminist" backlash against the strong-silents (or not-so-silents; the strong-dignifieds), the supporters, the behind-the-scenes managers of home and family, the ones who inspire dignity and grace. I'm with you.

Even for men too, actually, America has this mindset that everyone needs to be the showcased star. Everyone needs to be the leader, everyone needs to be flashy and hard-nosed if you're going to WIN. I say, people in this society would be a lot more peaceful if we accepted all types, all roles as equally important - including among many things, the mothers and wives who raise and nourish the family, who protect and preserve the home and heart.

I have always loved all things historic. I love beautiful things and am greatly moved by them. History seems to have cherished gracefulness, elegance, dignity, more than modernity does.

I am not a terribly social person, but I have found the people for me who command the most respect are the ones who exude sweetness, kindness, gentleness, grace.

After experiencing social situations, I find that I am more pleased with myself if I was able to have self-control, and be dignified. Sometimes I get rowdy, giddy with excitement that I am out and with new people in an energizing place. But I disappoint myself when I feel it gets out of hand; I want to reign it in. I can say too much, laugh too loudly, start saying things that sound too egotisical (in my opinion) or "ballsy" - more than I really am. Because like you, in my heart - inshaAllah - I believe I am more simple, quiet, serene - and it's THAT which I aim to practice as the expression of my self - the REAL self, which means you have to shed the protective clothing (which is what I think is where the public, "ballsy" attitude comes from - a self-defense mechanism to hide the truly tender nature underneath) and be brave. Be yourself - let that smile shine, pure, true.

Support Earth Hour March 26, 8:30pm, Turn Off Your Lights!

Earth Hour - Proudly Committed