Sunday, May 13, 2007

More than modesty

Last week, in the bus on my way home, I saw a young girl dressed in a lovely, modest, feminine and elegant way. She wore a cream-colored summer skirt, a pretty pink blouse, her hair was nicely arranged and there was just a bit of makeup on her face. What a lovely girl, I thought. She certainly looks like a lady!

The bus was pretty much full. I was sitting and she was standing right next to my seat when an old man stepped in. Naturally, I got up to free my seat for him. He nodded and gave me a smile of gratitude (it was a very hot day).

… But before he could sit down, the seat was already occupied by the lovely young girl I admired a few minutes ago. The old man looked flabbergasted. Perhaps she didn't notice him! I approached her gently and said:

"I beg your pardon, but I got up so that this old man could sit."
She stared at me with dismay.
"Why should I care? I'm tired," – she said, rather loudly, unaware of the glances she was attracting.
"Well, so am I," – I persisted, - "but we're young; surely standing for a couple of minutes won't kill us!"
Only then, very reluctantly, she got up and the old man sat down.

For the rest of my way home, I thought about how being a lady is so much more than dressing modestly and with good taste. What about kindness, patience, a gentle spirit, respect for the elders? Compassion and putting the needs of others first? A true lady should nurture and cultivate these virtues. If they are missing, it really doesn't matter if she's wearing a ball dress or a baggy pair of jeans.


Emily said...

This is so true Anna - modesty is first an issue of the heart. Sometimes I have found myself dressed modestly, but then judging and criticising other girls at church for not being "as good as me"! It was a complete contradiction - a pride, boastful spirit dressed in modest clothing! I am just writing a post on modesty now, will be posting it tomrrow probably. Hope your studies are going well! Mine are incredibly boring at the moment, but it will be worth it when it's all over.

In His care, Emily

Buffy said...

How true!

I am happy to report that on a recent long train journey my 71 year old mother was given a seat by someone else.

I am especially pleased to say that it was not another woman or an older man that gave up their seat but a young male student. Chivalry is clearly not dead.

Anna S said...

Hi Emily! My studies are going fine, thank you very much. The pressure is rising, though.

Buffy - chivalry is not dead... unfortunately, neither is rudeness.

Tracy said...

An excellent post, Anna!

James said...


You are so right that modesty does not guarantee true charity in a person's heart.

The scene you describe is a good microcosm of the fallen world in which we live.

You must forgive me, but it makes me think of the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. We see here, modesty and beauty in dress, engender pride when they are viewed only as goods of this world. Indeed, this pride got in the way of this girl's love of neighbor. However, when beautiful attire is seen as an outgrowth of the healthy self-love God wants us to possess, it takes on a much greater dignity. This is because it is an outward sign of the significant spiritual goods that accompany a healthy love of self and make possible an altruistic love of neighbor.

What's the saying... "the clothes do not a person make"? However, they can be an outward sign of a man or woman's virtue

Pax tecum.

James B. in CT

Anna S said...

Hi James,

I definitely think modest beauty has a value, and that gentle feminine appeal should be cultivated. But if it's just an empty shell... it isn't worth much, in my opinion.

Haus Frau said...

"Like a gold ring in a swine's snout, is a beautiful woman that lacks discretion."

The above proverb is one of my husband's favorites. It speaks not only of 'dress' but of 'heart.'

Your comment of ***it's just an empty shell... it isn't worth much*** is spot on, Anna.

Thank you for this post.

Bethanie said...

well said!

Sheri said...

Oh you are right Anna! Let's model Christ in ALL areas, not just in our dress. May the world see Jesus in us!

Candy said...

So true!!!!

Christie Belle said...

Oh my goodness, you were so kind to give up your seat for that gentleman, but I just can't believe the nerve of that other girl! You are so right, being a lady is so much more than what you dress and look like!

Mrs. U said...

How sad that this lady wanted to give the appearance of being a lady, but was, in fact, FAR from it. The term "Lady-like" is definitely something that comes from the heart and cannot be worn on the sleeve.

Mrs. U

Melissa said...

:O I love this post! My friend, Mrs. U read this and sent me right over! Do you mind if I post a link on my blog to this post? This has really been on my heart, but you said it well enough! I would really appreciate it!


Anna S said...


Thank you for stopping by! You are most welcome to link to this post, of course. As a matter of fact I'm flattered that someone actually bothered to dig into my old posts :)