How is it with you, lady?

This is a little like how my friends talk to one another. I wonder when this started happening. When did we start calling one another lady?
It is entirely affectionate and yet somehow also ironic, in the sense that not one of us could be considered a lady in any of the traditional sense of the word. I mean, sure, we’re all ladies in that we are all women – but most of us aren’t particularly lady-like. Even the very femme-y ones who wear a lot of lipstick.

I wonder if previous generations had more to contend with in terms of their associations with being a lady. In fact, I’m fairly certain they did. But us? We grew up with Free to Be You and Me and that Ladies First story about the “real little lady” who always insists on Ladies First and then gets eaten by a tiger.

So…maybe it’s a little like when gay men call one another “Girl” – it’s a thing that might once have been loaded with one thing, then gets loaded with another.


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