Socal arbiter/fashion cop defines "classy" women

In the more than 13 years I have been writing this column, The Tribune’s editorial department has given me the flexibility to write on any subject I cared to pursue. I can only recall two occasions where the editorial management was “thumbs down” on two topics; one bordered on being X-rated. It dealt with the changing habits of Black folk when it came to what I will refer to gingerly as, “engaging in romantic encounters” today as compared to the past. You will figure this out sometime tonight while trying to fall asleep. The other was on the changing hue of Black folks; you must know there have been big changes in our pigmentation compared to what our complexions were years ago. Yes, controversial subjects, but if you regularly read my column, you know I do not hesitate to “push the envelope.”

I love to venture into controversy, and I have been on the receiving end of some not-too-pleasant comments about my views. Such was the case some years ago when I asked, “Where have all the good girls gone?” Then, only a month ago, I called for the return of the “traditional woman”. I have not learned from these prior experiences; here I go again! I recognize that you young folk may not be familiar with the term that is the focus of this column. But you know what I refer to when you see this female with striking physical characteristics, smartly dressed; walking with extreme confidence. She nods when she passes, and, shows a warm smile. While there may be another side to her, I suspect your reaction upon first glance is similar to mine. If you are from my era, do you conclude that she is one of those women who were quite prominent in the past? So, where is the woman who commanded such attention; the woman every man wanted; the woman everyone referred to as “classy,” back in the day?

The classy woman had and continues to display a certain style. You could spot her a mile away. In addition to the characteristics I mentioned earlier, the classy woman had a particular look; an air of confidence that was sometimes intimidating. Quite often she sported a hat and gloves, along with a skirt or dress that was just the right length and makeup that was understated. If you are a male, you know that even with a “strong game,” you were ultra-cautious in approaching a classy woman. She was one that you had no problem taking home to meet your parents; she was one you would love to have in your presence. A few of you guys recall how you would proudly stick your chest out when going out in public with a classy woman on your arm. She was the equivalent of the famous “trophy girlfriend.”

There were some other clothing items that placed a female into the classy woman category. A Chesterfield coat with was indicative of class. A matching hat added to the image. What is your reaction to a female with a muff? Classy, without a doubt! Think of a female wearing a St. John’s suit with spectator shoes. Still, classy women could dress sexy as long as the clothes were not too revealing. You know the type; jewelry in moderation; clothing that is unique. What she wears makes her stand out. The things we often see today rule out a number of women for a classy designation. The dress or skirt length might be a consideration. Flamboyant dressing, an over-the-top look showing too much skin and cleavage are clear indicators of not being classy. Some people even view bare legs, though otherwise, “dressed up,” as not classy. You hear this quite often from older church-goers who sit around and critique women walking down the aisle in church. Wearing starched jeans with heels creates a classy image. Baggy pants, overly tight pants and T-shirts, or jeans with holes, relegates one to the non-classy category. Bottom line, classy women have clean and refined looks. They have a look that immediately attracts the attention of all men, particularly refined young men. To females looking for a companion today, trust me, your chances will be enhanced and will increase significantly if you embrace the habits and style of the classy woman we knew, back in the day.

While how one dresses is important, being well-mannered is also a trademark of the classy woman. The classy woman is generally good with words. Using profanity, particularly in public, signals an absolute lack of class. Can anything be more disgusting? Well, perhaps seeing a female “dressed up,” walking down the street and stopping to spit is a close second to using profanity. Talking too much, not permitting others to get in a word, are other signs of little or no class. One’s posture, how one walks and, something as simple as rolling one’s eyes, are other lack-of-class indicators. The classy woman must demonstrate femininity. So, understand that there is far more to being a classy woman than just appearance. Thinking back to my college days, while some females appeared to be classy, this characterization changed once grades were issued and it was learned they were on probation. A classy woman could not be dumb. A study showed that looks accounted for 50 percent in qualifying a woman as classy;while the other 50 percent was based on her inner qualities. Thus, the lack of good manners, being rude, always complaining, gossiping, talking behind the backs of others, putting down others, being a hard loser, losing one’s cool, talking with food in one’s mouth, yawning with mouth wide open, picking one’s nose in front of others, body odors, sporting a large and obnoxious tattoo, not speaking in an articulate manner are all signs of the likelihood of not being classy today and were applicable, back in the day.

Consider the following and tell me whether or not they represent a lack of class: Chewing and popping gum; smoking in public; dressed to kill and riding around in a dirty automobile or asking a man for money. Last weekend my wife and I were in a hotel restaurant and two females came in for breakfast with large rollers in their hair. I just shook my head. During this same weekend, at a football game, a young lady sitting in front of me with that store-bought, long flowing hair kept digging into her hair and scratching her scalp. Obviously, she was trying to soothe the itch where her weave was secured. There was nothing classy about what she was doing. Now, I know some of my brothers will wonder why I am going down this road, but a female going out on the first date and being intimate, and I mean real intimate, you get my drift, is a no-no and not the style of a classy woman. How would you view a woman out on the dance floor engaging in the “slow grind”? Such behavior speaks volumes in terms of not being classy. When I see a female, dressed up, stopping at a gas station to pump gas, I shake my head ,even though full-service gas stations are rare. Does a dirty trunk of a female’s automobile cause you to think about her being classy as opposed to not being classy? If not, going to a female’s home and the bathroom is dirty, ring around the bathtub and hair all over the sink makes a judgment regarding classy very easy.

My classic story of the female who lacked class is one told to me by a friend some years ago; during a trip to Washington, D.C. he met a very attractive female who, based on appearance, seemed classy. He convinced her to go with him to one of the finest restaurants in D.C., the type with waiters in tuxedos; no waitresses. After being seated, he started to sense that the class he thought existed just was not there. She had great difficulty managing the menu and ignored placing the napkin in her lap once drinks and food were ordered. Observing the difficulty she was having from the menu, he ordered for her. What a mistake, he told me. The mistake was in ordering soup. When the waiter delivered the soup and placed it in front of her, this apparent classy woman placed her hands around the bowl of soup and lifted it up to her mouth and started to drink it.

I have no doubt that most men prefer a classy woman. Then again, classy women were and remain to this day, the result of the existence of so-called “perfect gentlemen.” As I know that a number of my “sisters” will argue that I am picking on them, next week I shall go down the road to examine what happened to the perfect gentlemen. It can be argued that classy women have disappeared as they is no longer in the company of classy individuals, perfect gentlemen in particular. Believe me; I shall level the playing field.

So, you are on the hunt today and you like many of the things in this column. The problem, however, is where one turns to find a classy woman today. There are still some around, but if you see what I see as I move from place to place, classy woman are a dwindling breed. Finding one is a challenge, as the classy woman has been left for the most part, in that place that I refer to in my columns each week, back in the day.

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