This polite phrase is employed at the start of numerous social gatherings, whether we’re talking about a theatrical performance, a ceremonial dinner, a business presentation, or a charity fundraiser. “Ladies and Gentlemen” is a formal greeting used to address a large audience or crowd, regardless of social status. However, the form and meaning of the now idiomatic expression differed in the 16th century. Back then, the phrase “Gentlemen and Gentlewomen” was popularly spreading among the public of the higher social standing. It targeted a particular social class, where the gentlemen were the men that didn’t have to work since they were inherently rich, and the gentlewomen were the women either married to the respective gentlemen or who’s families belonged to the upper class of society. Fortunately, we got rid of this discriminatory sense centuries ago, but an interesting question still remains – why ladies and gentlemen? why not simply women and men?
In order to gather answers to this query, we must first remember about the basics of savoir-vivre and what they preach. Savoir-vivre is the ability to live elegantly and politely, it is the knowledge of life and of the usages of society. The term “lady” refers to a woman who is refined, polite, graceful, and well spoken, it is not related to societal status or wealth whatsoever. On this note, we can say that whilst being a woman is a matter of age, being a lady is a matter of choice. Likewise, “gentleman” denotes of a man’s values, morals and honor: politeness, consideration, and mannerism are all defining of the gentleman. In the ideal savoir-vivre realm, we are all ladies and gentlemen.
The art of being a lady or a gentleman is part of the art of savor-vivre: it’s significant today and it’s accessible to everyone. Hence, the reason why we favor the use of ladies and gentlemen over women and men is that society is seeking to turn the world into a work of art. In order to achieve this, the ladies and gentlemen should be appropriated the roles of the interactive artists that come together and participate into its shaping and painting.