Rep. Allen West (R-FL) appears to have some fairly strong opinions about what it takes to act like a lady, and he expressed them in an email to his colleague, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) yesterday. “You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up,” he wrote to her. “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” Given the restrictiveness of Mr. West’s vision of ladylike conduct, I thought it was important to provide him with a primer on things ladies are allowed to do.
1. Put one over on clueless heirs to beer fortunes, trick them into marriage, blow their minds with the fact that you have an actual sexual history, and then seduce them all over again:
2. Provide vicious rhetorical beatdowns to young ladies of inappropriate class backgrounds who seem in imminent danger of marrying your nephew:
3. Decide that a fully realized sexual life is an integral part of being human:
4. Understand that position’s all well and good, but that it ultimately can’t stand in the way of modernity:
5. Never, never, never surrender, even if it means that people decide you’re a pushy, capitalist tramp.
6. Stand up for their sisters’ honor:
It’s not surprising that West made the mistake of assuming that being a lady means a pliant, adorable cream puff. Lots of folks do. But Debbie Wasserman Schultz is heir to the best part of the lady tradition: the tough as nails one.