I was in Vermont last weekend, among the pines, snow, and elegance.
Well, to be more clear, Best Friend and I watched the 1954 movie, White Christmas, and the movie transported me to a more beautiful era. That is where I was for a couple hours – in post-War Vermont. The characters in the movie were always well-presented, their hair always combed, their clothes pressed, and they exhibited civil decorum, even during a spat. It struck me that today, our society has sadly fallen to something in the hideous department.
While I was growing up, we had three sets of clothes – a uniform for parochial school, Sunday clothes, and play clothes. We kids always wore our Sunday clothes all day on Sunday, to church and at home. Play clothes were just that – for play. And I don’t need to explain the uniform for school; it’s self-explanatory. Yes, there was a time that one did not wear pajamas to school and church.
I was horrified at the institution of casual Friday at work, and the public styles of students when I was attending college in the 90s: uncombed hair, pajama bottoms, pajama sets, ripped clothes, bedroom slippers, and smelly body odors.
To quote Kelsey Grammar’s Frasier Crane, “What fresh hell is this?” was my thought.
These days, people generally make fun “the olden days” of the years prior to this – ahem – casual-sloppy style. They shudder at the thought of the days when you presented yourself well in and out of the home. When you never left home with your hair still in curlers or your face unshaven. When ripped clothes were not the fashion. When language was respectful and not bombarded with the f- and s-words. Oh, that’s so old-fashioned. You get the idea, I’m sure.
This season, many of us will find ourselves in the mix of parties (office, family, friends). Even if the gathering is among your immediate circle of friends or family, do you dress up? I mean Ladies, do you comb your hair, put on a little powder and lip gloss, and wear your best clothes (not those yoga pants or jeans)? Gentlemen, do you eschew those ripped up jeans and faded sweatshirts and don your dressy trousers (pressed, of course) and a nice polo shirt (at least)? Do you have clean and manicured nails?
Recently, I thought about the manner of dress these days, and there is something that our predecessors were on to – being well-presented was respect for oneself and respect for others. I don’t see that generally these days. Dress up – really dress up – for the parties and events you will be attending this season. It is a fact that when you are well-presented (no sloppy clothes at church, for example), you feel better about yourself, and you produce better. It is a fact.
Now, you might find yourself the butt of jokes if you show up at a holiday party this season dressed up, clean, and classy. Honestly, I was in that situation many times. I invariably attended functions dressed appropriately for the event, and that meant a dress and jewelry for the opera, tailored clothes for the office, and neat clothes whilst shopping. There were people (strangers, mostly) who made fun of me for wearing a nice outfit to a function. There were co-workers who laughed at me when I didn’t wear (what I consider) loungewear on casual Fridays (remember that debacle that started the sloppiness at work?)
Even at home when I spend the day there, I rarely don’t wear a bit of make-up, but at least I comb my hair and wear nice clothes, and my nails are clean and manicured. The times I won’t wear something nice at home is when we are pulling weeds or cleaning house, for example. Those situations call for work clothes.
Yet, physical appearance is not all that is profoundly lacking these days. In the language department, do you let vulgar language flow freely from your lips, not caring who is around you? It isn’t becoming nor befitting. Moreover, today’s vernacular is vulgar and tasteless and does violence to the ears and the hearer. This is so very unfortunate since the English language is rich with wonderful phrases and singular words that make it a pleasing language without the f- and s-words used abundantly as verbs, adjectives, nouns, determiners, prepositions, and interjections. I don’t use vulgar language because I don’t believe it’s lady-like or intelligent. I’ve been made fun of for this, and there have been people who, when they learn this about me, will ramp up the vulgarities in my presence or within earshot. In fact, when I worked at an air traffic control facility, the vulgar language was de rigueur. Nearly everyone out of the 75 people that worked there used vulgarities – men and women! And when I asked these “offenders” to please not speak that way to me or near me, I was met with shock (at first), then laughter in the break room that was near my office. Yes, I could hear them make fun of me. There was a time, dear readers, that when women were in the same workspace, the men watched their language. It’s passé in this era. Women are known to let that filth fly with the best of the men. That, dear readers, says more for those people than anything. People that purposely do what you disdain for whatever reason (religion, upbringing, et cetera) in your presence have no manners nor compassion nor class. Be bigger than that. You will reap wonderful rewards as a result – others will think highly of you, you will be more of a delight to be around, and you will feel better about yourself, too.
Best Friend and I decorated The Oasis at Four Queen Palms for Christmas. Up went the tree with a few presents underneath, and it looks inviting this year. A dangly beaded ornament was inviting to Mademoiselle Kitten one evening when the tree was lit, but she quickly learned it’s a no-no toy for her. Rat Terrier and Doxie are oblivious to the tree. Just as well. ￼
Baking is on the near horizon in my kitchen; the cookie dough is made and frozen until such time. The fruitcake is busy fermenting, and my menus are being finalized. We have a few concerts to attend. And, of course, we have a slew of Christmas-themed movies we are watching, and we play Christmas carols every day.
One of these evenings, in front of the crackling fireplace and with carols playing in the background, Best Friend and I will start writing out our Christmas cards.
Make your holiday season classy.
Lady Susan Marie Molloy
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