Monday, April 17, 2006

People don't dress up for church any more

The idea of dressing up for church seems lost. Not entirely – some of the moms wore their pre-Easter best, and one a few rows in front was not only 25 or so and attired in comely pastels, but had her hair done in a Marlo Thomas flip. I hadn’t seen that in a while. Behind her was a young mom whose shirt had no intention of getting within six inches of her belt. All around, young men slouching in slouchwear, slouchily, with sneakers and T-shirts. It’s Casual Good Friday! The entire Itchy Church Pants Imperative seems gone. Let him who is without decent shoes cast the first stone-washed jeans, or whatever. If I live long enough I’ll probably see the Supreme Court pose for a group photo wearing Hawaiian shirts and Speedos.

And there were women without hosiery! Okay, I’ll shut up now.

No, really: if you can’t be bothered to wear a collar to church or jury duty, then you have a different conception of “Grown Up” than I do. You might possibly resent the term in the first place. Tonight at the park I saw a little boy, couldn’t have been more than two, toddling around wearing a clip-on tie. Looked right for an Easter evening. He'll probably refuse to wear it in 10, 12 years, regard it as some phoney yoke imposed by the Council for Arbitrary Gender Signifiers of 1066 AD.

I can't believe how far we've strayed from dressing up, for church, for jury duty, or for work. I was looking through old photos of Passover Seders past, and pleasantly surprised to see how elegant everyone looked with nice clothes, makeup and jewelry, and my grandson quite natty in a suit! And that was a ceremony held at home.

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