Saturday, January 24, 2015

Isn't It Simply About Respect?

I know I've ranted about clothing styles, pajamas in public, jeans, leggings worn as pants and so on. Whereas I'm not one to present myself as any kind of fashionista, I do make an effort when such is warranted. I had this discussion with both my daughter and my hubby recently.

While she was away, my daughter attempted to dress in a more formal, covered up style which is the custom in Curacao. She did this for two reasons. One was that it was her adopted country and she wanted to fit in. Despite the heat, people dress modestly. Secondly, she didn't want to be harassed in a country where females can potentially be the target of inappropriate male attention. She shared further thoughts on this.

Since this was now what she considered her temporary homeland, she actually found herself offended by tourists, some of which were getting off cruise ships, in even less than casual attire. For example, what is someone thinking when they disembark wearing little more than a flimsy bathing suit, with or without a partial coverup? Are they expecting to locate a previously undiscovered beach in the middle of downtown Willemstad? Are they making some kind of statement? That's just one example. I don't think there's any reason, particularly with modern technology, why people can't do a modicum of research about places they're visiting. It's nice to understand what's acceptable or preferred in any particular culture. On the other hand, there should be a degree of common sense, something severely lacking in this day and age. Would you wear a bathing suit to visit downtown Toronto?  It goes way beyond "I'm on vacation. I want to relax. I'm entitled," particularly when these same individuals return home only to complain about the poor service, the rude looks or the ignorance of the people in other countries.

Hubby and I talked about this further. He prefers a more comfortable look, is clothed nicely when necessary, but it's not his preference. I pointed out that I always welcome opportunities to make an effort. I suppose it's a sign that I'm getting older. What appears to have become the accepted norm doesn't sit well with me anymore. If you don't wear something other than your house and garden attire for church, for specific functions and special holidays, or at a better restaurant, when do you dress up? Perhaps the answer is never.

Again, I reiterated my point to hubby. I enjoy the more formal opportunities afforded when going on some cruise lines for example. Being retired, I wear grubbies around the house all the time and don't get many chances to dress up.  A friend of mine shared that she would never go on a certain cruise ship again. Her reasons were very similar to mine. She related that she made reservations and paid extra for a specialty restaurant while on this cruise line. She was offended, when she dressed for an evening meal and found that people with t-shirts and baseball caps were sitting at a table next to her. Are we to assume that they showered and changed into their best t-shirts and baseball caps after a day of touring, shopping, or going to a beach? Perhaps.

I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the days of  "Leave it to Beaver",  when the woman walked around the house in a dress, makeup, hose, and pearls, with her hair perfectly coiffed and the man sat reading the newspaper in his shirt, tie and suit. Those folks always seemed ready for any occasion. They could leave the house at the drop of a hat and go anywhere. Don't get me wrong, I like my casual wear, at the correct times and in the appropriate places. I have no idea how Mrs. Cleaver was able to avoid gardening dirt, bleach streaks, oil stains or food chunks on her clothing and in her hair.

Essentially, in my opinion it's all about respect...respect for others, respect for the circumstance, respect for the surroundings and above all,  respect for oneself. As the saying goes, "a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect."

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