Shape Up
By: Bill O'ReillyMarch 15, 2018
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Shape Up

Alert people know that attending a funeral or memorial service is a solemn occasion that demands a certain decorum.  You are there to honor the memory of the deceased and show respect to the family. 

A few weeks ago, I sat in a non-denominational chapel awaiting an emotional service for a very kind woman I had known for 40 years.  Her grown children and young grandchildren were devastated by her sudden death from a heart attack. 

All the mourners in the chapel were appropriately dressed except for one select group.  As an old school guy, I wore a tie and jacket as did many of the older men.  Some guys had open collars but were neat and shoes were generally polished. 

Most of the women had dressed conservatively and their clothing could best be described as “church going.” 

Then there were the males under the age of 35.  Many of them wore sneakers and hoodies, jeans or cargo pants.  Most had not shaved. 

The contrast in appearance to the women they were with was stunning. 

Two questions: did these young men not realize they were dressed inappropriately or did they not care? 

And why didn’t the ladies tell them to change their clothes before they arrived?

After the service which was held in Denver, I asked a well dressed younger man those questions.  I did not want to confront the clothes violators themselves because of the venue.  Conflict at a funeral is not good. 

Anyway, the guy essentially told me that forethought is not big for many of his peers.  They are not introspective people, thinking about proper etiquette and the like.  It was a Saturday.  Jeans and sneaks are their weekend uniform.  So they wore them to the service, not thinking twice about it. 

The woman question was more complicated and the young man had no answer.  The ladies obviously understood how to dress for a solemn occasion but, apparently, did not share the insight with their male companions.    

Over the past few years, standards of behavior in public have dropped dramatically.  For example, folks used to be neatly dressed when they boarded an airplane.  Now many passengers look like extras from The Walking Dead.  On the plane leaving Colorado where the temperature was around 25 degrees, the guy in front of me wore short pants and an untucked floral shirt.  He was going to New York, not Honolulu.  I wanted to say “hey, Don Ho, are the bare knees really necessary?” 

Fearing arrest by a federal marshal, I withheld the verbiage. 

Doing your own thing can actually be a positive in America because many of us prize individuality.  But there are lines that should be respected if you care about other people. 

When the memorial service for my mother was held a few years ago, no one came dressed inappropriately.  That’s because they knew what was acceptable in the church.  My family does not deal with morons and that cuts down on the angst of life. 

But getting back to the ladies and their foolishly dressed male companions in Denver.  I think it’s all about judgments and standards.  Younger people do not want to judge, generally speaking.  They have been taught not to confront insensitive or even boorish behavior - don’t stress about it.  Let it ride. 

If I had told Hoodie Joe and Adidas Mike that their attire at the service was inappropriate, I would have been the problem, right?   

“Who is this guy,” they might have said. 

In an age of self-involvement and narcissism, traditional rules of engagement even at funerals are dissolving.  Society now looks the other way, preferring to accept the appalling. 

That’s the legacy of the “no clue generation” and you don’t have to attend an event to see it. 

Simply turn on your computer.

TagsCulture WarU.S.U.S. culture