Sunday, February 18, 2007

Loveliness

I have come to the conclusion that in this deteriorating, multicult world there are few things worth preserving. Certainly not the popular culture driven fads the kiddies adopt that will make their digital snapshots an embarrassment to them just a few years from now, as the vertical bangs worn by high school trendoids in the early '90s now invoke only the response "How did they get their hair to DO that?" (Cardboard bang supports and jugs of hairspray are the answers, in case anyone out there cares.)

After years of being buried deep in the pit of "what's happening now", also known as the public school system, I have come to yearn for this thing called loveliness that I seem to remember existed at one time.

At one time young ladies would not dream of wearing a pair of blue jeans to school; now we are simply glad they do not wear their pajamas (except during spirit week) and carry their well-worn and obviously well-loved stuffed critters from class to class.

At one time a church lady would not think about wearing a pantsuit to services; now the congregation is a sea of drab denim, spaghetti straps, and bare flesh. Painted floozies wear crosses that dangle over ample cleavage and soccer moms wear the same shorts they will wear later on that Sabbath to the game.

But that's not too bad, their husbands are wearing flip-flops and surfer shorts, and the minister (please note the lower case m) wears the best shirt Hawaii has to offer. If asked about their clothing choices, one and all would whine, "But it's COMFORTABLE!"

Now men aren't supposed to be lovely, but there's something to be said for the natty look of a blue blazer, white shirt, and red silk tie.

But I digress.

In some parts of this country, in some traditions (need I breathe the word Southern?), loveliness is still cherished and clung to. Perhaps you think I speak of something long vanished, but I can verify it still exists, having lived within it prior to my purgatorial existence here in lala land.

I verify:

There are churches in the South where the children arrive dressed in freshly ironed, neatly smocked dresses that mama sewed from scratch.

There are academies whose youthful graduates (the same age as my flesh-baring midriff girls) wear fine, white heirloom dresses for the graduation ceremony.

There are girls whose innocence shows in a clear eye and ready blush, who will not brush a gentleman off when he offers to open the door.

There are older ladies whose skin, though wrinkled, and hair, though white, remain neatly groomed. Such ladies inspire respect. No wonder no one would dare to call these ladies by first name only. Miss Hermione, never Hermione, dude.

There are gentlemen who always wear a jacket...at least outside. God blessed us with seersucker for a reason, the reason being the strident humiditity of Southern summers. But even the worst humidity will not prevent a gentleman from showing himself as such.

Y'all can choose which picture you present in your digital snapshots. Will it be the image of drably colored decadence? Or fresh and crisp Southern loveliness?

You choose.