So Not Okay

on July 16, 2012 in Misc

I have two subjects today. The first is brief and sweet.

In case you didn’t catch it, Michael Offut gave The Compass Master a  very intelligent review on his blog, SLC Kismet (  You’re wonderful, Michael.  And as soon as I finish reading Slipstream (it is SO good), I’ll be returning the favor.

My second subject is a rant.

Yes I know, I’m prone to rants, and this one has nothing much to do with writing and only a little something to do with action hero stuff.  See, a long time back I wrote a post here (humorous, obviously) about how action heroes might look and dress.  Usually they’re glamorous.   At the very least they’re clean and put together when out in public, unless they’ve been fighting bad guys or have just escaped from a dungeon.  And in a convoluted kind of way this leads me to the question…

When did it become okay to look, act, sound and dress like skanky brain-dead trash in public?

See, I was raised with a sense of physical self-respect.  I learned to groom before going out in public.  This meant washing up, brushing my hair, and putting on whatever cheap but clean kid clothes were in my drawer.  It was a routine that took just a few minutes and about one ounce of self-discipline.  Adults had the same routine:  they wore reasonably clean pants and shirt or a dress and spent a few minutes grooming.  They respected themselves too much to allow themselves to look like crap, and they treated other people with respect.  At least that’s how I remember the struggling middle-class world I grew up in.

OMG how things have changed.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned about this, but I believe that if you go out in public, even if it’s just to walk the dog, you don’t let tits and ass or a hairy potbelly hang out there for all the world to see.

You do not walk the dog in  mid-morning hours or stroll through the grocery store while wearing pajama bottoms because you’re too pathetically lazy assed to pull on real clothes, and you don’t wear torn spandex slut tops and bluejeans below your ass while simultaneously trash talking at the top of your voice.

You do not show up at a high school graduation ceremony dressed like you give blowjobs for $5 in alleyways, and you don’t let your kids dress like that either.  If your teens are pallbearers in a funeral, you tell them it’s not okay to wear bluejeans and a T-shirt.  If they can spend hours and big bucks dressing up for the prom, they can put on a suit for a funeral.

You do not cuss like trailer trash on speed in front of your children.  You do not treat your kids or strangers or anyone like garbage just because of the  mood you’re in.  You do not forget to teach your kids basic manners and how to be civil to others, because they want to know how to get along in this world even if you don’t.

As for tattoos:  Nobody much cares about a couple tattoos.  But when you cover your body with tattoos and then flaunt your huge flesh scribbles in public, remember what Tina Fey  said:  your body “looks like a dirt bag’s binder from 7th grade metal shop.”

Yes I know, you can do what you want with your body, and you can act rude and crude wherever you go because you’re special and deserve to do whatever you please.  You can foreswear all personal grooming for religious reasons.  You can be a hopeless slob with a heart of gold.  You can be a psychopath and look like the cover of GQ.  You can argue all you want.

But here’s the thing — I’m not talking about people who are too poor to buy a few nice items of clothing from Goodwill ($2.99 average for tops and shirts, and I should know).  I’m not talking about homeless people or blue-collar folks after an exhausting day on a dirty job, because such people are in my experience usually civil and decent and kind.

What I’m saying is what my friends and family and co-workers are saying:  where did all the dirt-ignorant rude trash people come from, why do their numbers seem to be growing, and why do they keep shoving themselves into our faces even as we go out of our ways to avoid them?


13 Responses to “So Not Okay”

  1. Those pictures – I think I’m scarred for life!
    I always dress in a nice shirt and shorts or jeans when I go out. What’s sad is when you see people dressed like that in a restaurant.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – I came across much worse photos but didn’t want an X rating for my blog. And you so don’t want to see people like this while you’re eating.

  3. Thank you so much for the shout out. As for unclassy folks, I blame education. With so many people choosing not to finish high school and even go to college, the bar has become lower and lower. People no longer aspire to do anything but get a job that “pays the bills” and then buy the cheapest things that they can get their hands on.

    Basically, with that attitude comes class. You can have class without money (it’s mostly attitude) but if you aren’t taught that from an early age and just grow up in a family like the one pictured in Shameless, you no longer have appreciation for fine things. Mac and cheese is considered a gourmet meal. Olive Garden is “living it up on the high life”. Sweat pants from Wal-Mart are the best thing ever and Keystone Beer is the gold standard while you sit in front of your trailer house with a t-shirt two sizes too small in lawn furniture that doubles as your house furniture.

    Basically, we are becoming a shameless society.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – You’re so right that it’s about attitude, not money. Someone mentioned a scary link that you might want to check out (or maybe not) called People of WalMart, and what it shows is enough to make you sick ( You just know that some of the alleged humans pictured in it drive expensive SUVs and trucks, but they’re shameless pigs in appearance and behavior. Seriously, I’ve chatted with homeless people who have more dignity.

  5. Hart Johnson says:

    It can be a fuzzy line… I’ve been known to wear pajama bottoms to run to the store or walk around the block, but only the flanel, covering kind. I guess I figure I am more covered than I am in shorts and they are the sort my daughter has worn to school. I OFTEN wear sweats, somthing that would have mortified people in the 80s.

    Dress occasiona I am more careful about, but probably always a degree more casual than many. I think I’ve been making up for my painful years in advertising.

    Dirty clothes, though, or parts hanging out, fall over the line.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart – There’s nothing wrong with sweats or work-out clothes — I go out in them too. Like you say, it’s when body parts are hanging out that’s over the line, or when they’re so skin tight you can count the pubic hairs. Also, it’s the rude and/or cruel behavior that’s just too much.

    I briefly worked in advertising too! The emphasis among the women on dressing up all the time was plastic and exhausting. No wonder a couple of them were heavy drinkers. Ironically, one of the best female workers there dressed in bizarre goth gypsy type clothes, but everyone loved her because she was a sweetheart and brilliantly efficient.

  7. I wish I had a solution, but all I know is that I see it everywhere. Perhaps the pendulum will soon swing the other way. Just don’t make me wear pantyhose ever again.

  8. LOLOL I’ve seen the people of Wal-Mart thing. And it’s very true.

  9. Helena says:

    Carol – What? You don’t like wearing pantyhose? But they’re so much fun on hot summer days! Hey, except for my black ones (in the winter, and they’re more like dance tights), mine are vintage ’cause I haven’t worn ’em in years. I’m just too cheap to toss ’em.

  10. Ciara Knight says:

    Taking this one step further. I can’t stand to see people in shorts at the theater or ballet. It almost seems disrespectful to the arts.
    Of course, I’ve got a 14 year old boy, so I live this challenge daily.

  11. Helena says:

    Ciara – Kids I don’t mind, since I was a teenage fashion disaster. It’s the adults who should know better.

  12. Old Kitty says:

    Yay your blog is back!!With a vengeance! Oh dear!!! I have two big bugbears about the grooming that people (fail) to do but do so in public.

    1) guys who wear their jeans below their bums to show off their underwear.
    2) woman who put their make up on while on the train – usually in the morning when it’s packed.

    Amen. :-)

    Take care

  13. Helena says:

    Old Kitty — I thought I was the only one who got annoyed when women put on their makeup in public. Lipstick or lip gloss, etc., don’t matter, but eye makeup and foundation? Tacky tacky.