I was sitting directly behind a lady in church yesterday morning whose phone started ringing. This happens from time to time, so no one was getting out the hand basket to send her in just yet. However, my face got beet red when she took forever to find the phone in her purse, and then answered it and talked on it for what felt like 20 seconds as the preacher was giving his sermon. Who does this?!? As I wrote on Facebook, even Jesus would’ve slapped her upside the head with a hymnal. I think everyone was in such shock, including the pastor (who was on a roll with his sermon), that we let it slide. But we shouldn’t have; someone should’ve called her out. And perhaps someone did after the service, for all I know. The only thing I would’ve known to say to her would’ve been, “Have some decorum in the House of the Lord, if nowhere else, ma’am.”
In this day and age, when most all of us can wear a T-shirt and jeans to 90% of the places we might go socially, people have lost a grip on what it means to have some decorum. Sure, we all have cell phones and need to take calls from time to time. And we’re all in a hurry and it’s tempting to cut in front of people who are moving slow. (I witnessed this twice at Sam’s Club last week; people with one or two items were whizzing by those of us with shopping carts full of stuff to be checked off our receipts before we exited the building.) But the basic principle remains: Be decent, polite, and in good taste. It’s not that hard to do; don’t tell dirty jokes or swear in front of kids, for instance. Most of us learn this kind of thing at an early age, but others either slip through the cracks or just don’t care. Like the lady on the phone at church, bless her heart. She obviously didn’t know better…what other excuse could she possibly have?
Admittedly, I’m no kind of aristocrat, Southern or not. (I know this might come as a total shock to new readers of my blog; the Web site title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, to say the least.) But I do consider myself to be a gentleman, and therefore I strive to exercise some decorum at all times. Different situations call for different levels of decorum; those of us who were fortunate enough to be raised properly can decipher between these levels pretty easily. Don’t wear Umbro shorts and Crocs to the opera, for instance…this decorum thing isn’t rocket science, for crying out loud!
I’ll end with this pair of GIFs from Ugly Betty. I’ve never watched the show, but one of the Tumblr blogs I read posted these and they’re on topic.
Long live decorum, and all hail the Queen! (Couldn’t resist, as this Jubilee celebration going on is all about layers upon layers of the D-word.)