When I was a kid the unspoken rule was that girls wore dresses to church. Around the time I was eight, I got bold and dressed for church in a pair of slacks. When Dad told me to go put on a skirt I told him with GREAT confidence that God didn’t care what I wore. Dad gave me THAT look and said, “I do.”
These days I sometimes wear pants to church. But they’re always nice pants. And I still like to put on a pretty dress or skirt of a Sunday morning. It makes me feel like I’m getting dressed up for God.
I go to a rural church and quite a few members of the congregation wear blue jeans or casual clothes and I think that’s just fine. The clothes are always clean and neat. Shirts are tucked in. Ladies aren’t showing too much skin. Hats are off. We may be more casual than we were 20 or 30 years ago, but it’s clear everyone is making an effort.
Not so when my husband took me out to a VERY nice restaurant to celebrate the release of my novella. This is the sort of restaurant you go to once every year or so for a big-time celebration. Ritzy. Swank. The wait staff dresses to the nines. They give you napkins color-coordinated to your clothes and they use those little crumb scrapers between courses. A lovely treat.
So we dressed up. I wore a little black dress with fabulous heels and my husband had on dress pants with a nice shirt. My purse matched my shoes. We arrived and were seated and looked around.
We were the only people under 60 who looked, well, like we hadn’t just rolled out of bed and pulled on whatever we could find. Jeans and t-shirts. Ratty cargo shorts. Tennis shoes that probably needed to be tossed. Guys who, I’m hoping, had just stepped off the golf course. Clearly they could afford decent clothes if they could afford the food. So why the not just casual, but downright ratty attire?
Seriously, I’m asking.
-Is it that people just don’t care?
-Are they too self-absorbed to bother?
-Have the standards really and truly changed leaving me in the dust?
-Is it a lack of respect–for self and others?
I’m interested to hear what you think. Either which way, I’ve decided that, like my father on that long ago Sunday morning, I do care. And I’m going to keep dressing nicely. I think it’s a good way to show respect for myself and for the situation. A good way to let people know I’m willing to make an effort.