Connecting Appropriately

What, in 2010, is appropriate? Or, better yet, what is inappropriate? Is it inappropriate to ignore a phone call? Use a curse word? Forget to say thank you? Use poor grammar? Is Brittany Spears still inappropriate? Is Madonna? When I was growing up, Madonna’s album had come out and Material Girl and Like a Virgin were all the rage. Were parents cringing then as I do now watching Kesha’s video? I watched her, in her video, put on sexy clothes, leave her family to eat dinner without her, and then cozy up to a male figure in his car and in a bar and express herself very sexually. Before I jumped on my high-horse and galloped away, I reminded myself of Madonna in the 1980s, and Brittney in the 1990s. These were songs and videos of my youth, and I would not have had much patience to discuss whether the message was inappropriate. Are messages too “inappropriate” now? Or am I just older?

I do know that cursing/swearing/using foul language have never sounded appropriate, whether I was a child or adult. However, I also recognize that inappropriate language can make one’s point in a loud way… if you know your audience. I also know that call-waiting bugged me in the 1990s the way that cell phones bug me today. I am not saying I don’t use mine. I am also not saying I didn’t rely on call-waiting many times. I am just saying they are not always appropriate when showing respect for your company/your current call.

Is it inappropriate for girls to be wearing tight jeans? For boys to show their underwear? For older women to use Botox? For older men to wear Speedos? Or do we just all enjoy sitting in judgment tsk-tsking at others? It is definitely inappropriate to be rude or backstabbing or dishonest. It is inappropriate to knowingly hurt someone, or to bully or to judge when you haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes. But is it appropriate to condemn? To give unwanted advice? To gossip? To gloat?

We can all agree that being the person we strive to be, the person we are proud to be, can only be appropriate. Behaving inappropriately on occasion is a part of life, but more importantly is behaving with self-respect, and then the only eye of the beholder that matters is your  own.