What is Appropriate?

By special request

Yesterday we had an amazing train ride north to San Clemente pier for brunch and then on to San Juan Capistrano.  It is always fun touring the shops on Alipaz St and then we crossed over to the mission side of the tracks. We didn’t go through Mission San Juan this trip but we did have a conversation about how its story and the story of the church gets told in this generation. From the perspective of the mission and the church they were ‘saving’ the heathens (both indigenous and Mexican) from themselves and their practices.

Much like residential schools in Canada the tribal leaders now talk of cultural genocide and abuse. It seemed ironic that there was a sign on a shop that said ” Catholic Book Story Closed – No New location”. It seems that time and perspective rearranges what is appropriate or seen to be appropriate.

After a cool refreshment we decided to catch the 3:42 train back to Oceanside and have a sunset dinner at Hello Betty’s (as always great food and atmosphere). While waiting at the station we began seeing a parade of young women (high school age) posing near the tracks. With a little bit of detective work we figured out that there was a Winter Formal taking place. The women (girls really) were dressed in their Orange County finest. Short dresses (too short) and high heels (too high). I imagine their perspective was that they were out on the town looking fabulous and strutting their stuff before the big party (honestly I can’t really imagine or articulate what a 17 year old girl might be thinking).

From the perspective of some 60ish year old observers it was inappropriate for these children to be out wearing such skimpy clothes. ” how would you let your daughter leave home dressed like that?” I don’t have any photographic evidence of the shortness of skirts or the height of the heels (estimate 5-6 inches) but there was lots of pictures taken. In fact peers took photos, strangers took photos, parents took photos and a 12 year old boy wandered away from his parents and took an album of pictures. Besides parents primping and pimping their daughters while they posed in heels on a heavily used railway track and besides the apparent glamour of skimpy attire and besides the attraction the spectacle drew (here I am writing about it) there was a deep conversation about how something/anything is deemed to be appropriate and what swings the pendulum.

The only conclusion that I came to was that I am so lucky not to have to set guidelines and figure out how to raise a teenager in 2016.

Make Today Appropriate, whatever that means,


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