A delightful old greeting card from many Easters gone by.
If you observe Easter (or Passover), in whatever form that might take, consider the following. It is a special occasion, just like birthdays, anniversaries, and other religious observances. Whether you plan to attend a church service Sunday morning, have been invited to someone's home for a celebratory meal later in the day, or you plan to host a similar occasion, remember to present yourself in a more pulled together way than has become customary in recent years.
While a suit and necktie might not be strictly necessary -- Perish the thought! -- it is amazing the pleasant change that comes from donning simple items like a pressed, tucked in shirt with a sports jacket or navy blazer over top, a pair of creased khaki or wool dress pants, and some loafers that match the color of your belt. I'll wager that many men, and even quite a few adolescent or teenage boys, have these items hanging in their closets already. Why not put your best foot forward, then, and leave the sweats, cargo shorts, ripped jeans, or pajama bottoms for another time? Not because we have to, but because we want to.
With that in mind, it might be preferable to remove that ratty backwards baseball cap before coming to the table (or better yet, leave it at home), comb your hair, and at least try to act like you have a modicum of grooming and polish during the meal. Trust me. There will probably be others present who appreciate your efforts even if they say nothing. At the bare minimum gentlemen, we can put our napkins in our laps, keep our elbows off the table, avoid reaching across the table, chew with our mouths closed, and not inhale our food like barnyard animals at a trough.
Such reminders sound silly and even great-grandmotherly, yes. There are, moreover, detractors out there who will read and reject this in the name of greater egalitarianism. Realize, however, that cues like these become necessary in an era where so many are unfamiliar and even uncomfortable with the slightest hint of somewhat more formal dress and plain, old everyday politeness. While it certainly flies in the face of current convention, an air of sophistication is nonetheless a good thing to cultivate. Like it or not, our appearance and table behavior are part of that.
Regardless of the precise social situation or setting, we want to avoid embarrassing ourselves and putting off others with crass, uncouth habits. Sadly, these seem to have become the norm rather than the exception almost everywhere. So, isn't it high time we take a few steps back from the relentless and belligerent me, me, me attitude that holds sway over so much of society, think a little bit more about others, and how we come across to them?
A few well-ingrained social graces -- like dressing for what are special occasions after all and dining in a pleasant way -- help ensure that we both leave a favorable impression in our wake AND maintain it over time. Out of respect for others, and, perhaps more important, for ourselves. That's really what classic style is all about. Let's keep that in mind as we move through this particular holiday weekend.