Flipping and Flopping in the House of Whiteness

Manolo says, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have emailed the Manolo about the story of the college girls who wore the flip-flops to meet the Mr. President.

Before visiting the White House, Kate Darmody carefully planned her outfit. She bought a sundress from Ann Taylor. She put on a strand of white pearls.

And then she slipped on flip-flops to meet the president. So did about half of her teammates from the national championship Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team, invited to the White House last Tuesday after a 21-0 season.

She didn’t think twice about the footwear until she got an e-mail – in all capital letters -from her brother.

“YOU WORE FLIP-FLOPS TO THE WHITE HOUSE????!!!!” he wrote after checking out the picture on the team’s website.

What can the Manolo possibly say to this, except to note, as he has noted in the past, that we live in the sadly debased era, when the standards of the proper dress and the fit comportment have become the mere suggestions, to be observed or not observed at the whim of the individual.

These girls they do not know–their mamas have not taught them–that properly dressing according to the occasion, it is about the respect; respect for the occasion, respect for the other persons present, and respect for the self.

Yes, the Manolo he is most happy we live in the age of democratic informality, when the humble need not bow and scrape before the mighty, when free peoples may greet each other in the spirit of amity and concord as equals. Yet, at the same of the time, he cannot help but think that we have gone too far in this process of the levelling.

To the mind of the Manolo, the somewhat exaggerated politeness and more formal dress of the previous era gave the dignity and proper sense of self to even the most humble. To put on the suit and tie and shined shoes, to wear the dress and stockings and pumps, these things they recalled one to correct behavior, and demanded of others the respect.

Now, we wear the flip-flops and the shirts of the Hawaiians to the church, and to the funerals, and to meet the Mr. President in the House of Whiteness, and we think that this it is fine, but this it is only because we have forgotten the pleasures and social benefits to be had in dressing properly.