Have We Become Too Casual?

When I ask this question, obviously the first thing that comes to mind is the way we dress.  But as we were recently deciding what to do with the two sets of china we have, I started to think about other ways we’ve become more casual.  

The way we dress

Clearly, Americans dress far more casually than we did fifty years ago.  I remember when I had to wear dresses to elementary school.  The only time I could wear pants was when it was cold and I wore them under my dress to stay warm!!  (I really hated that.)

Comfort is probably the biggest reason people say they dress the way they do.  But does comfortable have to be sloppy?  I’m afraid that’s where we are today.  Business casual is a lot more about casual than it is about business.

You can look sloppy no matter what you wear.  I never understood wearing pants that were so long they would drag on the floor and eventually fray and look ratty.  I also couldn’t comprehend coming to work looking like you’d just rolled out of bed.  No makeup, hair quickly pulled back and the appearance of no thought as to what to wear that day.

The way we entertain

When I talk about entertaining, it’s more than the way we dress.  It’s about what is served and how it’s served.  

Entertaining used to include china, silver and crystal glassware.  The dinner was sit down, with possibly fancy appetizers and drinks beforehand.  You might even use place cards to indicate where each person should sit for dinner. 

Today, you’re more likely to have a BBQ party, with people sitting on the deck drinking beer out of a cooler.  Paper plates are the norm and the food is served buffet style.  You and your guests are wearing shorts and t-shirts and sitting in lawn chairs.

I’m not saying one is better than the other.  I’m simply wondering how we made this transition?  Is there anyone out there still entertaining formally?  

The way we use our homes

Many homes don’t even have dining rooms these days.  And if they do, it seems they’re empty or used for something else.  Even if they do have a nice table and chairs in them, are they used for entertaining?  Or do they become a dumping ground for books, backpacks, etc.?

People don’t have china cabinets anymore either, because they don’t have china to put in them.  Or nice buffets where cloth tablecloths, napkins and other accessories were stored.  These things are handed down in a family but no one knows what to do with them!!

Furniture is focused on comfort first and then looks.  It seems formal living rooms have gone by the wayside as well.  Now we have great rooms where families spend most of their time.  (This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  A living room that’s never used seems like such a waste of space!!)

The way we eat

I remember when going to a drive-in for dinner was the greatest treat.  And going to a sit down restaurant was an even bigger deal.  Today, going through the drive-through is the norm.  Even yesterday, we ate at a sit down restaurant but our meal was served in paper trays and our drinks in paper cups.  Why?  

Is this because we’re lazy and don’t want to wash dishes?  Is paper better for the environment than the soap and water it takes to wash dishes?  While I’ve come to accept this and it’s generally OK, I wonder why we stopped using regular plates and glasses.  We weren’t even given any silverware!!

The way we communicate

Yes, even the way we communicate with each other has become more casual.  When was the last time you sent someone a thank you card, actually through the mail?

How many Christmas cards will you get this year?  How many will you send?  With Facebook, email and texting, there’s almost no reason to take part in this holiday tradition anymore.

Even texting has become a lot of abbreviations.  We can’t even type out “are” but instead we use “r”?  No wonder no one can spell these days.

What about you?

Do you agree we’ve become too casual?  I don’t think it’s all bad, maybe just a different way of life.  I’m sure every generation has seen this happen.  But I’m not sure we can become any more casual!! 

What have I missed in my list of ways we’ve become too casual?  What’s your opinion about our casual lives?