Dec 8, 2009

You Know What THEY Say…

How to behave and act appropriate is to be, what is known as, “socially acceptable.” The question then is what defines social acceptance? Well that’s easy… because “You Know What THEY Say…”

“THEY”, the enigma, the anonymous group that sets the standards of what is socially acceptable in almost every facet of life. How much sleep you should get a night, what SPF to wear on the beach, what to recycle. THEY have governed almost every aspect of our lives.

You know what THEY say about… not eating after 7pm or even worse eating before bed. What THEY say about how often to exercise, how much water to drink while working out, what vitamins to take. What THEY say about what to eat before an exam (is brain food really a combination of peanut butter and eggs? Eww together?)

And you know what THEY say about… never wearing white to a wedding and only wearing black to a funeral. What THEY say about what gifts to buy for certain events, or that white shoes can only be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

And you know what THEY say about…
kids who go to college, kids who don’t go to college, about getting into college, what to do and what not to do while in college. What THEY say about how to act at your first job interview, what to do at work, and even how to act at a work party (you don’t want to be THAT PERSON who drinks too much at the office Christmas party, especially in front of the boss)

And you know what THEY say about… getting married too young, and getting married too “late.” THEY say all brides and grooms must remain unseen from one another on the big day until vows are exchanged. And that brides should not even think about walking down that isle without something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue- (I think there may even be some nonsense about a penny in your shoe- but THEY didn’t emphasize the penny part too much so it didn’t stick.) If your not even thinking about getting married in the near future, then you know what THEY say about what to buy as a wedding gift (pay for your plate).

And you know what THEY say about…
what to do to avoid conceiving a child, and then what to do to conceive a child. What to do while pregnant, what to eat while pregnant, what to do in labor, and finally how to raise your child.

The list could go on and on. The truth is that somewhere along the line we have allowed “THEY” to control and define the standards of how we act and what we consider to be socially acceptable. “THEY” have created criteria for almost everything! It has become an epidemic. But even more importantly that this epidemic is the question- “Who are THEY?”

Now, in all of my years of school if I ever came across an unusual fact, my teacher would caution me to identify the source before accepting the information as truth. So I wonder who is the source? Where is the truth?

Was there ever a group of overly elite nobles know as the original “THEY” who sat in judgment over everyone? Was the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz supposed to be an original “THEY”? Were there people who decided what was the “rule” and forced everyone else to follow suit?

Probably not…
So, until we can identify the source of the “THEY” we should stop pushing the “You know what THEY say” onto another poor generation.

Being socially acceptable can be a very positive thing. Sometimes it is good to act orderly and appropriate. But we must remember to keep boundaries on our ideas of socially acceptable. Sometimes orderly and appropriate is too structured and rigid, and the reasoning for acting in such a way is rooted in an unidentifiable source.

For every instance when we feel compelled to act socially acceptable, there are equally as many moments to be dangerous and forget “what THEY say.” I suggest we throw out the catch phrase “you know what THEY say” and follow the motto of “a time and a place.”

“A time and a place” allow us to have some wiggle room. We can find an excuse, a reason, a “time and a place” when its okay to stay up late, forget the “something old,” or the “something blue,” and eat after 7pm…hell have a midnight snack. I think its okay on your wedding day take a peak at your fiancĂ© before you walk down the isle, or eat dessert before dinner, or even wear white shoes in the winter (well maybe I’m getting carried away with white shoes) ;)

Screw the elite “THEY”! Sometimes the politically correct notion is boring and ridiculous; so disregard it and live a little. Remember to savor the moments when we have the opportunity, the “time and a place”, to throw the politically-correct- socially-acceptable nonsense out the window!


“First THEY ignore you, then THEY ridicule you, then THEY fight you, then YOU win” – Gandhi