This was the central concern of my parents – respectability – a typical bourgeois concern – although my family never heard of that term – and probably would not have considered it respectable, if they had accidentally heard it used back in their throughly respectable Middle West.
Today, no one remembers that compulsion – probably because the memory of it is too painful. It is certainly the central curse of our accursed family – one which I am just beginning to come to grips with.
To begin with, that was the reason my parents married – to be upwardly mobile, successful, and therefore more respectable. The two hated each other with a passion – but that didn’t stop them from marrying and having children – who couldn’t cope with all the dark currents swirling around them.
However, they did succeed in being seen as respectable – how, none of their children could understand. Evidently, they realized everything depended on appearances, and they concentrated on that – and ended up being hypocrites – but since this too was common, no one noticed.
In all fairness, I should admit that they were like most of their peer group for that time and place. I am sure this is one of the reasons for the decline of America. With a start like this, it’s a wonder we even survived.
Expect to hear more about this subject.