The Tuesday Prude has a daydream.
A dream in which thousands of people from all walks of life, sporting skin tones from freckly pink to glorious midnight, join for the next big March on Washington.
We won’t come together because we agree on everything. As a matter of fact, we agree on very little.
The Tuesday Prude brings a bevy of priggish types who propound the glories of modesty and genteel understatement, (body parts consist of ‘chestal regions’ and ‘hindquarters’, babies come about via procreation, couples in the throes of warm emotions engage in smooching). Our mission also promotes good manners and proper semi-colon use.
We meet up with the ‘America Gets Nekkid’ folks, who arrive clad only in sturdy walking shoes and an admirable sets of goosebumps.
The ‘Call a Spade a Spade ’ Society are in D.C. too. They organized several years ago to convince the world how archaic and unnecessary euphemisms have become.
Grammar Anarchists trickle in. Known best by their slogan ‘For all intensive purposes; we could care less’ they champion for, among other linguistic improprieties, a participle’s right to dangle.
More assemblages join us, like a small, unnamed but vocal group who hold etiquette responsible for the world’s inequities.
What, in The Tuesday Prude’s dream could bind such a disparate group? What do we have in common?
A desire for civility.
So we come together, holding firmly to individual convictions, but demonstrating jointly for a fundamental cause.
This is the Civility Rights March.
The Tuesday Prude’s pipe dream continues. Maybe, before even arriving at our nation’s capital, everyone who thinks civility has for too long been trampled agrees to the following:
CIVILITY STATEMENT OF RIGHTS
1) We will not mock, scorn, or call those with opposing viewpoints nasty names.
2) Interruptions, speaking out of turn and out-shouting others is not tolerated. We all have a chance to express opinions, but only while holding the Stick of Civility.
3) We do not make our opponent appear foolish, or take remarks out of context.
4) Under no circumstances, no matter how major our differences, do we engage in fisticuffs.
5) We vow to use the proper facilities for dealing with bodily functions, leave said facilities looking better than when we came in, and inform management if facilities require attention.
6) We will not litter.
7) We promise to guard the above rights of civility via the use of civility against any and all who might come and try to undermine the rights of civility.
This is our daydream. Someday, demonstrators will come together to actually demonstrate what civility looks like…
Perhaps we overhear a Grammar Anarchist say: “Ain’t nobody going to tell me apostrophes aren’t for plural nouns.” Instead of mocking the extensive overuse of negatives (“So someone IS going to tell you how to use apostrophes?”) we tell them we enjoy their use of the vernacular ‘ain’t’ and any time the language subversive wants to discuss punctuation more fully we are ready and willing. They thank us and admit to occasional appreciation of subject/verb agreement.
Maybe a member of the ‘Call a Spade a Spade’ Society hears a male prude (they do exist) announce, “‘In the future I want to see a woman’s chestal region treated with the same dignity accorded to the hand that shakes the Queen’s: it will be fully covered.”
The pro-CASAS resists, in the interests of civility, taking his statement out of context to make him appear foolish or hypocritical. (“I want to see a woman’s chestal region.”)
The most rabid of full-body coverage zealots realizes that even anti-clothing extremists get cold. While looking the au natural directly in the eye (and only in the eye) the super-modest type won’t say, “Serves you right.” Instead she offers a blanket for the birthday-suit clad nonconformist to ward off the chill. (“No, I don’t need it back when the temps warm up. Really, you keep it.”) The personage in the all-together, recognizing the prudish-types’ sensibilities, willingly covers public seating areas with newspapers or napkins before settling down.
And even though the throw-off-the-yoke-of-etiquette people believe salad greens stuck in the teeth or dangling dried nasal secretions are symbols of liberation, they know they haven’t won over the entire world to their perspective. Therefore, upon seeing a dab of marinara sauce on the chin of a dainty etiquette-lover, our napkin-hater refrains from outward rejoicing and tactfully points it out.
Cleanliness, while not akin to godliness, certainly lifts the spirits. We all dash about emptying trash cans and making sure every facility has toilet paper and running water.
Protests seldom go well. The 60’s antiwar demonstrations always drew a crowd who defended America’s policies. Bitter recriminations erupted from both camps. Those who picket abortion clinics in turn are picketed by their polar opposites and the Occupy Anything people are met by vocally indignant Go Home Now and Get a Job groups.
They all employ their constitutional right to protest. Sadly, many assume this means they also have the right to scream and belittle and deface what isn’t theirs.
But at our Civility Rights March, any misguided prudes who come planning to humiliate our opposition will find themselves politely shushed. We won’t tolerate name calling, finger pointing, or twisted words.
Disagree with us, or disagree with those we disagree with.
Do so in an uncivil manner and we will inform you how we plan to defend the rights of civility. And then we will courteously point out the little piece of spinach in your teeth.