Casual Living: The Evaporation of Decorum

Michael Tchong Ubertrends

A passenger was removed from a plane at La Guardia Airport after creating a commotion that started with him shouting “Don’t say, ‘Merry Christmas!’ ” to a flight attendant.

In Santa Clarita, California this incredible case of road rage was captured on video:

“Aggressive driving” first reared its ugly head during the 1990s, a decade that saw the number of cars increase by 30 million, which traveled an additional 600 billion miles each year by 2000. The fact that the term “road rage” was coined in 1988 is telling.

A July 2016 AAA study found that nearly two in three drivers, or nearly 67% believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago. Yet, 78% report having engaged at least once in aggressive driving in the past year.

Escalating lack of manners are such an ignominious part of U.S. fabric that eight out of 10 Americans surveyed say rudeness and disrespect are serious problems, according to Public Agenda.

Many observers believe that “road rage” is an real-life manifestation of “trolling” — an online form of anti-social behavior designed to enrage forum or social media members.

The Casual Living Ubertrend is fueled, in part, by the rapid growth of the world’s urban populations, which has turned cities into faceless masses of people. Anonymity encourages offensive behavior because there’s no need to act responsible.

“Shielded from the hostile outside environment by tinted windows and a micro-climate that defies the seasons, a driver can develop a sense of anonymity and detachment,” reports the NHTSA. The internet does the same for anonymous trolls.

The trend has the biggest impact on fashion. Only 12% of U.S. companies adhere to a traditional dress code, according to a survey conducted by Rowenta. “Business casual” is part of a growing trend that encourages dress informality. An undesired side effect of this trend is the evaporation of decorum.

Where once it was deemed entirely appropriate to dress up for travel or to when going out, it’s now commonplace to see people wearing sportswear on planes or playing roulette in shorts.

Casual Living has been a boon to the global jeans market, which grew to $122 billion in 2016. But it has had an adverse impact on the sales of men’s suits, which have been declining steadily.

Hip-hop further fanned the flames by creating an ”athleisure” look — instantly recognizable by its generous use of obesity-shielding velour.

The preference for casual wear has led to less formal entertaining, as evidenced by flat formal china sales in the past few decades.

Could there be a return to more well-mannered times? Not likely. Americans believe society today is generally more ill-mannered than it was 30 years ago and that civility in politics is particularly lacking. Expect to see more air and road rage participants dressed in shorts.

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