clutch (one's)/the pearls

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clutch (one's)/the pearls

To react in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. Parents should try not to clutch the pearls every time their teenagers come out of their room dressed outrageously—it only makes them want to push the envelope even further. My mother would always clutch her pearls whenever I began telling her about a new boyfriend, so eventually I stopped filling her in altogether.
See also: clutch, pearl
References in periodicals archive ?
The rattling noise you can hear is the sound of The Lady's readers clutching their pearls in alarm as the new blonde broom of Rachel's self-confidence sweeps away everything in its path, including faint protests from the man who hired her.