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 ?
People like to clutch their pearls about transgender people or homosexuals being a sign of doomsday, but the actual harbinger of doom is just how heartless we are, time and time again, to people we think aren't good enough.