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 ?
@brianklaas Desired: an app that can see whenever I am browsing flights to somewhere that gets hotter than circa 25 degrees and flashes up a message reading "you don't like the heat you idiot, what are you thinking?" @DuncanWeldon Tons of American news outlets are clutching their pearls that Meghan Markle liked a piece of writing with the word "f*ck" in it.
It's telling that it's taken mainstream culture so long to wake up to this, when women have been trying to tell us for decades; it's also sadly predictable how badly that simple concept has been received, with the usual suspects clutching their pearls over the idea that shrugging off awful behaviour with "boys will be boys" isn't actually healthy for anyone, boys or otherwise.
It was the kind of audience that might set TV executives clutching their pearls: Nearly 2.8 million people accessed the stream during the afternoon doldrums (Eastern Time), with the number of concurrent viewers peaking at more than 800,000 at the moment the melon's rind decided to call it a day, sending scads of pinkish flesh flying through the air.
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.