Lately I’ve been getting more and more into vintage. Mr. Dreamy has an old sedan delivery parked in our backyard in Devon, which I initially fought on the basis that it’s trashy, but I actually kind of like looking at a cool old car when I take our puppy out to pee. We go to antique malls for fun just to look (or to see what I’ve sold, as of last week), and always end up finding a little treasure and taking it home. I’ve been wearing some authentically 50’s and 60’s dresses as well, and don’t mind the relative discomfort (they had no lycra, and every pretty fabric was itchy) because I know this dress has a history, beyond being made by a poor mom in Thailand. I love wearing history, even if it means I have to be careful getting out of my car. Last night Mr. Dreamy and I were watching Memoirs of a Geisha. We’d both read the book (seriously, he read the book. And he’s straight. How’d I get so lucky?!?) but he’d never seen the movie. I’d seen it twice. A new thought struck me last night though, as I was watching the scene where the narrator is describing the pain of being a Geisha. Sleeping, standing, not eating, it’s all painful when you’re moulding yourself into the image of beauty. Today, we tend to think of that as ridiculous and cruel. We also prefer to make our children obese over obedient. It’s the pendulum swing. So my thought: maybe it’s the pain of doing what it takes to be beautiful that made people a little more disciplined and less entitled many years ago. If you go back far enough, even men used to wear girdles…and they weren’t nearly as fat as we are now. How could they be? They didn’t have cars or microwave dinners.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the times we’re in. We have opportunity, technology, and cupcakes. What I think we’re missing however, is pain. We’ve gotten rid of most of the physical pain that used to be necesary for just being part of society. In doing so, we’ve created a much bigger pain called “low tolerance”, and that’s the stuff that screws up lives. If something sucks, quit it. Because nothing has ever hurt me before, I bail when anything hurts at all. And I am speaking personally, this is a big problem for me. Witness my divorce and multiple (I have to be in the 20’s now) jobs. So maybe this is just me, but I somehow doubt it. If I go for a walk today in my town, I’ll no doubt see people wandering around in pajamas, guts hanging out, with “easy” read: hideous haircuts, and I can only guess how many years they’ve been on the welfare. These are merely symptoms of a larger problem of not experiencing pain. These people are on one end of the spectrum, and on the other side we find the Kardashians. Why are you famous, Kardashians? I know your Dad defended OJ Simpson, so he had to have gone to Law School for that. Ok, he was famous for a reason. But why are YOU famous? Did you do anything? Do you currently do anything? I don’t care who you’re dating, I want to know exactly why I have to see you on every trashy magazine when I go to get groceries. Back in the day, celebrities used to do stuff, like sing or act or dance. They used to have talent. Now they have boobs and rich parents. My point? I love vintage, because it takes me back to a time when everyday life was a little harder, a little more earned, and people took care every day. Ladies dressed up. Men opened doors. Stars were actual stars. Surrounding myself with old things reminds that I feel better taking care every day. And yes, I need a bit of daily pain.
Note: Spanx for whale-boned corsets remains the best trade in history.