Hello, you absolute delight of a human being! How’s your Tuesday going so far?
Everybody’s a bit of a sucker for nostalgia, aren’t they? We can all get a bit misty-eyed thinking about the past, whether it’s an event from childhood or a night out from last week. Even if we weren’t actually around for them, we think very fondly of times gone by. (For example, I would love to have been running around with the beautiful and damned darlings of the inter-war era, tearing up London with a cut-glass accent and wearing devastating dresses. I was born a mere eighty-nine years too late to be part of that crew. So close.)
Times change and people change with them. Technology, education, culture, language (and basically everything else you can think of) all transform unrecognisably in a few short years. In general this progress is an excellent thing, but have we left anything of value behind? Have the fads of fashion left us bereft? Aren’t there traditions and ideas which might benefit us in the present day? We can’t ask Doc Brown for a lift to the past, but here are a few old-fashioned practices I think we ought to resurrect:
The first thing I should say about this one is that most hats don’t suit me, and yet I think we ought to bring them back as standard clothing items. Hats add a level of respect and formality to greetings. For example: men tipping their hats to ladies, which is just a nice greeting, or people removing their hats as a sign of respect when they enter someone’s home. Hats also have the Sunglasses Effect – which I explained in this post – everyone looks dashing in the right hat. (It’s just unfortunate for me that my ‘right hat’ is basically a bonnet. Whatever, I can deal with that.) When society wore hats all the time we all just looked a lot smarter and cooler, in my humble opinion.
We don’t really need letters anymore, if we’re honest. Emails and Facebook messages can take forever if you’ve got a lot to say, texting is very straightforward and, if you’re feeling super old-fashioned, you can always pick up your mobile cellular telephonic device and give someone a ring. We should bring letter-writing back for two reasons: firstly, the time it takes to hand-write and the money it costs to post letters shows a level of courtesy and attention which means much more than simply pressing “send”. Secondly, if we can’t use a backspace key then we might think more carefully about what we say and how we say it. If you want to make someone feel special, send them a letter.
You know when you’re watching a period drama or something similar, and everyone starts dancing in a very complicated-looking pattern without a second’s hesitation? Someone from the sofa always says “but how do they all know the steps?” Because that was a massive part of British culture in the Regency period, basically. All children were brought up learning dozens of dance steps, because dancing was where it was at. Flirting, favour, showing off how ‘accomplished’ you were, making friends, spurning enemies and holding pleasant conversation all happened on the dance floor of Austen’s time, and all of that social exertion was accompanied by lightly beneficial physical exercise. Why don’t we do that anymore? What a brilliant way to bring people together for a boogie, without resorting to deafeningly loud music and Jägerbombs.
There are loads of other brilliant old-fashioned things that we could bring back if we wanted to. For instance, I have a friend who always wears a pocket watch, and another who favours the cigarette holder. This insanely talented friend even makes vintage clothing. Whatever it may be, I hope that something from the past makes your present day life more enjoyable.
I’m off to buy a bonnet. Have a gorgeous day.