So, it seems that whenever history-o-philes like me start waxing poetic about how we actually wouldn't really mind living back in the (fill in the century here), some wiseacre feels the need to remind us of those little inconveniences that life in the past would present. Some, of course, are totally valid. Like no running water. Notice I don't say no toilet. I can deal with that. But I like my running water. More on that later.
So, a Friday Five--historical difficulties I can actually deal with:
1) Complicated Systems of Undergarments. I like wearing a lot of clothes. The more the merrier (until July...but then nothing is pleasant, clothes-wise). I don't mind the corsetry and petticoat layers required to acheive historical style. In fact, I kind of wish we'd return to more formalized underthings--they make one feel much prettier, in my opinion, than something boring and cotton from a Hanes package. Despite the fact that this may be an overshare, I'm wearing a 40s style garter belt and stockings right now. For Kicks. And I've discussed before how Stays Don't Stink.
2) That Whole Not Voting Thing. Yes, this stinks on a theoretical level. But consider the way it could work for you. Your husband gets to vote. OK. Now, who makes dinner? And pie? That's right! You make dinner and pie! And who likes when you make his favorite dinner and pie? Exactly. You see where I'm going. He gets to go stand in line to cast your vote. For dinner and pie. And let's be honest--you like making pie anyway. (PS And we all know that you'll know, in that polygraph test that is inter-gender communication.) Before anyone gets all indignant that I'm trivializing women's rights, two points: Yes, I'm joking here and No, I'm not completely joking here. We seem to have a notion that women must have all been oppressed and unable to effect any change, and that's a belief I see bucked over and over again in the quiet histories of ordinary people. Women were smart. They found ways to assert themselves.
3)It's Really Hard Work. You're right. It is. Totally is. And I know I only really dig in on it a few weekends a year, but I do love it when I do it. Scouring tables. Jointing chickens. Hauling firewood. Stoking the fire (ok, not that part. I'm bad at that part. I make a boy with bigger lung capacity than me do that part). But here's the thing--hard work is really, really gratifying. Manual labor makes you feel alive. After sitting behind a desk more hours of my day than any human should, I've come to value the experience of fresh air and blisters. And you sleep great.
4) They Didn't Have TV (or computers or phones or whatever). Well, they did have books. And sewing. Two things I like a lot better than TV. And, whenever people comment on crazy-passionate lovemaking in historical films, novels, or nonfiction? My response is always, "Well, they didn't have TV." There are trade-offs, people.
5) No Toilets or Running Water. OK, yes, toilets are nice. But I think one would get used to privies and chamber pots without too much inconvenience. And giving up frequent showers in favor of less frequent baths and daily washbasin touch-ups wouldn't be a terrible swap--who doesn't like baths? But the part that would stink? No running water in the kitchen. Holy mackerel, do you have any idea how many buckets I go through washing stuff to cook, boiling stuff in, and washing up after? Now that's a pain.
So, what could you live without? What would you not be willing to deal with?