FANCIFUL FRI­DAY

As ro­man­tic as movies can make it seem, the past wasn’t all that great for women

Style Magazine - - Opinion - BY LEANDRI VAN STADEN

You’re hav­ing tea when you hear your gal pal muse: “I was born in the wrong era.”

Yes, you think. Early 19th cen­tury fash­ion was very dra­matic, men stood when ladies walked in the room, peo­ple read po­etry and took long walks to­gether, and ev­ery­one owned horses. What a ro­man­tic time to be alive.

Your fanciful day­dream­ing sees you sip­ping tea in bone china cups, wear­ing silk gloves and over­look­ing sev­eral acres of im­mac­u­lately man­i­cured lawn, while dis­creetly and shyly eye­ing the hand­some gen­tle­man train­ing one of your horses. He courts you. He reads po­etry and plays the harp. Fi­nally, af­ter months of ex­pec­ta­tion, he leans in for a kiss...

“Eeeeuw!,” you shout at your friend, star­tling her half to death, as you shake your­self from your day­dream. “His breath would stink, wouldn’t it?,” you say to the un­com­pre­hend­ing face across from you.

“They didn’t bathe all that of­ten in the 19th cen­tury. And they def­i­nitely did not have tooth­paste.” Uu­urgh, you think. What a dirty time to be alive.

Gladly, you find your­self in an age where not only run­ning wa­ter, but also soap and tooth­paste is freely avail­able. True, men don’t stand when you walk in the room, but that’s un­com­fort­able any­way. Peo­ple don’t ran­domly re­cite po­etry at you, but that’s OK too. It’s weird. Most im­por­tantly, you are al­lowed to work, vote, drive, de­cide who gets to marry you, and so much more. We still have a long way to go, but women have it a grand sight bet­ter than they did 200 years ago, don’t they? You live in the safest (be­lieve it or not), most ad­vanced and most com­fort­able era in hu­man his­tory thus far. As fun as ro­man­ti­cis­ing the past can be, don’t for­get what a fan­tas­tic time it is to be alive right now.

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