Aprill Brandon's Life Happens: Mad (Wo)men
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So, this past week I have been living in the 1960s. In all, its booze-y, smoke-y, American Dream-y, white picket fence with 2.5 kids-y glory.
Alas, it's all been vicarious living, courtesy of one Mr. Stephen King and one Mr. Jon Hamm. Still, the other day I caught myself saying "Golly!" so it at least felt pretty real.
Yes, I just finished King's newest novel "11/22/63," which is all about a man from 2011 traveling back in time in an effort to prevent Kennedy from being assassinated. Amazing book, by the way, but what I love most about it is the descriptions from that era. Like most people of my generation, in our we're-all-hipsters-who-make-fun-of-hipsters culture, I love any and all things vintage (which is why we all "ironically" download "vintage" camera apps for our cell phones).
But I've always considered myself more of a 1920s gal. Flappers were my icons, not Doris Day (who I've always kind of wanted to slap).
But King got me thinking that maybe I had dismissed idolizing the '50s and early '60s too soon. This was especially evident when I also started watching "Mad Men" on Netflix as well (only five years behind everyone else!) and got swept up in the excitement surrounding the premiere of season five of the show. I mean, sure, that whole "women getting back to the kitchen" thing makes me want to stab an innocent apron to death. But that time period does still has its charm.
Which is why I composed the following lists:
Reasons I think I could live in the 1960s
• Guys like Don Draper existed.
• Newspapers were thriving (not to mention, the delicious sound of typewriters).
• Birthday parties for kids included booze. In fact, pretty much every occasion called for booze. Including pregnancy.
• You could smoke anywhere. At any time. Without vegan health nuts giving you the stink eye.
• TV sucked, which meant there was more time to do things like read ... or drink and smoke.
• Butter was a GOOD thing to eat.
• Everything moved slower and everything was an event. Even making a telephone call was an event. One, because with those rotary phones, it took nine minutes just to dial so you pretty much had to really commit to it. Two, there was also the cord, which made it impossible to move much beyond the kitchen or the living room or wherever the phone happened to be. So there was none of that talking on your cell phone while driving, putting on mascara and eating a cheeseburger all at once.
• It'd be another half a century before Crocs were invented.
Reasons why I couldn't live in the 1960s
• Guys like Don Draper existed.
• Job options for women consisted of: 1. Getting Coffee Then Slapped on the Behind or 2. Housewife.
• You were expected to eat copious amounts of aspics. That's jellied meat. PEOPLE. JELLIED. MEAT.
• It was much more difficult to get your hands on porn.
• Bra technology was downright primitive.
• You couldn't automatically delete a bad photo of yourself and immediately take 25 more photos until you got that one angle that made you look 10 pounds slimmer.
• People actually said "Gee whiz!" without a hint of sarcasm. Hell, I'm not even sure sarcasm existed back then.
• The inside of every house had that hideous fake wood paneling on the walls and carpets that looked like they were made from murdered Muppets.
Hmm . yeah . no. Think I'm just going to drink a Scotch while reading "Valley of the Dolls" for awhile and then go bask in the glorious fact I can Google Ryan Reynold's abs. Viva la 2012!
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.