Often at times I find myself questioning the monotony of my technology-driven life, wishing that I had been born in a different era. I have nothing else to blame besides the heavily romanticized period films that lay stacked on my working desk; the films that I watch when I feel like sniffling and eating ice-cream for no reason at all, and also when I feel like sniffling and eating ice-cream for every single reason in the world.
My jealousy towards women in fictional period films is unruly. Whilst watching Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t deny that I wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet just as much as I wanted to enviously tug on the perfect tendrils of her hair. Her life, to me, seemed unfairly ideal (so much so, that I completely overlooked the horrifying diseases and short life expectancies common to the early nineteenth century). It is because of the multitude of period films I have watched, that I whole-heartedly believe I should have been running through apple orchards holding onto an overflowing petticoat, instead of walking down bustling side streets in micro denim shorts. For a while I thought that my daydreams made me an obscure minority. It wasn’t until a sleepover that I had in my late teens, when I arrived at the comforting realization that I wasn’t the only girl in the world with a fascination of living as a woman in a different era.
I recall bringing up my fantasies after a discussion on the lack of chivalry in boys had reached a riveting crescendo--it was seemingly appropriate, as there has yet to be a man in a period film that hasn’t been a charming romantic! I blurted out, quite bashfully, that I sometimes wish I was born as a protagonist of a Jane Austen novel: floating on grand dance floors to the beautiful sounds of an orchestra, with a man of class and intellect, seemed dangerously endearing to me. I had no expectations of the conversation to expand any further, but as if I had provoked some form of domino effect, one by one my friends began to confess that they too often wished the same thing. After I had shared my dreams of walking hand in hand with a man in a tailcoat and top hat through infinite pastoral landscapes, I heard dreams of life as a seductive flapper attending the decadent parties of the Jazz Age, to dreams of life as a 1940s female, suggestively sipping on malts at a diner and jitterbugging with soldiers to the tunes of a jukebox. These confessions made me feel comforted, and also made me realize that history is tauntingly elusive. Living in the 21st Century, we will never truly know what it would have been like to be a woman of an entirely different era, and it is this very elusiveness that feeds our enchantment and our fascinations.
After we had all confessed to our longings of life in a different era, the room was engulfed in a tranquil silence. We were staring into darkness, the distant daydreams of billowy dresses and balls and genteel men drawing a surreptitious smile on all our faces.