Dear vintage enthusiasts,
I don’t mean to dig too deeply into words that are generally innocent. Still, I have a bit of beef with those who say they were born in the wrong era and begin to talk about the good old days when Tinder didn’t exist, bathing suits were all high waisted and boys still had letterman jackets to let you borrow. I’ll explain. I’m a New York native, Spanish-speaking woman of color. I’m also (primarily) a Lindy Hop dancer, an African-American street dance of the 1930s and 1940s. While these are basic ways of describing myself that I am proud of now, when I hear people say they wish they were born 50 or even 100 years ago, I can only imagine myself living as I do now in those times. And it doesn’t look good! For those like me, my rights and opportunities would have been extremely limited and I would not have the privileges I’m lucky to have now.
Yes, it would have been a dream to live when so many of those beautiful old films were being produced or when film photography was the only way to capture those romantic dates on the beach we wish we had. But I think we’re romanticizing a time we didn’t live in. We still have diners and milkshakes. We still have punk shows and mohawks. I think it’s easier to see past decades as ideal if you would have been priveleged enough to still take advantage of that era. I would love to be in the early 90s hole-in-the-wall bars. I would love to see how the 70s took hold of an entire generation to emphasize love. The music between the 30s and 90s alone is enough to make me wish I was alive during those times! But it wouldn’t be all I picture it to be, especially for me. The best we can do is appreciate the good parts of those times and still recognize that it wasn’t all perfect.
Obviously, no time period is perfect. There are still so many things that need to improve and change. But it’s important to know that there were never really “good old days” for everyone. By saying you were born in the wrong era, to me, it feels like you’re devaluing the progress we’ve made, even if you just really love how cute those 60s mod sunglasses are. And trust me, I get it. Images: 1, 2, 3, 4