Monday, January 5, 2015

Kids today!

Last night, I had The Manners of Downton Abbey on in the background as I got ready for the work week; the special laid out the various aspects of culture and manners amongst the British upperclass and their servants during the Downton time period (the early part of last century).

And it made me wonder...a hundred years down the line, what would an expert on our times say about the culture and manners of us?

How to Make Money

In the distant glory days of 2015, young men and women in American society were expected to "follow their dreams."  From an early age, they would have been prompted by family members and popular culture alike to "find a passion" that satisfied them on a deep, personal level.  This essential feeling of wholeness, or "fulfillment," was the single most valuable indicator of individual success, and was also believed to vary from person to person, thus no adequately all-encompassing definition exists.

Though emphasis on personal happiness reigned supreme, the unspoken assumption was always that if one had truly found one's calling, one would be richly monetarily rewarded.  "Do what you love, and money will follow," sang one popular aphorism of the time.  For this reason, young people had little to no hesitation hurtling themselves into paralyzing and ruinous debt whilst securing college degrees for which there were no viable employment options.

How to Dress

You could dress like this in 2015, and it'd be cool.
Dress in the early 21st century was as wide-ranging and creative as at any time in history.  Individuals were encouraged to have a "style" and to stick to it as a means of expressing identity.  Women frequently changed hair color, and tattoos experienced a brief, intensive revival, as did facial hair amongst men.

Interestingly, negatively critiquing the clothes other people wore was considered a marketable skill, far more profitable than professions such as aerospace engineering or neurosurgery, which lacked entertainment value and therefore had lower societal value.

How to Court

Social media played a large role in courtship standards during this time period.  "Apps," such as Tinder, accentuated the discrepancy between gender expectations:  Women, raised on Disney movies, aimed for the ideal of being both flirtatious and aloof, both experienced and innocent ("a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed").  They were expected to be serious about commitment, but not too serious, but maybe pretty serious, but not all that serious, but just serious enough, because they would scare suitors away if they expected commitment, but would never nab a suitor if they didn't expect commitment.

Men, with access to unlimited pornography for the first time in history, as well as a lifetime of being told "not to settle," had no idea what the hell they wanted.

How to Eat

Men and women in the early 2000s had access to nearly unfathomable levels of information concerning the nutritional value of most every offering in the mind-numbing cornucopia of foodstuffs available.  Mostly, they ignored all of it and ate crap.

How to Behave

Social standards of the time were lax in comparison to earlier time periods - definitions of gender identification and sexual orientation were changing, becoming more mainstream, and protest against any "expression of self" was consider offensive, sometimes even criminal.

The modern man or woman would have "binge-watched" popular television shows on streaming video services during weekends and after work hours.  They most likely would have had a dog, an animal that, at that time, was frequently mistaken for an underdeveloped human being in the households of otherwise stable adults. 

Marriage and children were viewed as optional lifestyle choices - not necessities - and jobs were far less important than the more holistic "career," that fabled definition of self-worth, endlessly hyperbolized in the absence of any true purposeful contribution to society.

Lives would have been recorded via "smartphones" and "shared" online.  One would never have been without one's phone, for to be unreachable would have meant the possibility of "missing out" on the fun of other people pretending to have fun.  And then sharing it online.

In Conclusion

Life in 2015 was a magical time, filled with endless information, opportunities, and possibilities that people rarely took full advantage of, but at least they would have celebrated themselves with an inane hashtag while not doing so.


  1. Hahahaha! Oh my gosh this is so hilarious and brilliant and true!! Great blog Becky!
    - Molly

    1. :D :D Yay, I'm glad you read this because I thought you might appreciate it!!