How to live like an 18th Century aristocrat
by Abigail Muscat
The 21st Century getting you down? Would life be better in an age where big hair was de rigeur and you could wear fake beauty spots and get away with it? Our fast-and-loose guidelines to living like an 18th Century aristocrat will be of more use to you than a trained and lightly scented macaw.
I am not proposing a time machine to transport you back into the 18th century. And besides, let's face it, none of us want toilets that don't flush - or lack of free speech, for that matter. However, if you stick to our golden rules it may still be possible to bag that Baron, powder with pomp and get freaky with frills... all in the 21st Century.
1: Don't wear knickers.
No matter how pretty your knickers are, spurn them. 18th century gals went 'au naturelle'. You may have noticed there's plenty of romping in films depicting the 18th Century, but never any fussy struggling to get those panties off.
2: Become accomplished. Get your duke.
To achieve a good marriage proposal, you must become a fully accomplished lady. In the 18th Century, the usual route to accomplishment was through mastery of embroidery and music. Becoming 'accomplished' in masonry would not suffice. If you acquire a harpsichord and learn how to actually play it, you'll bag any interesting humanoid going.
3: Flat hairdo? No can do.
Hair was probably one of the few means by which free-thinking 18th Century women were allowed to express themselves. Gorgeous gals like the Duchess of Devonshire and Marie Antoinette had hair equivalent in size to the ego of a Hollywood teen actor.
So, yes - by all means, get 3 foot hair and adorn it with ostrich feathers (without killing the ostrich). If you think 3 foot hair will be a nuisance on the bus, use a combination of hairspray, backcombing, talcum powder and a few flowers from your garden to create a decadent effect.
4: Get a tiny dog
I'm afraid you cannot be 18th Century without a tiny dog munching away on your delicate pastry (that's not a euphemism, by the way) and running around nibbling extra holes in your lace. Your dog must be as stylish as yourself. And as tiny as your hair is large.
5: Develop a taste for public executions... or draughts.
We have many ways to entertain ourselves these days, from watching deep, soulful (ahem) reality shows to abseiling to astro-photography. If an 18th Century girl wanted shiggles, nothing beat a good old game of chess, draughts, cards or even a little spot of public execution. Unless you're living in certain American states, public execution is rarely a plausible option as a hobby (neither is it a good idea to list it as such on your CV). Try summarily executing flies with a tiny guillotine.
6: Develop a fear of uncooked fruit.
In the 18th Century, especially in Britain, diet was heavy on meat. When fruit was involved, it was never eaten raw as it was believed to cause serious diseases. To be honest, no aristocrat in their right mind would eat raw fruit. They were dirty from the field and they were cleaned with the vendor's saliva. Mmm.
There you have it: the 6 golden rules. If you wish to find out more (as an 18th Century aristocrat, does one bathe? Rarely, my darling, until it came into fashion in the late 18th Century when the French chemist Nicolas Leblanc discovered how to extract soda from common salt and Louis Pasteur proclaimed that good personal hygiene would reduce the spread of diseases), then follow the links below.
Living like an 18th Century aristocrat:
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Photo designed and taken by Alejandra Vacuii