The Good Old Days


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


The first time I remember fainting, I was about 10 years old. Mom had discovered a blackhead near my hairline, and decided to get that thing out of there.  She had very sharp fingernails. Since I had never fainted before, I had no idea what was happening. I remember feeling woozy, vision going fuzzy, and blackness coming down. I woke up on the floor.

There were a few other incidents that I remember in which I actually fainted, or had the sensation overtake me and managed to sit down with my head between my knees before it could happen. It’s not a pleasant sensation.

It’s been a very long time since I passed out. I don’t even remember that last time.   Well, wait. Maybe I do.  I was about 15, I think. I’d been putting things away in the kitchen, when a sliver of wood  (old cupboards) jammed up under my thumbnail.  Way under.  Yeah, that was bad.  I made it to the sofa in the living room, but I don’t remember that. It’s where I woke up, with my thumb throbbing like crazy.  My dad was sitting in his chair, reading the paper, looking over the top of it with a quizzical expression.  I told him what had happened, and he  pulled the sliver out.  Things got muzzy again, but that was pretty much the end of it. He did tell me to watch for swelling, signs of infection, but he soaked my thumb with rubbing alcohol and nothing further developed.

Back in Victorian days, ladies wore all manner of tortuous underwear to cinch in their waists. The corsets, pulled tight with laces, made it hard for them to breathe. In hot weather, it must have been sheer agony.  So that had what they called fainting couches, where a lady could delicately swoon while someone waved smelling salts under her nose to bring her around


Added to the corsets, layers of petticoats, bustles, and stockings, was the dubious habit of consuming little doses of arsenic in order to have a pure white complexion.  That white skin was a sign of good breeding and high social standing, since the only women who were kissed by the sun were those who worked outdoors like common laborers. Ladies who ventured outside used bonnets, veils, and parasols to protect their delicate skin.

And sometimes they died young from all those efforts to look the way they did.

Now, aren’t you glad you live in the present, and not the past?


6 thoughts on “The Good Old Days

  1. I think that’s why the Chaise Longue became popular , it originated long ago in ancient Egypt for a lounge around in the cool away from the mid day sun and made its comeback as something as a luxury. Those old corsets were made of Baline from the jaw bones of whales ….I only mention that bacause you spoke of the uncomfortableness of the old corsets and OMG arsenic was in just about everything back then . Again , I thank you for an interesting read , milady .

    Liked by 2 people

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