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She Blinded Me With Science

Rather than writing lately, I’ve been involved in finishing up major renovations to a house my husband and I bought last May. LAST MAY. We are still living in our rental, but the reno is finishing up, as is our patience with paying rent and mortgage, so the plan is to move in during the last week of March.

What, you ask, does this have to do with the Regency?

Well, Ms. Smarty-Pants, it’s that I am breathlessly anticipating such modern marvels as a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, a temperature-controlled refrigerator, a non-running toilet, and a brand new stove that has the output of Hephaestus in a temper (for the record, the last non-rental I lived in was in 1976; the rental we moved to had a broken window in the bathroom, which we plugged up with an Incredible String Band record album. Yeah, I was raised by hippies/wolves).

Which made me think of modern innovations, and how essential–and how much we take them for granted–they are in our modern life.

Depending on their station in life, some of our Regency heroines (the governesses, companions, poor relations, et al), might have had to wash some of their clothing by hand. Ugh. And even if you had someone to do your wash, there was no guarantee things would come clean. Indoor toilets were around, but hardly ubiquitous; stoves and ovens were huge, beastly hot things that required careful handling. If you had frizzy or limp hair you had to live with it. Forget about cell phones, iPods and DVR; you had to be at the local musicale to hear it, and that was it.

So if you could choose one modern convenience to bring with you as you embark on your time traveling journey of a Regency lady’s life, what would it be? A dishwasher? Eyelash curler? Blow dryer? Vacuum cleaner? Toilet? A ballpoint pen?

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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Definitely a toilet. That whole chamber pot thing just grosses me out and I would hate to have to be the maid whose responsibility it was to have to clean it. In France, at the court of the various Louis’ that was an actual job for a court person, taking care of the royal chamber pot/poop. When people weren’t using the hallways and fireplaces at Versailles.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Am I cheating if I go it one step further than Elizabeth and say, One Modern Bathroom? Modern hygiene in all ways would be hard to give up.

Janet Mullany
14 years ago

a dentist.

Tracy MacNish
14 years ago

Birth control.

Elena Greene
14 years ago

Antibiotics. Maybe I’m just saying this because my friends and our kids have just been through a spate of strep throat and sinus infections!

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“Birth control.”

Oh, good one! I’d also like deodorant. And Chanel lipgloss. 🙂

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

BTW, Megan, thanks a lot, because now I have that insidious song in my head…

Cara King
14 years ago

Definitely a toilet, with a huge supply of modern toilet paper.

I could live with washing clothes by hand — I spent my junior year of college at a British University, and after I became sick of carrying my laundry through the rain to the laundry room, then waiting forever for one of the two nonbroken washers and one nonbroken dryer to be free, then paying a king’s ransom, then carrying my laundry back through the rain (a long way it was, too!), I just started washing all my clothes by hand in my little sink.

So: been there, done that, would far rather have a proper toilet. 🙂

Cara

Santa
14 years ago

Toilet. Check
Dishwasher. Check

And thanks Elizabeth for the details about chamber pots and Versailles, though it did remind me of Mel Brooks’ ‘History of the World, Part I’.

“It’s good to be the king.”

Deb Marlowe
14 years ago

Elena–you took the words out of my mouth. I’d want to take some big, honking antibiotics with me–and a toothbrush.

Cara King
14 years ago

BTW, Megan, thanks a lot, because now I have that insidious song in my head…

Amanda, if by any chance you’re referring to Thomas Dolby’s ‘She Blinded Me With Science,” then I celebrate your brain’s good taste!

Thomas Dolby rocks.

Cara

Lois
14 years ago

Modern things to take with us. . . ah, just about every modern convenience, if I may. LOL 🙂

Lois

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Thanks Cara for mentioning toilet paper. The good kind, not that slightly waxy stuff that you sometimes find in British toilets. And I agree “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby rocks including the video.

Nicole
14 years ago

Personally, I’d rather not go. Can I just live vicariously through all you guys?

but a modern bathroom….ahhh….

Georgie Lee
14 years ago

Elena and Tracy already beat me to antibiotics and birth control. I’d take a microwave. I’d starve without it.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I don’t even have to think about it…

A flush-cum-vacuum toilet with a heated, cushioned seat and warm water bidet-like spray at a height and size just right for me. Gold-plating not necessary. 🙂

Elizabeth & Santa: Let’s not forget the boy who walks the chamber pot from one male aristo to another while those men play croquet.

doglady
14 years ago

Okay, yuck on the visuals of without a doubt the worst jobs in history. I am with the Divine One. A complete modern bathroom would be all I need. I can wash clothes by hand. I can cook on a wood stove or over a fire. I use natural medicine so I can take care of that. Nope, the bathroom is definitely the winner.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

Kiera, don’t get me started on Mel Brooks movies! I love the, um, bucket boy!

And they have that very bathroom you described at our local Triple A baseball team’s stadium – heat and bidet included. My girls kept insisting on going to the bathroom during the game so they could try all the settings. They thought the fountain coming out of the toilet was pretty cool! 😉

Santa

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