Friday, February 22, 2013

The Life and Times of a Victorian Gentleman Part 1

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I, dear readers, am a Victorian gentleman.

Yes, I know I am female and that I am American. I am also well aware of the fact that being 20 days shy of 30 doesn’t mean that I am elderly . . . unless I were to move to a sketchy country when the life expectancy was 25, in which case I’m the George Burns of my generation. But I digress.

Dear readers, despite outward appearances, in my soul, in my heart of hearts, I am a gouty, cranky, sneeringly sanctimonious, elderly Victorian gentleman. Basically, I am William Gladstone wearing a little too much NARS makeup. Unlike many women who would recoil at such realizations, I fully embrace this quirk of character and I am absolutely certain that I am not the only old soul out there.

In the lead up to my thirtieth birthday next month (March 15, send presents!), I thought I would write a series of posts about my life as a pseudo-Victorian gentleman for your amusement and self-recognition.

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Enjoy the first entry of “The Life and Times of a Victorian Gentleman” and feel free to share your own old-beyond-your-years experiences.

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What Makes Me an Elderly Victorian Gentleman?



I am prone to ailments that the elderly usually contract.
For some reason that I have yet to grasp, I have the reincarnated immune system of William Gladstone. Whereas most women my age only deal with the occasional flu virus or seasonal cold, I somehow manage to get regularly laid up with something Dickensian like pleurisy or dropsey. Goodness knows I suffer greatly from lumbago!

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My health is a trial
I’m a hypochondriac.
If I don’t have a weird disease, then usually I think I have a weird disease. I read WebMD more than is probably healthy.

It’s basically a sickness. A terrible, terrible, sickness.

I eat like an elderly person.
Like many a pensioner, I love my sweets and my super-bland foods. You will never see me in a trendy restaurant eating anything that isn’t cooked to a cinder. I am fussy about my foods and take a decidedly grandpa-esque approach to eating. For instance:

  • During the course of a day, I drink at least half a dozen cups of tea to keep myself awake, warm, and-- in the evenings-- to wind down from the day.

  • My breakfast of choice is shredded wheat that’s been heated in the microwave to get nice and soft.

  • You have peanut brittle? Why didn’t you tell me sooner!

  • I always have a potato product-- be it mashed, french fried, or in chip format-- as a side dish for one of my three squares.

  • If there is something that doesn’t taste better with gravy, it’s probably uneatable.

  • The best fruit, in my humble opinion, are of the canned and soaked in heavy syrup variety (preferably yellow peaches or fruit cocktail with extra, waxey cherries).


I’m never going to be the sort of person that will be impressed by another’s culinary skills. Congratulations, you can make your own spring rolls; now kindly step aside and let me make myself a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese.

I’m perpetually cranky.
Even when I am in a good mood I’m still cranky. Within an American context, I suppose I am a considered a mercurial person, always on the verge of making a cutting remark or glaring at others in disgust. Like an irritable old man with

I shuffle when I walk.
I theoretically am able to pick up my feet when I walk. I just . . . don’t. Like many a pensioner, shuffling their feet, you hear me coming long before you see me. Honestly, I could never be a spy.

I’m easily irritated and are impatient.
It doesn’t take much to cheese me off. Time is of the essence and I don’t like to have my time wasted . . . or have to deal with incompetent people. If I had a cane, I’d shake it in ire at every opportunity.

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I read. All the time.
Like my aged brethren, I believe modern world is basically Sodom and Gomorrah. A majority of my television viewing is done whilst clutching [metaphoric] pearls. If it isn’t Jeopardy or PBS, it ain’t happenin’. As you might imagine, I spend a lot of my not-chasing-my-pug free time reading. I’m particularly fond of eighteenth and nineteenth century novels by people who actually WERE Victorian, not just acted Victorian.

In all honesty, though I spend a lot of time reading. I read at home, during my lunch break at work, during my commute, while I am waiting at the bus stop, any time when I am not comatose . . . You get the picture.

I can’t drive.
Ok, I have a driver’s permit. If I was in an emergency, I could operate a motor vehicle and probably not mow down a bunch of people. However, I am easily distracted, near-sighted, impatient, and zone-out easily. Perhaps it’s best that I just keep to the bus.

As you can see, I am basically an old fart. These Victorian qualities, however, are not a source of embarrassment. Rather, I like to think of myself as a charming anachronism, with sensibilities that harken back to a more genteel time.

Let’s be honest, I am a pleasure to know.

j.

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