"I'm just an old-fashioned girl."
That’s what my new client said to me, the other day.
Actually, she wrote it in an email.
The response came from a request to do video, to which she responded by saying a plain old phone call was better for her.
“I’m old-fashioned, what can I say?” she wrote.
I imagined the smile on her face as she wrote that. I imagined the words going through her head, as she admitted it.
I do that a lot. I imagine people thinking of what they are writing. I literally see the words moving in their brain.
Isn’t it Marvelous?
Being old-fashioned is a marvelous thing to be, today. I am quite old-fashioned, despite my use of video online and other technology that many women my age shun. the key, for me, is that I still appreciate old black and white movies, and the fashion of by-gone eras in Hollywood. It’s all nostalgic in a small way, making me feel as if I were there - when Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn ruled the big screen.
It was a delight to learn my new client, who is writing a book you will want to read, I promise! brings a bit of old-fashioned attention to her relationship building.
My sense is that she wants the warmth and sincerity that comes with talking voice-to-voice. I don’t know if the anonymity of it appeals to her, or if there is some other reason for hesitation when it comes to video.
When you have a conversation on the phone, I find it’s easier to pay attention. You are welcome to tell me if I’m wrong, in the comments. Somehow, on the phone, I ‘imagine’ the other person, but because I can’t see her, I have to listen hard, and listen well, to keep the conversation flowing properly.
Do understand that I come from a world where the phone was attached to the wall, and the delight of a call being for you was tantamount to being asked to be on the Oprah Show. Especially if the caller was a boy. In those old-fashioned days, we were completely focused on the conversation, on the sound of the other person’s voice, and on whether or not he (or she) could tell how nervous we were.
I have even learned that you can tell when someone smiles, on the phone.
Today, with instant-on video, it’s fun; it’s communication without nuance; it’s sometimes… dare we admit it… intrusive? I mean, without video, I can be naked and you’d never know. With video, I must always be ‘presentable’.
Are We Beyond Old-Fashioned Now?
Perhaps your thoughts of being old-fashioned are more along the lines of homes with doilies, or women in hats. I refer to the 19th century, where women were homemakers and often silent in their world. Their voice was softer and always quiet unless invited to speak.
I refer to times when women were tasked with the kitchen, home decor and cleanliness, and caring for the children. Or, if no children were present, devoting her time to volunteer work on behalf of orphans and widows.
We strive, today, to overcome much of that stigma. We recognize the value of women regardless of their status in society at any given time, but we also know the silence imposed upon women in those early days of our country, was more than stifling, it was suffocating.
And still, some of us pine for the idea of old-fashioned; a place, an experience, a thought, that we can be who we are now, strong and purposeful, but also bring the essence of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers to our lives.
Perhaps it’s because there was a gentleness in those by-gone eras. We envision a time of not having to explain ourselves when we take up knitting. A time when we we wore skirts that flowed around our legs like the caress of an afternoon breeze, and it was comforting, not confining. Skirts and dresses sewn at home, using a foot-pedal on a sewing machine. How quaint!
We recognize the ability to be women of power and strength, and still hold on to a few old-fashioned ideas.
It’s All In the Pictures in Your Head
If I say I’m just an old-fashioned girl, do you laugh? Do you shake your head and shrug, not willing to say out loud that you don’t believe me? Do you nod, and move on, and forget I said such a foolish thing, because to you being old-fashioned means returning to an time when women were silent?
I am old-fashioned.
And, I am just as modern as the tenderest new teen on the block, still sporting braces and gangling legs she desires desperately to grow into.
The pictures in my head reveal a variety of images, about being old-fashioned.
I see muted purple colors and delightful pinks and reds, all riotous and loud, as a garden in someone’s back yard, left to on its own too long.
I see grays and reds and yellows, as if they are the sound of voices raised in anger against female exploitation.
I even see movement. I see dance. I see the gentle flow of air around the person’s body, weaving and flowing like fine silk, with no hesitation.
Old-fashioned, to me, brings a sense of calm. I don’t dwell on the ways our lives, as women, were managed and contrived, in those olden days of our grandmother’s youth.
Instead, I think of the joy of being human and appreciating a summer afternoon with iced tea in hand, on the front porch, watching the neighbors take their evening stroll. I think of my children and grandchildren, and how my life will be what they think of as old-fashioned, when, not so long ago, I remembered my mother’s life as old-fashioned.
In my mind, I even see the dog, without a care in the world, enjoying his walk around his neighborhood, never thinking for a moment that he’s missing something on Facebook.
I will confess that Audrey Hepburn is my heart's desire and the truest representation of old-fashioned I know. She lived through WWII and became a Hollywood legend and eventually focused her life on her Ambassadorship to UNICEF.
Through it all, she never lost her sense of reality. She brought grace and elegance to the old-fashioned world of the 1950s, where I grew up and learned to appreciate being old-fashioned. Perhaps she isn't the woman of the 1800s, at the window with her loom, the kind of women we associate with being old-fashioned, but she is a woman of the 20th century, where our children now look for ideas on being old-fashioned.
How do you feel about it? Is there a hint of an old-fashioned girl in you, too?
Should we bring back some of those old-fashioned sensibilities?
What old-fashioned big ideas can we help you nurture, this year? Visit our Facebook page and share! Bring all your old-fashioned friends.
Meanwhile, as the good Stephen Colbert might say, perhaps your idea of old-fashioned is more in line with this song, sung by Eartha Kitt.