Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Jane's England Floats My Boat

I've been addicted to Jane Austen for more than half of my life. It all started with a complete collection of Jane's works bought for me by my mother. It was meant to fulfill the required reading list, and has instead stayed with me since it was given to me. The book is dog-eared and the spine irrevocably creased. I read newer versions to protect my original book. Jane's works are among the very few other romance literature I will pick up. I just don't like any other kind, oddly.

Jane is the reason why the Oregon Regency Society exists. I created an entire organization just to fulfill my desire to experience that time. How selfish of me. I suppose, I did it because I sought to feel precious and pretty in a gown and pearls, to be civil and have people be civil to me; to dance, to enjoy the romantic aspects of the costume and of the customs, to have others around me who like the same. There is something about seeing a young man arrive at one of our events toting the stiff collar and cravat, his entire posture exuding the strict protocol of the regency period, his topper under his arm ~ to see him bow curtly and lift his hand to a lady in order to ask her to dance. There's something extremely satisfying in just seeing young people participating in the events; and to be enthusiastic about it. It's a beautiful thing that gives me hope in a world where I've seen a young lady open her car door and spit out the door.

I feel like I've been missing something in my normal jeans-wearing life. The genteel manners, the polite conversation, the sense that I can be a lady, and be treated like one. Even my reluctant spouse somehow changes once the frock-coat slides up onto his shoulders and he grasps the top of his cane. He stands straighter, he is more polite, more structured. He is also infinitely delicious in the costume... So handsome. :)

It's sort of strange, to imagine in Oregon there are so many people who share this vision; who strive to participate in our events. Our membership is hovering around 180 or so right now. Picnics, parties, workshops, it doesn't matter; any excuse to play dress-up. :) I'm extremely proud of my accomplishment with the ORS. I'm proud of what it has become, and happy that it is made up of kindred-spirits.

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