Living in the 18th Century – Woman Shuns Modern Technology for Victorian-era Lifestyle

While some people want to make the most of technology by adding more and more fancy gadgets to their daily lives, others simply prefer going back to the basics. Meet Sarah Chrisman, a 33-year-old Seattle resident who decided to ditch almost every aspect of modern life, from cooking to clothing, and embrace a Victorian-era lifestyle.

Although she has liked the stories from the Victorian age ever since she was a little girl, the big change took place just 4 years ago, when Sarah received a unique birthday present from her husband. “I have always loved the Victorian era, ever since I was a little girl. My first corset was given to me by my husband on my 29th birthday, and unexpectedly, I really thoroughly enjoyed it.” The feeling she had when wearing the corset determined her to change her lifestyle entirely: Sarah now wears custom-made Victorian clothes, tries not to use any appliances that didn’t exist in the Victorian age (such as the now mundane washing machine), gave up her car for a 100-years-old bike, she uses old fashioned cleaning methods instead of modern detergents and cooks using the recipes found in 19th century women’s magazines. That’s right, this modern-day Victorian woman enjoys the 1889 edition of Cosmopolitan, and because she considers her lifestyle very exciting, she even wrote a book, “Victorian Secrets. What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present and Myself”.  She also studied the Victorian age etiquette.


Photo: Sarah Chrisman/Facebook

Sarah has the full support of her husband, Gabriel, a Masters of Library and Information Science graduate. “We both love history. He participates and we have a lot of fun together. We’re always experimenting with new ways to enrich our lives”, explains Sarah. The couple’s friends, though intrigued by their new old lifestyle, are very supportive and they still share the same passions. “The wonderful thing is, our friends are friends — our interests are still the same. We still enjoy discussing academic matters and things like hiking”. Ah, hiking! You’d think it would be difficult to engage in such an activity while wearing a corset, but Sarah found a solution: she reproduced the climbing outfit of Fay Fuller, the first woman who reached the peak of Mount Rainier in 1890. Wearing a corset has had outstanding effects on Sarah’s waistline: in just a year, it dropped from 32 inches to only 22. “Honestly, the corset lets me know when I’m full! I don’t have to worry about eating too much”. Apart from shrinking her waistline, Sarah believes the corset forced her to improve her posture.


Photo: Sarah Chrisman/Facebook

The people’s reaction to Sarah’s nowadays unconventional ways is usually a positive one, with very few exceptions. “People have mixed reactions. Some are enthusiastic and positive. The other day an old man ran out of a restaurant to tell me I made his day, he said: <You look beautiful>. But there are perfect strangers who find what I wear such a point of contention. Some women scream oppression — that I choose to wear a corset. But I focus on the positives. I don’t find it restricting at all, in fact I’d venture to say that it’s liberating to live how I want to!” Sarah chooses to explore only the bright side of the Victorian age. What you may not have known is that some ideas of today’s technology were born in those times. “As far as technology goes, people don’t realize how early a lot of technology came into being. You could say the Victorian internet was born in the 19th century. And in the 1870s, two inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell independently designed the telephone. And the world’s first public electricity supply was provided in late 1881, when the streets of Godalming in the UK were lit with electric light”, Sarah explains.


Photo: Sarah Chrisman/Facebook

Although Sarah and Gabriel have cut out or reduced the use of modern day technology, they are very much aware of the times they live in. “We can’t travel back, though we try.” But there is one aspect of modern life not even this Victorian-age lady can’t resist, Facebook. Yup, she has her own Facebook account.

Source: XO Jane

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