The Vapors, Vintavoyeurism, and the Paula Deen Effect

One of the most popular articles on this site is “Five Things I Learned While Reading Victorian Porn“, which means that you are all vintavoyeurs like me.

Vintavoyeur (noun) – those who are fascinated with the sexuality of people from the past.

Example:

“He spends all day locked in his room with old Playboys from the 1960s, he’s such a vintavoyeur.”

See boys, I just made you sound like a classy connoisseur of antique pornography, and not just some dude jerking it to a box of porn mags he found when he was cleaning out his dead grandpa’s attic. You could totally put “Vintavoyeur” on your online dating profile and get more hits because women will find it intriguing. And then 6 months into your relationship, when she stops by your house early to surprise you and gets pissed because she found you passed out in your room with an old copy of Penthouse and a wet, dirty sock half-hanging off your wang, you can say, “You have no right to be pissed, you knew from the very beginning that I’m a vintavoyeur” and then she’ll be all, “I don’t even know what that MEANS, I just saw it on your dating profile and thought it was french. YOU DON’T EVEN SPEAK FRENCH!”. And then you can be all smug and say, “Well, that’s what you get for not bothering to ask me about it. It’s like you don’t even care about my interests, you just like that I look good on paper.”

And then she’ll look like a selfish, uncaring bitch and you win.

You’re welcome guys, you are welcome.

Vintavoyeurism, the difference between a perv...

Vintavoyeurism, the difference between a perv…

and a classy gentleman.

and a classy gentleman.

If any of you actually read the text around the Victorian porn pictures, you’ll see that I’m working on a historical fiction book that centers around the south, and one of the most intriguing things I’ve learned in my research is about an old medical condition called “the Vapors”. The Vapors:

In the Victorian era, a wide variety of conditions that primarily affected women were referred to as “the vapors.” Women were viewed as fundamentally weak during this period, and they were also believed to be more susceptible to a range of medical complaints. The stereotypical Victorian image of a woman swooning against a couch is a classic depiction of a woman who has been overcome by the vapors. Currently, this is not a recognized medical diagnosis. (wisegeek.com, but corroborated by tons of other sources who didn’t define it as concisely.)

WHY is this no longer a medical diagnosis?! Is it because we are no longer required to wear a hundred pounds of clothing in 100 degree weather and so don’t swoon as much? Because it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to. I love swooning and would personally swoon at least 3 times a day if swooning were permitted. Especially if it meant that Calm-ass Husband would finally have to break down and buy me a fainting couch.

I'd put it right next to his gaming spot so that when he's spending too much time gaming and I need attention, i can just swoon next to him.

I’d put it right next to his gaming spot so that when he’s spending too much time gaming and I need attention, i can just swoon next to him.

How much easier would our lives be if the Vapors were still around? We could blame everything on it. Nowadays all we have to blame stuff on is our periods, but this only typically works with our significant others. It’s not like we can go to our bosses and be like, “Sorry I was a bitch to you this morning, I’m on my period.” But we could go to our bosses and say, “Sorry I was out of sorts this morning, I have the Vapors.” Then to prove our point, we would swoon on the nearby fainting couch that would now be mandated in all working environments to prevent all of the workers comp head injury claims.

The Vapors would work anywhere, too, not just work. At the house of a friend of your significant other’s who you hate? No problem, meekly say, “I have the Vapors” and swoon. You’re significant other will be hustling you home to wipe your brow with a cold rag in no time. Arguing with a store manager about the fact that you are trying to return a dress that you both know you’ve worn at least a handful of times and he’s saying he won’t take it because of the deodorant stains? Just hold the back of your hand to your forehead and utter, “Oh dear, I’m afraid this stress is giving me the Vapors” and swoon. You’ll be walking out of there with your money back before you know it.

Granted, I’m sure many of you are saying, “But Wiseass Wife, this will surely set the women’s movement back 100 years.” Don’t worry, we’re good. Do you think 100 years ago a woman would have had the audacity to set up a blog where she lets loose a tirade of asinine and foul thoughts? No, she wouldn’t have even been allowed to get online. Plus, I say if we introduce it quietly enough, no one will really notice. We can basically have our cake and eat it, too. We’ll have the younger girls and elderly women start it since these things are generally more tolerated from them. It’s the Paula Deen effect.

The Paula Deen effect – The phenomenon whereby racist, sexist, and other things considered offensive are only considered so when uttered by anyone between the ages of 12 years old and 70 years old.

Example:

  1. “I cannot believe Paula Deen said the ‘n’ word, I hope she goes down in flames, that wretched dragon woman.”
  2. “You have got to come to my family barbecue this weekend, my 90-year old grandma gets drunk and starts spewing racist profanities. It’s hilarious.”

and here is the 3rd example, which I borrowed from my friend Jenny, who actually received this from a classmate as a child. Hilarious, right?

Would not be so funny if this were from someone between the ages of 12-70 years old.

Would not be so funny if this were from someone between the ages of 12-70 years old.

I think I’ve made my case. Unfortunately, writing is hard work and it has given me the Vapors. I’m off to swoon.

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