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Miss Verity has been musing lately on the way people raise their daughters, and more particularly on the problems inherent in trying to bring up a sensible, modest, self-aware and self-controlled young lady in a culture that lauds the sloppy, the rude, the disorganized, and the promiscuous.

It’s not that she believes in imposing choices on young women. On the contrary, she believes in equipping them to make their own choices–real choices, one they’re actually making for themselves instead of being coerced into by peers, television, or a vague desire to be cool.

And to that end, it occurs to her, rather than raise girls under bell jars it would be wiser to keep them well-informed about the realities of the world. The girl who knows that some men are cads, some people are fools, and not everyone you meet has your best interests at heart is in a much stronger position from which to determine her course of conduct.

So a truly sweet, old-fashioned girl should probably have a core of shrewd common sense with which to defend that sweetness…

 

Oh, enough, already.

Miss Verity is well aware that she shouldn’t dignify this by commenting on it. More than enough people have commented already, heaven knows.

But it’s difficult to be online at all without tripping over all the latest from Mr. Stephen Fry, and his latest latest–a series of inane comments about women, and then a petulant flounce from Twitter–is all over her various friends-lists and feeds.

Like many people, Miss Verity will be forever fond of Mr. Fry for his portrayal of Jeeves. She loves Jeeves so very much that she feels a kind of gratitude that anyone was able to play him well enough that she could enjoy the performance, instead of weeping bitterly because he wasn’t enough like book-Jeeves.

Also, she loves plummy accents and stunning vocabularies, and Mr. Fry has been blessed with both.

But increasingly his public utterances have come to resemble some dreadful attack of oral flatulence more so than rational human speech, although at least if it were gastro-intestinal distress from which the man was suffering the rest of polite society would have the decency to pretend not to notice, instead of endlessly retweeting it.

For his sake as much as hers, she devoutly wishes someone would take the gentleman aside and somehow convince him of the virtue of not sharing every silly thought and hurt feeling that seize him. It should have been done when he was about six, but since it evidently wasn’t, she hopes it’s done soon.

For reasons she wouldn’t dream of boring you with, next July will be the soonest Miss Verity will be able to make a major investment in her wardrobe. The fall, winter, and spring seasons are going to be a dreary round of making do and buying only the minimum sort of supplemental items.

Which, paradoxically, has put her in the mood to shop. She’s resorted to online browsing, and a sort of daydreaming-almost-planning. Which is probably a good thing, really, as by the time July rolls around she should have a reasonable, well-thought-out shopping list.

In the meantime, isn’t this dress lovely? It’s available here, from JenClothing.

Men’s fashion

Miss Verity, not being young or male, doesn’t often pay much attention to what young males are wearing. In truth, Miss Verity often tries deliberately not to notice what the young are wearing. She remembers one unfortunate period, years ago now, when she allowed her attention to be caught by youthful fashion, only to discover that the poor misguided darlings were wearing extremely low-rise jeans with their underwear pulled up for display above the denim. Her eyes, and her nerves, have not yet entirely recovered.

Nevertheless, occasionally her eyes are caught, and so it is that lately she’s noticed something absolutely delightful: young men are wearing hats.

Miss Verity applauds this development wholeheartedly. They look dashing and gentlemanly. Mind you, some young men never stopped wearing them–she knows certain young males in Western Canada (she is almost positive this holds true in the Western USA as well, but correct her if she’s wrong) still wear cowboy hats, thereby managing to look both rakish and steadfastly masculine.  She sniffs indignantly and mutters “piffle!” when anybody she knows attempts to deride this look using words like “hick;” in Miss Verity’s experience, young people from the country are every bit as intelligent and complex as their city counterparts, and often rather more accomplished. It’s unsurprising, really, that rural males should have had sense enough to know they looked better hatted than not. She is quite pleased to see the city versions have caught on to this as well.

Reinforcements

Miss Verity has had a thought which she is finding difficult to articulate, but which can be summed up as: people seek out companionship–in whatever form–that helps them shape the world they want to live in, and that reinforces their own values.

Which can, obviously, be a negative or merely stupid thing (as with confirmation bias), but which can also make life just that mush easier to live. It’s comforting, and pleasant, to sometimes have like-minded people to turn to.

And so religious people seek out others of their faith, not just for worship but to share recreational time and inspiring books and items.

Or, to take a destructive example, people stricken with eating disorders sometimes try to find fellow-sufferers, and too much of that reinforcement and you end up with those ghastly pro-ana sites.

And this, it suddenly occurred to Miss Verity this morning, is why she craves websites that share a sense of gentle modesty, of quiet femininity, and of a slightly old-fashioned bent–but not ones that, in the pursuit of those values, are strident or angry or overbearing. It is because, of course, she wants to be able to do the same thing online that she prefers to do offline: surround herself, at least sometimes, with those who have similar values.

Miss Verity appreciates that maintainers of communities, even mere virtual chatteries, wish people to be talkative and to contribute–except, of course, for those sites which wish people to ‘lurk moar’ and to learn the rules and social norms at the site before leaping in.

She does not quite think that this gentleman’s method is entirely efficacious, however–it is, alas, hard to work up much enthusiasm for resubscribing to a service when one knows it is counting one’s silent days against one, having decided in advance to throw you out not for misbehaviour but for reticence.  Not, she concludes, her type of lounge at all.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your account at the Smoking Lounge message board has been deleted.

This has been done either because the unusual spelling or your
username of choice and/or email address has led us to suspect your
account is used as spambot, or because of a complete lack of posting
activity for more than six months.  Are you in fact no spambot, and/or
do you wish to be an active member of the Smoking Lounge, we do beg
your pardon for the removal of your account and compel you to
re-register with us.  However, we ask your understanding in this
matter, for our forums have recently fallen victim to high quantities
of spam, plus a great number of accounts with zero post count takes up
unnecessary space of our database.  I wish to urge that you are most
welcome at the Smoking Lounge, if you are indeed a real person, and
hope that, in that case, you might consider joining us again!

Yours sincerely,

Ottens (Administrator)

Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your kind offer that I spend my time signing up again for a message board which I had not yet had time to actually use. I am sure you can understand why I do not wish to do so–when I do have free time, I prefer to use it at boards that welcome and appreciate people who take their time about joining in conversations with strangers, and not at a website which rather petulantly scolds one for silence and then deletes one’s account.

Perhaps one of the dear gentlefolk who have been similarly unsubscribed might know of such a place? In a spirit of hopefulness I have included them in my reply, and I eagerly await their suggestions.
~Miss Verity

Miss Verity is still looking for websites and blogs and podcasts she might find agreeable. Suggestions of feminine, cosy, or slightly old-fashioned corners of the web are welcome. She has found some agreeable sources of “modest clothing” and of delightfully pretty crafts, but what she wants are sites for reading, not sites for shopping. She has too much temptation to shop as it is.

Miss Verity has also discovered she has no idea how to reply to comments here; if she replies with another comment on her own post, does the person to whom she is speaking get notified? Replying to the person via email seems almost intrusive, since she doubts casual commenters really want email. To be honest, she sort of imagined she was typing into a void here, and hadn’t thought she’d have anyone to reply to beyond the people she already knows, who can use the telephone (or show up on the doorstep) when they want to talk. Thank you, though, to those of you who did take the time to comment!

Speaking of shopping, is this not adorable? No, Miss Verity is not the one selling the dress, and she isn’t bidding on it, either, as it wouldn’t fit her. But it’s very pretty, so she thought you might enjoy seeing it.