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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Now THAT'S old fashioned romance! Meet the couple who shunned cell phones, internet, appliances, and transport to live the Victorian life... and insist it's BETTER


Unconventional: Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman live a completely Victorian life at their home (pictured) in Seattle


Dedicated: It started gradually but they became fully immersed five years ago after moving into their home

The couple spend every day and night in authentic Victorian clothing - and Sarah even goes hiking in a corset

It's truly old fashioned romance.

Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman were drawn to each other out of a shared fascination with the Victorian era.

And over time, their passion has bloomed in a very unconventional fashion.

For the last five years, the Seattle-based couple who married in 2002 have dressed, traveled, cooked, eaten, and entertained themselves as if they lived in the 19th century.

Though a life free of cell phones, internet, modern transport and sneakers smacks of horror to most people today, the Chrismans insist they are the lucky ones.


'Even before I met Gabriel, we both saw value in older ways of looking at the world,' academic and massage therapist Sarah, 35, writes in a personal essay for Vox.

'He had been homeschooled as a child, and he never espoused the strict segregation that now seems to exist between life and learning.

'As adults, we both wanted to learn more about a time that fascinated each of us
.
'But it took mutual support to challenge society's dogmas of how we should live, how we should learn. We came into it gradually — and together.'


Sarah wears a corset all day, every day. Gabriel, a library and information science academic, wears authentic gold-rimmed 19th century glasses.

Their home, built in 1888, is equipped with oil-powered lamps, and doesn't have an electric fridge or oven.
Clothes are washed in a bucket of room-temperature water.

For entertainment, Sarah reads 1890s editions of Cosmopolitan, or the couple go for a cycle ride on their pennyfarthings.

They both see the pursuit as academic research - far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle.

It's a life that keeps us far more in touch with the natural seasons,' Sarah writes for Vox.
'Much of modern technology has become a collection of magic black boxes: Push a button and light happens, push another button and heat happens, and so on.

'The systems that dominate people's lives have become so opaque that few Americans have even the foggiest notion what makes most of the items they touch every day work — and trying to repair them would nullify the warranty.'

After one year of wearing a corset every day, Mrs Chrisman said her waist went from 32 inches to 22 inches, she experienced fewer migraines and her posture improved. 'And honestly, the corset lets me know when I'm full! I don't have to worry about eating too much.'

Friends are also supportive. 'They are intrigued,' explained Mrs Chrisman. 'The wonderful thing is, our friends are friends - our interests are still the same.

But her desire to delve further into the Victorian lifestyle, and wear a corset every day, seems to have the public divided.

'People have mixed reactions,' she admitted. '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!'

Writing for Vox, Sarah reveals some of the more aggressive reactions leveled at them:

'We live in a world that can be terribly hostile to difference of any sort. Societies are rife with bullies who attack nonconformists of any stripe (...) We have been called "freaks," "bizarre," and an endless slew of far worse insults.

'We've received hate mail telling us to get out of town and repeating the word "kill ... kill ... kill." Every time I leave home I have to constantly be on guard against people who try to paw at and grope me.
'
Dealing with all these things and not being ground down by them, not letting other people's hostile ignorance rob us of the joy we find in this life — that is the hard part. By comparison, wearing a Victorian corset is the easiest thing in the world.'


See more photos below

Sarah insists they are the lucky ones as they do not take modern phenomena for granted




For entertainment, Sarah reads 1890s editions of Cosmopolitan, or they go cycling on their pennyfarthings
They both see the pursuit as academic research - far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle. Gabriel modeled his workout gear on Victorian cyclists


After one year of wearing a corset every day, Mrs Chrisman said her waist went from 32 inches to 22 inches
They spend time with the friends they have always had. They have been subjected to abuse from others

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