Ladies and Gentlemen:
With great pleasure, I present the sixth installment of my Let's Bring Back series.
A quiet homage to Vogue legend Diana Vreeland's famous Why Don't You? columns, the Let's Bring Back series celebrates rituals, curiosities, and objects from times past.
Without further ado, let's bring back ...
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1. Symbolic flowers. Go beyond the convention of red roses on Valentine's Day (zzzzz) or white calla lilies at funerals; there exists a whole forgotten language of flowers. Fluency in this modus communicatus has endless benefits.
For example, the following blooms would make lovely, unusual engagement presents: orange blossoms (blessings in marriage), sage (domestic bliss), or gentian (virgin pride - tee hee).
Or: next time someone crosses you up, send him or her a bouquet of hepatica (anger), dandelions (bitterness), and begonias (dark thoughts). Or stick a vase of daffodils on their desk (unrequited love). Confuse 'em and hex 'em at the same time.
Click here for a list of flowers and their meanings.
2. Clean air. Enough said.
3. Duels. Because litigation is just so damn cost-prohibitive, and it takes too long as well.
4. Old-fashioned names, instead of the weird names making the rounds for today's American infants. For example, in 2007, some of the most popular baby names for girls included:
Strange times indeed, when there are five Brooklyns (#51) and three Zoeys (#111) in your child's second grade class.
Here's a list of the 1,000 most popular baby names in the U.S. for every year dating back to 1879.
Amusingly, you'll note that a hundred years ago, names like Ruth, Mildred, and Dorothy were wafting about in the top ten.
5. Honeybees. According to National Geographic, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by nearly half in the last fifty years.
Their disappearance would seriously affect our food supply (bees, via pollination, are apparently responsible for 15 to 30% of the food U.S. consumers eat).
And plus, they're so unbelievably satisfying to look at, with their opinionated yellow and black stripes.
6. Bread. The endless anti-bread and pasta campaign is such a bore. As with everything, moderation is key. Not that Americans are used to moderating their diets - but if dogs can be trained, so can we.
7. Peddlers. Where are the roaming knife sharpeners when you need them?
8. Elevator operators. Especially handy if you can't afford a therapist.
9. Intellectually curious role-models for women. In old Woody Allen films, the female characters took courses on existential motifs in literature or read Dostoevsky. Their heroines were Joan Didion and Gloria Steinem.
These days, the cinematic role models for young women sit around endless brunches and obsess about penis size, Manolo Blahniks, and how to freeload off rich men.
No wonder these ladies were perpetually single for six seasons.
10. Elopements. They are romantic.
Not romantic: fighting with your in-laws and parents about seating plans/wording on invitations/linens choices/who-pays-for-it-all.
Follow Lesley M. M. Blume on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lesleymmblume