Friday, January 20, 2017

Then vs Now

While reading Katholieke Illustratie from 1935 for my research purposes I came across a story by one J. Peerdeman which I thought illustrates nicely the difference between the society built on traditional values and what we are witnessing nowadays, even though in the 1930s it was already crumbling.

The story features a girl who pretends to have a headache so that she can stay behind while the family go visiting and meet her boyfriend. She knows that "a Catholic girl isn't supposed to do such things" but she tells herself that as a modern woman she shouldn't be held down by silly conventions and after all, they are only going to play the piano and talk about Mozart. Surely, there is no harm in that?

Well, the maid has the same ideas and meets her fiance in the kitchen thinking that no one is at home, but they get caught by the girl while eating chocolate pudding left over from the family dinner. The servant confesses and the mistress wants to warn her about falling into sin and good Catholic girls not meeting their boyfriends while nobody is home but realises her own hypocrisy and leaves.

What's a girl to do? It's too late to phone the guy and tell him not to come as he is on his way. In the end, she goes down into the kitchen and tells the maid not to allow the visitor in as it would be indecent for her to receive a man while her parents are not present. The servant takes a hint and does exactly as she's told. Virtue won this round.

It was then. As for now...Well, we all know  the difference even though we are trained to notice it any more.


  1. Nice dress in the picture. One way how world has changed that back in the old days models in pictures tried to actually look good.

    Now we have granny-aged women advertising handbags like this (vomit warning :):

    It all tells how everyting has changed. There is absolutely no dignity or grace whatsoever.

  2. Housewife, the pic you linked to provides a good contrast as to "then vs now", doesn't it?:)

    In the 1930s women were presumed to be "good" i.e. chaste, unless proven otherwise, and they dressed and behaved accordingly. A funny thing is, while reading this story I actually expected the author to show that the girl was right and the conventions are silly and legalistic because that's how the story would end nowadays!

  3. In fact, one Christian site I used to read, had people attacking virgins in the comments section, because legalism. I mean, whatever...

  4. The song "Baby It's Cold Outside" alludes to that!