My Downton Abbey Dilemma

I love my life, but this show makes me long for the civility and grace that has disappeared. 

by Katherine Ingram, M.A. • Member { View Profile }

No, what I think is happening is that Downton is exposing my dual nature, even as it exposes the duality of Edwardian England. The truth is (and this is the confessional part) that I am spiritual, but I’m also materially inclined. I love beautiful things, even as I understand that “things” are not important. I appreciate my freedom and (pseudo) gender equality, but I long for the civility and grace that has disappeared from our lives. I love jeans and t-shirts, but I also love elegant clothes — though you wouldn’t know it by looking in my closet. I drive a Prius, which I like very much, but given my druthers, I’d drive a Tesla, or better yet, that lovely little convertible that Matthew Crawley whizzes about in at 25 miles per hour. My house is small and sweet, and I am grateful for it, but if I could move into a lovely villa on some spacious estate, I’d be sipping an aperitif on the veranda in a heartbeat. A girl can have her dreams. Or memories. Or both.

And these dreams bring me to what is undoubtedly a very obvious point: no one woman should be expected to do all the tasks that modern women — those who make less than $500,000 a year anyway — are expected to do. It’s ridiculous, and every woman knows this. To shop for groceries, cook, clean the house, pay bills, make appointments, tend the babies and children, drive the aforementioned everywhere, work, socialize, and be a lover is just a bit much. Combining the dual roles of master and servant serves mostly to diminish both. It’s alluring to look at a life where one was not expected to do everything. Even the help was not expected to do everything: one had one’s role. And while that is limiting, it is also freeing.

We all have our fantasies and internal dichotomies; I think mine are just more on the surface than most. I like to think this makes me a very interesting (if confused and confusing) person. Not easily boxed, shall we say: a woman who can constantly surprise. This is what I tell myself.

So, there you are. I’ve come clean. You know my dirty little secret. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m halfway through Season 3.



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