No Holds Barred: The Good Ol’ Days

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Thomas Chatterton, shown dead after he had poisoned himself with arsenic in 1770.

Last week it was reported that 85% of the country thinks we are headed in the wrong direction. Most people I know think we are already off the cliff.

Many are yearning for the good old days; when street protests were safe history making “happenings” and not gut-slamming confrontations; when we could jump on a shuttle flight from LaGuardia to anywhere with no fear in our hearts and tote bags that actually fit in overhead bins and our luggage never got lost; when you could walk down upper Madison Avenue and actually window shop at 3 PM or 3 AM and not be a victim of a smash and grab scene; when young people wanted to jump into politics at a grass roots level and had the passion and drive to “make a difference” in their world; when fashion pages in magazines and newspapers covered people with the kind of style you wanted to own and not circus clowns on a PR roll; when phone booths, not cell phones, ruled and no one had a Facebook Meta account.

I don’t know how much longer I can hold her together!

Now people admit Joe Biden appears too old for the job. And who can face another “not you again” campaign from Hilary or Trump or even Cuomo. It made us all realize how we might be craving “the shock of the new” and young. But what young person wants these jobs?

And I’m not talking about the likes of Cassidy Hutchinson (26-year-old Trump aide who became a January 6th hearing star witness). The NY Times called her “the new look of studiously neutral.” Overnight she became a trendsetter with no hint of spectacle or flash. “Flattering without being ‘fashiony’… “mature but not matronly.” The reporter raved about Hutchinson’s colorless manicure, light bronzer, slight flip hair, and the “glory of her low-key style.” As opposed to the Trump administration filled with women who had double decker hair extensions, fake eyelashes and boobs, tight sheath dresses and stiletto pumps.

“Mature but not matronly,” according to the NY Times.

But let’s not be so quick to anoint another political trailblazer as a fashionista. The media is desperate to find an “influencer” any way they can (pre-Instagram account!). I am sure Hutchinson will get her own show on MSNBC — if we can even remember her for that long.

Which makes me look at Nancy Pelosi as an “older” visual front runner. She has made it her BRAND to appear in form fitting sheaths, matching masks, and teetering on stilettos at all times. And let’s not forget the large ball/pearl necklaces from Gumps. This month she was photographed vacationing in Italy with her husband on a beach in a very low-cut one-piece bathing suit which prominently displayed her ample bosom at 82 years old. One news outlet ran a bold “Nancy!” over the picture on their front-page lead story.

Maybe Pelosi is giving Kim Kardashian a run for her beach bikini photos of her enhanced ass and boobs. Lately it’s been a quick trip in the “how low can we go” category.

“Nancy, put up your dukes!”

Meanwhile, Paris couture goes on without skipping a beat offering $100,000 dresses to be “worn for the end of the world.” But who really wants to be in gala ballgowns should the plug get pulled? The sad truth is there is no more “Grande Dames” of style like Nan Kempner or Wallis Sampson buying these rare creations.

“I’m not a beautiful woman. I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.” — Wallis Simpson

Now you have rap singers, porn stars, Chinese moguls and even certain guys (?) buying and wearing the tripped out long dresses with ruffle trains. Where do those men or transgenders get all that money? But couture still thinks it’s relevant and maybe that’s all that matters … for them!

But on the other side of the issue and world is Tom Ford, who is rumored to be looking to sell his company via Goldman Sachs. I’m with Tom on this as luxury brands have been struggling with rising manufacture and logistic costs. Inflation hits luxe like the rest of the world. Also, the China lockdowns don’t help since they are the key luxe market. It seems Tom wants to concentrate on making his own movies. Who can blame him?

Retail is still wobbling, and travel has been a disaster for everyone — even private jets have had pilot and cabin cleaning cutbacks. Is nothing sacred?

I haven’t flown anywhere in over three years. I recently tossed my big suitcases to Goodwill. I figure if I can’t “drive it” or “bag it” in a tote (even though gas is sky high) then why go? Yesterday I got an email from American Airlines urgently stating: “Blair, don’t let your 93,690 miles expire … Hurry and book a trip, buy a vacation package, book a hotel, rent a car.”

I am letting my miles lapse as I have with much of my life lately. At best, with those miles I could only get a coffee and a croissant at some Marriott lobby lounge. The travel thrill is seriously gone.

In the last five days five friends have come down with Covid — and not runny nose and sore throat “Covid light.” All of them were boosted, vaccinated, and healthy, with no pre-existing conditions. But all of them had travelled! One from Phoenix to NYC; the other to Europe and back. They got “hit” for over a week. And even though some took the anti-viral Paxlovid not all of them did that well.

Even Dr. Fauci (remember him?) tried Paxlovid, and it shortened his illness to three days, only to get re-infected a mere eight days later. Rebound infections are on the rise. The new variant BA.5 is no small virus. No loss of taste and smell or shortness of breath like the good old days of Delta. The B variant issue is how contagious it is. Hospitalizations are on the rise. But because we are all home testing we don’t know the true infection rates anymore. We are surging again and Covid isn’t over as many believe. It is THE trend/style that is here to stay — dare I say a “classic.”

What has “replaced” Covid as the “hot” epidemic is “mass shootings.” We no longer check the NY Times Covid maps for “hot spots.” Instead we are watching our local city “crime reports.” Pick your poison — an assault by fire or virus.

It simply isn’t like the good old days anymore!

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