You probably think you’ve got this whole socializing thing down. You can drink a few beers on a Tuesday, chat up your coworkers, and still make it to work on time, albeit a little bleary eyed.
That wouldn’t work in 1902. The turn of the century laughs at your beer. It laughs at your “hangover.” This is the age of cocaine wine, after all. In 1902, the FDA was just a glimmer in some politician’s eyes. Confused about how to party like you just got over consumption? This post will teach you how to survive turn of the century gatherings just like the Bellacourts of Comedy Central’s Another Period. Raise your morphine syringe, hike up your petticoat, and read on to learn the dos and don’ts of socializing like a rich (and let’s face it, probably white) Victorian.
Lace Up Your Corset And Start Pregaming
Proper preparations will assure you’re in the right state of dress (and mind) by the time you’re getting turnt.
- Ladies: Gentle clitoral stimulation (like, say, via the 1920s-era lead-and-seal-blubber vibrator, at left) helps clear out the uniquely feminine disease of hysteria. Watch out for common symptoms including nervousness, irritability, and erotic fantasies. If you can’t access a physician, substitute horseback riding or bicycling.
- Bloodletting is a good way to get rid of acne and comes with the bonus side effect of getting your complexion to that perfect shade of near-dead.
- Wear your finest clothes to all parties and social gatherings, but make sure to properly cover your collarbone. You’re not some kind of whore.
- If you’re too hungover from last night’s party, utilize your servants to carry you from room to room. Just make sure to properly discipline the commoners if they screw up. You really can’t abide by them dropping you or messing up your hair or something.
Sipping on Gin and Juice and Also Cocaine
“Rules” and “regulations” are a thing of the future. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t come into existence until 1906, after all. That means when out and about, a socialite should do as many drugs as her tiny woman brain can handle. Remember: Prohibition will be here before you know it, so you’ll want to get your body adequately alcohol-soaked in preparation.
- Straight alcohol is okay, but it’s also for the poors. Opium or laudanum (a dope mixture typically made from opium and alcohol) are better for rich people like you. Or try something harder. Bayer sells the best brand of heroin.
- Feeling sleepy? Cocaine wine is the pope-approved way to invigorate yourself. You can also get fancy with some cocaine champagne (disclaimer: not actually a real thing). It’ll give you enough energy to deal with those uglier than you.
- Eat as little food as possible, so you can fit into your “health corset” — just like a regular corset but advertised as good for you, somehow. And dudes love a hefty chest shelf.
Entertaining Yourself Between Opium Sleeps
Take part in the below activities at social gatherings to avoid conversation. Because God forbid you’re made to talk to anyone.
- If you’re hosting, set up a backyard shooting range for your guests with various animals. Aside from the standards (aren’t you so tired of shooting boring-old doves and deer?), add a few fun additions such as bald eagles or puppies.
- Every party needs music. Blast the gramophone and play the hottest hits of the day, like ragtime or a nice, bumping Stravinsky.
- You must only socialize with famous people, and focus on politicians. These are the people you’ll need to bribe with sex some 20-odd years from now when you lose all your money in the Great Crash.
- If you’re a woman, remember to keep quiet around men. Everyone knows that women must be seen and procreated with, but not heard.
Remember these basic etiquette tips, and you’ll be ready to party with the best of the turn of the century socialites. To get some more lessons in class from America’s first worst family, be sure to catch new episodes of Another Period, Wednesdays at 10/9c on Comedy Central or anytime on the CC app.
Nandita Raghuram is a Senior Writer at Studio@Gawker. She tweets here.
Illustrations by Alex Cannon.