For the last five years, a Seattle-based couple who married in 2002 have dressed, traveled, cooked, eaten, and entertained themselves as if they lived in the 19th century.
Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman do not use cell phones, internet, modern transport and sneakers . They bought an 1888-built house. Sarah wears a corset all day, every day. Gabriel, a library and information science academic, wears authentic gold-rimmed 19th century glasses.
Their home, built in 1888, is equipped with oil-powered lamps, and doesn’t have an electric fridge or oven. Clothes are washed in a bucket of room-temperature water.
They both see the pursuit as academic research – far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle.
Writing for Vox, Sarah reveals some of the more aggressive reactions leveled at them:
‘We live in a world that can be terribly hostile to difference of any sort. Societies are rife with bullies who attack nonconformists of any stripe (…) We have been called “freaks,” “bizarre,” and an endless slew of far worse insults.
‘We’ve received hate mail telling us to get out of town and repeating the word “kill … kill … kill.” Every time I leave home I have to constantly be on guard against people who try to paw at and grope me.
‘Dealing with all these things and not being ground down by them, not letting other people’s hostile ignorance rob us of the joy we find in this life — that is the hard part. By comparison, wearing a Victorian corset is the easiest thing in the world.’