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The Fainting Couch

Monday, January 02, 2012

Back when my kids were growing up, one of our family vacations included a tour of an upscale 18th century village. In one of the lovely homes, my youngest daughter Kim found particular amusement with a certain item of ornate, velvet sofa, known as a "Fainting Couch." It seems that these pieces were frequently placed in the homes of proper young ladies who, when in the presence of handsome gentleman suitors, displayed their femininity by fainting backwards "in ecstasy" onto these couches, with their hands to their foreheads.
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Well, the nut doesn't fall from the tree, as they say. Recently, Kim's oldest daughter Nikki (of Ruby Slipper fame...see Halloween blog) also learned of the fainting couch through a discussion at school about cultural changes among women. She proceeded to inform me that I was now going to "need a fainting couch" due to the fact that American Idol is coming on again soon, and therefore, I would be seeing my celeb crush, Steven Tyler, with increased frequency.
OMG...this kid is 5 years old!!!
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Well, I decided to google the infamous fainting couch...and what I learned reminded me of how fortunate we are now as women in today's society. Not only were women expected to "faint" as a sign of feminity to impress a gentleman. They also fainted frequently due to the tightness of their corsettes, when attempting 18th century physical fitness (usually badminton, croquet, or tennis). Can you even imagine!! I just had to share this with my fellow Spark girlfriends. Just think about this the next time you're struggling to find a comfortable sports bra to wear to the gym!

Here it is, girls.
The Fainting Couch:
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