In honor of ‘The Great Gatsby,’ 7 1920s trends worth bringing back

05.09.13 4 years ago
As soon as “The Great Gatsby” hits theaters, you can bet there will be yet another resurgence of cute girls in flapper dresses and feather headpieces wandering around parties with Gin Rickeys in their manicured hands. But those trends are so boring, and we”ve seen Carey Mulligan”s haircut a million times before. (For example: on Carey Mulligan in “Shame” and on Carey Mulligan in “Drive.”) Forget the beads and the complicated cocktails: here are 7 trends from the 20s we should bring back instead.
1. Flagpole-sitting
Pole-sitting is one of the weirder trends to emerge during the Roaring Twenties. It literally refers to the act of sitting on top of a flagpole for an extended period of time, as a test of endurance or just to say you did, I guess. The record is held by a man named Dixie Blandy, who sat on top of a poll at an Illinois mall for 125 days until he died when his pole snapped in half. I say we bring the fad back and tell David Blaine he isn”t allowed to participate.
2. Innocuous expletives like “Applesauce!”
How cute would it be if the guy you cut off on the freeway were to roll down his window, stick up his middle finger, and yell, “Horsefeathers!” while pounding on his horn? Or say you spill scalding hot Starbucks dark roast all over yourself because you”re trying to pull the lid off to add cream while simultaneously Instagramming your muffin and you shout out, “Baloney!”? So charming! Plus, autocorrect would never dream of changing the word “applesauce” to something totally stupid like “duck.”
3. Egyptomania
Who says patronizing other cultures can”t be cool? Egyptomania refers to America”s national obsession with all things Ancient Egypt, a trend that was set off by the discovery of King Tut”s tomb in 1922. Modern applications of an Egyptomania revival could include giant gold cartouche nameplates (the symbol for YOLO includes a cool lion), Pharaoh-style facial hair, and even more worshipping of cats.
4. Raccoon fur
In the 1920s, raccoon fur coats were a popular option for both men and women, but were specifically en vogue with the male college student set. These coats tended to be full-length, and were often made entirely from the striped tails of many, many raccoons. If this look does become fashionable again, I”m willing to offer up the fur of two little rascals who knock over my trashcan every single night, free of cost.
5. Mahjong
Okay, bear with me and please don”t judge my overall coolness based on this one thing: a few years ago on a holiday visit, my grandmother taught me and my brother to play the Chinese tile game mahjong, which was super popular in the 20s. I found it really frustrating at first – because I have no patience and expect to be good at everything instantly, even though I”m never good at anything instantly – but then something clicked and the game became awesome. The next night, we were up playing until 2 A.M. and probably would have stayed at it until dawn had my grandmother not needed to go to sleep like some kind of weakling. In order to bring this one back, I say we give it a catchier name, like “Mahjack” or “Applesauce!”
6. Charlie Chaplin-style physical comedy
Comedy is just so witty these days. Or else it”s dick jokes. What happened to good, old-fashioned watching someone fall down and laughing at their misfortune? Wouldn”t you just love to see Judd Apatow tackle a bromance between a wily tramp and the police officer who”s supposed to be locking him up?
7. Prohibition
Let”s ban alcohol!!!!

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