Metatalktail Hour: Well, obviously March 25, 2023 3:18 AM   Subscribe

Hello, everyone, happy weekend! And speaking of weekends (graceful segue), reading a recent paper NYT Style Magazine (international edition), I ran into the jauntily confident statement, "The 1970s were, of course, a golden age of lounging." Which I did not know. Not only did I not know there was a golden age of lounging, I don't even know what hallmarks would signify a golden age of lounging. I wonder what other golden ages I might be missing? Or just generally, apparently obvious things.

What does a golden age of lounging look like? What other pursuits (or non-pursuits) have marked other decades in a particularly precious and shiny way? I mean we know that the 80s were a golden age of mixtapes (don't we?), but were they also the golden age of ... I don't know ... rock polishing? Was there a golden age of napping? I just want to be prepared for future Style Magazine assertions.

Or just tell us what is up with YOU in this golden age of something obscure we haven't figured out yet! But no politics, please, because it's not precious and shiny hardly at all!
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 3:18 AM (59 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I dunno, folks. Based on the exponential increase of Cuddle Duds pajama sets in my closet over the last three years I'd say *this* the golden age of lounging.

Related, I'm back in the office this week after a three year break. After my first day, I walked five steps into my house, took off my bra, and laid face down on the floor. Apparently the pandemic had done nothing for my sense of the dramatic.
posted by kinsey at 3:30 AM on March 25 [27 favorites]

I'm just glad I live in an era where athleisure wear is so available and comfortable.

But speaking of 'golden'.

We're doing mushrooms 🍄 today, specifically 'Golden Teacher's. Last time we tripped on 'Penis Envy' which was a bit wild, were out in the woods and soaked up nature. Lots of laughing and crying. But the good kind.

Today might be more introspective, but we'll see what the trip brings us. Will report back later this evening.

Stay safe everyone.
posted by Fizz at 4:21 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]

I don't even know what hallmarks would signify a golden age of lounging.

Lots of large-ish homes built in the era had conversation pits. Usually they were cozy areas sunk into the floor with comfy, heavily cushioned banquette seating around all sides of the pit. They were fantastic places that truly encouraged intimate conversation and interaction that would go late into the night and evolve in amazing ways. No TVs in the space, of course. But, being the 70s, there was weed. And wine.

I loved conversation pits.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on March 25 [14 favorites]

As a child in the 70s I spent a lot of time lounging on the shag carpeted floor of the family room (which we, for reasons I no long remember, called the den -- the living room was a different room and was the room you never went into unless there was company and why would you because the carpet in there was not shag).
posted by JanetLand at 5:34 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]

fter my first day, I walked five steps into my house, took off my bra, and laid face down on the floor.

LOL - there was that day earlier this week where I said in one of the free threads that when I got home, I was going to make a chocolate cake and eat the entire thing. I settled for buying a slice of cake and a bag of cheetos on the way home, walking into my apartment, and shouting "AAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and then eating the cake and cheetos.

....It helped.

This is vaguely lounge-y - more cozy. I've gradually been collecting stuff to make a more cozy apartment and adopt cozy habits; I picked up a cookbook for fancy lemonades recently, copied down a bunch of recipes for fancy tea cocktails, and the like, and have resorted my tea cabinet so I finally start using the damn thing, and have been enjoying more fancy beverages in the evening; a glass of Lebanese orangeade, a cup of foofy herb tea, etc. And during a ramble on my birthday I found a housewares place that was moving and was selling off a whole bunch of housewares cheap; they had a whole stack of kantha quilts they were selling at half off, and I got one; have been gradually starting to tweak the rest of my bedroom to match the sort of "hippie colorful" vibe - a big pile of throw pillows with some of the random covers I've collected, a pretty tableside water carafe, etc. I'm keeping my eyes out for a rug that would suit better (although the one I have isn't THAT bad, just a bit dark).

My vibe did always kinda skew early-70s-aging-hippie, actually, even when I was a kid. I was in grade school in the 70s and I think I kind of imprinted on that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]

Random, colourful, but above all, comfortable. There to be used. That's my vibe.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:56 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I don't even know what hallmarks would signify a golden age of lounging.

A bar in your house, often made of exotic wood, next to the living room, not far from the record collection.
posted by Brian B. at 7:14 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]

It seems to me it’s hard to identify a golden age when you’re in it. Otherwise it’s just a secular trend, right?

That being said — I have an inkling we’ve been living in the golden age of antibiotics.

Life’s okay by me. It’s snowing like mad where I am today, we had a couple of child outings to neighborhood locales on the calendar, and I just found out that both places have cancelled. I think I mentioned Blackout in this space last week or the week before — I have been devouring it in my off hours and am now halfway through the sequel. This is a set I think I will reread instantly. So if some of today now involves curling up under a blanket while it snows outside… that sounds pretty dang awesome, actually.
posted by eirias at 7:14 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]

In Toronto we got just above freezing temps, drizzle/rain, and howling winds. I am fully dressed and wearing a heavy terry bathrobe.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:35 AM on March 25

Lots of large-ish homes built in the era had conversation pits.

We have a normal to small (by modern standards) house, and our dream is to remodel the living area to a conversation pit, focal point being the fireplace (with no TV above it). We have a crawl space underneath, so it'd technically be
physically possible, and until we get a quote on the cost I don't know that it's not fiscally possible, so my lounge dreams live on for now.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:59 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

This 60s kid's dream wasn't about a pit but a sunken bed, like John had in "Help!"
posted by Rash at 8:39 AM on March 25

I dunno, it seems to me that falling into a conversational pit can only lead to despair.

With regard to golden ages, ask anyone when the golden age of [insert modifier if desired] music was and they’ll tell you it was in their youth.
posted by scratch at 9:04 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Non-lounge update:

I think I have managed to convince the people at my community garden that no, they do not want to draft me into service as the chairperson after all, because I would get WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too dictatorial for their loosey-goosey style. I have instead offered to spearhead and manage an overall communications upgrade and they have agreed.

I mean, now I have to DO that, but my own obsessive control-freak tendencies are way better suited to "make sure everyone's heard about the Tear Down The Rotten Stuff Work Shift" than they are to "run the whole ship". If I ran things it quickly go from being "easygoing community garden where people can find stuff to do and jump right in" to being "EC's garden and everyone is her unpaid labor".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]

"Golden Age of Lounging" makes me think of some Hugh Hefner-type figure smoking and wearing pajamas with monograms on the pockets. The "of course" in the NYT quote is quite interesting to me. And a little scary maybe.

To double down on Fizz'z comment, this is definitely the golden age of athleisure wear and not having to wear "hard pants." I hope that never changes.
posted by BibiRose at 9:28 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]

Oh, I found the NYT article online! Gift link.
posted by BibiRose at 9:31 AM on March 25

There was that story just this week about a woman whose living room renovation resulted in the discovery of a filled-in conversation pit. And honestly, it's lovely -- the adobe fireplace, everything. I'd love something like that with some squishy couches, low tables, fondue (the long forks!), weirdly heavy organic ceramic mugs, and obviously the whole situation requires a series of breezy caftans for entertaining, and I love a good caftan.

Perhaps soon I will enter my golden age of caftans, and when I do, I may never wear pants ever again.
posted by mochapickle at 10:26 AM on March 25 [16 favorites]

Sailor appreciate a good capstan.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:55 AM on March 25

My local library when I was a teenager in the 70's had a largish "conversation pit" that I never ever saw anyone use, ever - and I spent a good bit of time there. I briefly hung out in it once to browse a book or two I was thinking of checking out, but it didn't appear to confer any special powers of conversation or loungy-ness with just me in it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:58 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]

the 70s (my childhood) was the golden age of velour, which is very lounge friendly.

I am personally beginning to evolve into my own golden age of caftans. oh yeah...

"hard pants" lol
posted by supermedusa at 10:59 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]

Oh, and let's not forget bell-bottom leisure suits!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:12 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

An elementary school I went to very briefly in the late 1970s had carpeted bathtubs in the library for reading in. I don't remember them being very comfortable, but I appreciate that someone tried.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:57 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]

Come down from the trip has been great. It was awesome. Listened to some music and just vibed for the most part. Played some BotW on shrooms was also an EXPERIENCE. 10/10.
posted by Fizz at 12:59 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]

I died and went to thrift-store clothing heaven today. Spouse and I drove out to a flea market hosted in a defunct super-screen cinema. The screening rooms have been turned into stalls and in some parts, the dry wall was was removed to build stalls underneath the stadium seating.

One of the vendors has a HOARD of second hand clothing. Old furs. 60’s era dress/coat sets from defunct Pittsburgh stores. BAND UNIFORMS. Vintage Harris tweed FROM Scotland. Enough prom dresses to make me wish, possibly for the only time in my life, that I was in high school again. Eighteen year old me would have lost her MIND in this place. Piles EVERYWHERE and the the stall holder knew where EVERYTHING was. And everything was in great shape.

I am dying to go back and just spend hours digging through the piles everything.

So essentially I went back to my own personal golden age of being-able-to-find-everything-I-wanted-to-wear-second-hand.

And one vendor was selling a Pee Wee’s Playhouse Playset with all the figures, which was pretty cool too.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 1:57 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]

The 1970s, in the USA at least, was also the age of leisure suits.
posted by NotLost at 2:28 PM on March 25

I didn't do much lounging in the 70s, I had three babies, born in '70, '73, and '75. It's a blur now. Nostalgia is usually generated by people who either weren't there or had few responsibilities if they were.
posted by mareli at 3:16 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]

One golden age my friends and I agree we are unquestioningly living in is the golden age of beer. It’s just unparalleled.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:40 PM on March 25 [9 favorites]

It's true, Thorzdad, you just need to wade your way through the hazy and milkshake IPAs to get there.
posted by mollweide at 4:01 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Actual Autumn appears to have finally arrived here (a couple of 39c days notwithstanding) and it's rainy and cooler and I'm looking forward to lounging in front of the fireplace - I'm getting it ready for Winter now and you've just reminded me I need to call the chimneysweep. It used to be one of those twee decorative fireplaces but I put a gorgeous cast iron Jotul stove in there and now it's THE place to lounge around during the cold months. Last year I bought myself a purple velour jumpsuit (with rose gold zipper accents) to lounge around in and some fluffy slippers and fully intend there to be a drink in my hand at some point.

Not sure about the golden age of beer, but I just bought a case of some very good local-ish wine for lounging even if the purple velour sort of requires something brightly coloured in a martini glass. It's from a winery that specialises in Old World style winemaking and their syrah and merlot is some of the best I've ever had - the merlots in particular are like rich plum-berry velvet on the palate. It's not the cheapest Aussie wine but $30-ish a bottle gets me something that will confidently go toe-to-toe with something Italian at three times the price. Plus I'm supporting a local business.

So sometime soon there will be a cool evening where the air outside is chilly and the darkness has the tang of woodsmoke and I'll sit inside in front of the fire with wine and a purring cat, the velour suit and some music and, baby, I'm gonna lounge so hard you're gonna hear me in 1972.
posted by ninazer0 at 5:06 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]

omg VELOUR!!! A lady in our neighborhood in the 70s had what today would be called a side gig selling velour clothing that "fell off a truck" out of her garage (this was New Jersey--the stories I could tell you about stuff that fell off a truck). Nothing else, just racks of velour everything. And I mean everything.

Anyway count me in on the Golden Age of Caftans.
posted by HotToddy at 5:48 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]

New Jersey, the Bouncy Truck State
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:58 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]

Early 90s were the golden age of chewing gum. Bubble Tape, Bandaids made from gum, tiny size Chiclets, those mini juice cartons.
posted by soelo at 6:16 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Working in New Jersey, I once took a call at my job where the guy on the other end of the line said "Hey, it's Tony, I'm the brother of the guy that hauls your trash. I got some stereos cheap, they fell off a truck. Do you want one?" I answered "no" and hung up the phone. I also saw people selling stereo equipment out of the back of truck on the side of the road. I've always wondered if it was Tony's brother.
posted by mollweide at 6:37 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I'm wondering now what would happen if I made a velour caftan...
posted by ninazer0 at 6:51 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Zapp Brannigan would be all over it. Or under it, as the case may be.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:54 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]

I sometimes think we're living in the Golden Age of Stone Ages. We've never been so advanced at being so primitive to one another.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:02 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I for one am living in the Golden Age of Crocs.
Feeling deeply prepared to age out of fashion when they stop being a thing anyone young wears. I’ve got my indoor Crocs, my outdoor Crocs, my Crocs rain boots, and I’m eyeing a pair of the sandals. “Iconic Comfort” indeed!

Make use of this golden age while it lasts, friends. Our feet have never had it so good.
posted by cabbage raccoon at 6:35 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]

I'm wondering now what would happen if I made a velour caftan...

If I made a velour caftan, I would topple over from the weight of collected dog hair.
posted by mochapickle at 8:43 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]

Some unexpected chill-vibe opportunities may be coming my way this week....

So, as you may recall, I have a roommate. He is a SOLID dude; reliable, decent, a class act. We get along pretty well, although he does prefer to do his own thing (there's a 20-year age difference between us for starters).

The only wrinkle in the arrangement is that he is a very late sleeper, and I am an early riser. And our apartment is a duplex and he has the bottom half - but he doesn't have a door, so noise carries. We're dealing with that - it just means that in the morning, I have to either tread quietly if I'm heading out before he's up, or if I'm hanging around and chilling, I stick to my room with the door closed. And when we're both awake, we wear headphones when watching respective TVs or listening to respective music. It's dealable.

Now: over the past couple months he has been having an online flirtation with someone in Germany. And just yesterday he told me that sparks have been flying to the point that she is coming to the US for a visit. She's staying in an AirBnB near us, he added - but he's taken the whole week off work to hang out with her and show her around. And....if things go well, to crash at her AirBnB a night or two.

And if he does - y'all, I am going to revel in being able to listen to the radio throughout the house and sit on the sofa in the morning and make all kinds of early morning rackets.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:28 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]

Hey! Metafilter Events is starting talks again this TUESDAY! We're starting off with Ryan North! Here's the event link!
posted by JHarris at 1:04 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I would wear the Hell out of a velour caftan!!! (Even with the risk of cat hair related injuries!)
posted by supermedusa at 1:09 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

A bar in your house, often made of exotic wood, next to the living room, not far from the record collection.
You forgot the quadrophonic sound system with speakers big enough to house a small family.

Such a system was how I was first introduced to Pink Floyd (and what's more '70s than Pink Floyd?), in the apartment of a church camp leader with a bunch of others taking turns to sit cross-legged in the middle of the speakers arranged around me as close as possible and the volume set at 11.
posted by dg at 3:47 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

I was wrong! MeFi Events starts WEDNESDAY with Ryan North's talk, and FRIDAY for Drew Curtis'! Please adjust your schedule and expectations accordingly! Fortunately the Eventbrite page has always been right.
posted by JHarris at 7:19 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

I liked to relax in the 70s on my grandmother's chaise longue.

Oh, wait ...
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:27 PM on March 26

Reading this thread is like Thorstein Veblen meets the Multiverse, if I may make my own invidious comparison. And the mushrooms popping up after a rain in our courtyard are Amanita Muscaria. The squirrels and cottontails like to nibble upon them: Nature red in tooth and stoned.
posted by y2karl at 10:29 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]

Something that made the 1970s extra loungy was that for the kind of family that could afford a high-end house with a lounge pit, they were almost certainly a single-income household, and there most likely was no evening/weekend connectivity expectations for the wage earner. So there was a (probably disatisfied) housewife with the time to make things loungy, possibly paid household help as well, and uninterrupted time for being social in the conversation pit.

I didn't do much lounging in the 70s, I had three babies, born in '70, '73, and '75. It's a blur now. Nostalgia is usually generated by people who either weren't there or had few responsibilities if they were.

Speaking of how the "golden age of lounging" wasn't equally shared by all....
posted by Dip Flash at 6:47 AM on March 27

Apropos of clothes from earlier days, in the past year I have connected with a local church-run thrift shop that sells nothing more than $2 and 4 times yearly they have the giant bag sale, all you can shove in for a dollar. There's Ann Taylor, Pucci, j crew, loads of Talbots, Gap, Burberry (one advantage of living in a Vermont tourist town is our visitors have swank clothes).

When Vivienne Westwood passed, I did a deep dive into her looks, and something clicked in my brain and now at the age of 59, I have a Westwood-esque style that gets me more admiration and compliments in 4 months than a lifetime. Best of all, I am finally wearing clothes that are me. Really and truly.

Here's what I do: I buy anything that fits and I layer it on in the morning. Red plaid shirt, blue plaid jacket and yellow plaid pants? Yes! Pink floral pants and orange checkered jacket with paisley shirt? You bet!

I am dressing like a person without a mirror and couldn't be happier.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:02 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]

how hard can it be to make a caftan?
posted by supermedusa at 11:44 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]

Caftans are easy! So says the "Illustrated, Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book," @ 1970, ebook available.

Chapter: AC/DC, approximately page 117.

Sadly the ebook has an updated cover, rather than the original, groovy cover.
posted by MichelleinMD at 1:43 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

I also saw people selling stereo equipment out of the back of truck

Back when I had the singular misfortune of living in Nashville, a guy tried to pay me with a pillowcase full of car stereos. I want to say there were some brass doorknobs in there too, but that's probably a Simpsons-inspired retcon by my idiot brain so let's just stick to the car stereos., what am I gonna do with a dozen car stereos in a pillowcase on a Tuesday night?
posted by aramaic at 3:34 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

Continue the process and unload them on some other sucker barter them for other goods or services!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:01 PM on March 27

how hard can it be to make a caftan?

I'm heading to the fabric store tomorrow for velour so I'll let you know. Oh yeah, we gonna do this lounge experiment folks!
posted by ninazer0 at 5:23 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]

The 1970s were a golden age for consumer technology in the West. The examples I like to use are motorbikes and for cameras. Transistor technology had got cheap enough that the electrics in both technologies got reliable and widespread; a camera or motorbike from the 1970s shares the basic design principles of its earlier 20thC forebears, but was in every way more reliable, easier to use, cheaper, and more powerful. For cameras that meant in-camera light meters and automation, for motorbikes electric starting and the beginning of electronic ignition, and for both it meant very mature design choices. Most of all, because transistors were getting cheaper but screens were not, the human interfaces to these things continued the older electro-mechanical practices of having knobs, switches, rings, and dials, and discrete indicator lights to select and show functions/states.

Something went horribly wrong in the 1980s with the development of menus in devices, and worse still screens, a profoundly unwise turn in design culture.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:19 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]

Just went out to check out Mars, the crescent Moon, Venus, Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury in that order but light cloud cover left only the moon and Venus to be seen veiled as though through a gauze curtain. All the 5 visible planets in theory but no point in busting out the telescope tonight.
posted by y2karl at 9:06 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]

I also saw people selling stereo equipment out of the back of truck on the side of the road.

They probably weren't stolen. Rather the people were working the white van speaker scam.

Also while trying to ferret out a comment about chaise lounges neè chaise longues I ran across this "yoga" chair which has some humourous reviews.
posted by Mitheral at 10:59 PM on March 27

Something that made the 1970s extra loungy was that for the kind of family that could afford a high-end house with a lounge pit, they were almost certainly a single-income household, and there most likely was no evening/weekend connectivity expectations for the wage earner. So there was a (probably disatisfied) housewife with the time to make things loungy, possibly paid household help as well, and uninterrupted time for being social in the conversation pit.

That's all true yet the history is weirder, because teetotalism was still more respectable. Lounging was a culmination of the post-depression and post-war eras, featuring the GI bill and government-backed loans for houses. It imitated the ultra-lounging displayed by movies, as a status lifestyle, stretching from the thirties to the sixties in most dramas, a realistic example being The Graduate. It also defied America's Puritan values, which is why most people handled it with inherited moderation, still matched to the work ethic. The 70's lounge pit was the centerpiece of the Mary Tyler Moore show, the new lifestyle of the successful single woman who still kept her small town charm, always looking for the right guy, but not really, which made it fun to watch (as she was already famous as the Dick Van Dyke show's perfect wife). Those sunken living rooms were short-lived because televisions competed for space, and people broke their legs falling into them. The average non-working mom lifestyle had its own hazards, such as valium handed out like candy from doctors, and chain-smoking perceived as a weight loss method. The social drinking at home slowly died down because kids raided the supply, but it was still a time for mingling of couples, whether it was a neighborhood lounge, country club (golf), fraternal lodge or VFW hall, where couples were socially expected. I still recall the bowling alleys filled with smoke, where parents would share beer with their kids who came looking for a few bucks and knew where to find them (and they cleverly saved face by letting their bowling friends pour it up from forgotten pitchers, to prevent wasting it). The American middle-class stopped growing in 1973, synonymous with a global economy, the end of domestic manufacturing and the rise of consumer credit lending. The middle class has been shrinking since, and with it goes the lounge era.
posted by Brian B. at 10:36 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]

Beer certainly. We may be at the end of a golden age of television which began around 1992.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:16 PM on March 28

I am a big caftan fan. I wore one - that I made, in the laundry room over a weekend - to 3/4 May Day celebrations at my weird undergraduate school. (The first year I didn't know better and got very unsurprisingly sunburnt.) Then my best friend, he also turns out to be a caftan person!

And right now? A certain verbose, purple prosed, famous for caftan selling catalog is having a sale. You bet 15 yards of linen I bought a caftan last week. So very timely.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:11 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]

Speaking of lounges, the one that was best way back when was Ernie Steele's on Thomas and Broadway. Ernie Steele was a famous lineman in college football famous for being the only man who could catch Jackie Robinson -- who played and lettered in everything -- on an open field. He played pro for a while and bought the place on retirement, turning it into a cafe by day and lounge by night. The lounge half was a long room smoky room with moose and deer heads and wall length murals of manly hunting and fishing scenes by some artist famous for such. It was famous for having the stiffest cheapest drinks in town. One time when I was there, a regular fell off his barstool sideways and hit the carpet like an air dropped walrus whose parachute never opened. *TWACK!* Bartender looks down over the counter and says "One more like that, Larry, and I'm going to have to cut you off..." I kid you not.
posted by y2karl at 9:14 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]

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