GPL Column: Talk of the ton

As a little girl, every day was filled with dress up and tea parties.

I would rotate through my treasure chest of costumes, gallivant around the grocery store dressed as Cinderella, and come home to serve all my Beanie Babies a delightful high tea (sometimes water, usually air). And don’t get me started about the trips to the Disney Store just to admire the sparkly, over-the-top princess gowns as a special treat.

As an “adult,” I’ve come to find out that there are decidedly fewer opportunities to dress as a princess and live out fantasies and fairy tales in my day-to-day life. Who doesn’t daydream about being whisked away to a far-off land, attending lavish balls, and maybe even having a swoon-worthy romantic tale come out of it?

While everyday can’t be straight out of a regency romance, there are moments we can dress up to create that wonder for ourselves.

Speaking of regency romance, my favorite form of escapism comes in books and TV (better yet when it’s books I love that are turned into TV shows). Romance fans everywhere are gearing up for season three of “Bridgerton” with part one coming to Netflix in just a few weeks, and I for one couldn’t be more excited.

I was absolutely hooked on the Shondaland production from the first episode of season one, and devoured all eight books in Julia Quinn’s series before the second season came out. While Queen Charlotte was a great holdover in between seasons, I can’t wait to see our new leading lady, Penelope, have her story blossom on screen.

For those not completely consumed by so-called guilty pleasure TV, “Bridgerton” is a swoon-worthy regency-era romance full of high society functions, scandalous gossip among the ton and ballroom dancing set to classical renditions of our favorite pop songs (the rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” lives rent free in my head). The show follows the Bridgerton siblings, all gorgeous, all charming, and a myriad cast of characters as each sibling enters society and with it, the marriage market.

Scandal abounds, helped along by Lady Whistledown’s gossip column that is secretly written by one of our main characters, but as with every great romance, we always get our happily ever after in the end.

With the new season on the horizon, I saw a perfect opportunity to play dress up and have a tea party as a grown up. On Saturday, June 8, we’ll have a little taste of regency society at the Greenwood Public Library with a Bridgerton Afternoon. With the program happening right in between the two parts of the show dropping on Netflix, I’m so excited to gather with other fans to sip tea and discuss the new season.

Not only will there be plenty of tea to sip (both literally and metaphorically), but we heavily encourage attendees to arrive in their finest regency-inspired attire. Alongside the snacks and tea, there will be crafts and activities inspired by Lady Whistledown, the Bridgertons, and all of the ton.

One of my favorite things we have planned is to craft a fan and learn the language ladies used to communicate with them. And, of course, we’ll have plenty of time to gush about our favorite characters and who we hope to see fall in love next. For more information and to make sure you get to join our ton, make sure you check out the library’s website!

While I can’t necessarily traipse around town or come to work in a Cinderella gown every day, there are still plenty of moments we can create to play and have fun like a kid again. This Bridgerton Afternoon is just one such moment, but from this to renaissance festivals to putting together a fun outfit for the farmers market, it’s important to find those moments to be silly and carefree, at least once in a while.

Abigail Barrett is an adult services librarian at Greenwood Public Library. GPL staff members share in writing this twice monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].