So where are these mysterious iPhone free people living? You've heard of Amish country. Amish country is technically all over America, but the greatest concentration of them are located in Northeast Ohio in Holmes County, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Not all Amish communities that have been set up survive. Some have been established in California and Mexico, those of which were short-lived.
It kind of sounds like a dish you'd order at a foreign restaurant, but the Ordnungis a set of unspoken rules shared by the Amish. These rules stress obedience, simplicity and humility. Which is pretty demanding considering they're unwritten. Their chief rule to live by, which isn't unwritten, is "Be ye not conformed to this world."
If you go up to an Amish man and chop off his beard, because of course, that would happen all the time, it can be considered a religious hate crime. Men keep their faces clean shaven until they're married, and then they grow out their beard. Who needs a wedding ring when your beard tells you how long you've been married? However, they don't grow mustaches. People who grow mustaches are associated with the military and they wouldn't want to come off across as anything but pacifist.
For a code that's not written down anywhere, clothing rules are pretty strict. Women wear clothes with fabric of only one solid color, and a bonnet. The bonnet often represents their marital status: white for married, and black for single women. Men wear black suits that absolutely can't have zippers or pockets, and they use suspenders to hold their pants up. Women usually only have four dresses total.
Bless you? No, Rumspringa isn't a sneeze, it's like the Amish equivalent of a sweet sixteen. On their sixteenth birthdays, the Amish get to leave their city - Rumspringa means "running around." For this period of time, they're allowed to "break the rules" and drive cars or listen to music on speakers. However, many don't actually leave home or break the rules, they just see the time as an increase in social activity. Rumspringa ends at marriage. After experiencing just a little bit of modern life, you'd think that the Amish would up and leave their communities. However, almost 90% of them return.
You may have imagined that giving birth in the Amish community is probably less convenient than it is at a hospital. They have no ultrasounds, medicine or doctors. The children are born at home, with the help of a midwife. And a lot of children are born, because they don't use birth control.
Don't Amish dolls look like fun? Not totally scary at all. They don't want to run the risk of their dolls looking like graven images. They also make their dolls with no faces because they want to represent how we are all equal in God's eyes. Amish people also usually opt out of photographs.
In some Amish communities in Iowa, researchers have found that the Amish have a genetic mutation that slows down the aging process. Hmm, maybe becoming Amish is worth it after all? The mutated gene is named Serpinel, and people with it have been shown to live an extra ten years. They also have better metabolic health, a lower risk of developing diabetes and less of a predisposition towards baldness. Can we get some of that in a bottle?
The Amish consider electricity to be worldly, and considering that their main mantra is "Be ye not confirmed to this world," well, it makes sense they don't use it. Except they sort of do. Some communities have recently allowed a phone to be shared between households. Except they don't get to keep it in their houses. It's stored in a shack or a barn outside their houses. So instead of a phone booth, it's a phone shack.
Amish school is taught be teachers with an eighth-grade education. Why, whatever do they do past eighth grade, you ask? Well, they just don't really go past eighth grade. By then, the boys are old enough to work on the farm, and girls already know how to cook full meals. You don't need to learn anything else.
Amish people are only permitted to marry once they've been baptized. They don't exchange rings, and their engagement is usually kept a secret until it's announced in church, which is called "publishing the engagement." The bride has to sew her own wedding dress, which seems like a lot of work. Once she's married, that's the dress she'll wear to church every Sunday. Their honeymoon is typically spent visiting all the relatives on the weekends, which sounds a lot more fun than going to Cancun.
The only instruments that the Amish are able to use are their own voices. They ban instruments because the self-expression would make others feel inferior, or those that are skilled at music feel superior to others. They get all their songs from the Ausbund, a German songbook with no musical notes. They learn their songs from generation to generation.
What, isn't using computers cheating? Well, this computer does all the things that computers don't do. It doesn't go on the internet, play music or play videos. It's a word processor, "made specifically for the plain people by the plain people." So it's basically a typewriter made in this decade, to go back in time to other decades.
So, convinced that this is the lifestyle for you? The good news is, you don't have to be born into it. You can hand in your computer right now and go get voted into a community by going to live with them for a year. See you all later.