49 thoughts on “Answering Your Most Pressing Questions

  1. Men dressed as women? How about Charley’s Aunt (from Brazil, where the nuts come from)? Jack Benny is hilarious coping with late Victorian women’s fashion.

  2. You already made one post about peeing in history, could you make one about menstruation? Did they just let it flow under the dress? How about dirtying the furniture (bed,sofa)? Washing dress after? Especially white petticoats and no washing powder.. I would be really grateful!

    1. That one is trickier because there’s basically no visual record of menstruation and what we do know is either highly misogynistic and inaccurate (men who had never touched a woman writing about stuff that happens to a woman’s body that they don’t have any actual grasp of conceptually), or so laden with euphemisms that it’s almost impossible to understand. I mean, how many times have we sat down and written about how we deal with our periods? Bitching about cramping, sure, but like, “Dear Friends, today I started my period and so I went to my cabinet and couldn’t decide if I should insert the extra absorbency tampon in my vagina or attach a maxi pad (with wings!) to my underwear using the convenient adhesive strip.”

      Women’s menstruation has almost always been dealt with in a conspiratorial way between other women, and since so few women were in the position of chronicling their periods for posterity, we know very little about how and what they did to prevent (or not) bleeding all over.

      That said, there is conjecture that it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out… Get a piece of linen, stick it between your legs, fashion some ties around your waist so that it stays in place, and you’re good to go. Or take a piece of cloth or sea sponge or wool roving, or some other absorbent material on hand and fold it up and use it as a pessary/tampon. Also, throughout most of Western history, women have worn layers of skirts/kirtles. Theoretically, you could just let it bleed and the innermost skirts, the ones that would be washed more frequently, would absorb it, but… I find that theory highly suspect, since leaking blood everywhere probably was frowned upon even in the less-than-hygienic-by-modern-standards Olden Days.

      Unfortunately, the only book I’ve come across that deals with the history of menstruation is absolutely shittily written and I could never in good conscience recommend it to anyone who wants to learn something.

  3. You can get turkey legs at Disneyland these days. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on. I always feel a little out sync when I see someone walking around with one, like I’ve momentarily transported to a ren faire.

    1. No, it is supposed to be old. Remember Francis is upset that she will have to wear an old gown, and then there is a private conversation between Verity and Elizabeth about the gown, presumably in Verity’s bedroom. Verity says she can “make over the bodice, perhaps add a little lace,” and Elizabeth responds, “As long as Francis thinks it’s new.” It’s in Episode 6. (And dear God, have I watched this series too many times.) Of course, I’m not sure what is supposed to count as “old,” especially since time is really weird in Poldark (with women announcing their pregnancy in one episode and giving birth in the opening five min of the following episode).

      BUT: Even if the gown is “old” there is no reason for it to lace up the back!

  4. I’m glad I’m apparently not the only one out there who thought Rufus Sewell had a glass eye. Not sure why I’m glad about this (still love him so much I’d skullfuck his empty eye socket) — guess it’s just nice to know I’m not the only one who was mistsken. Thanks for clearing up the controversy, Kendra.

  5. Backlacing in “Catherine” puts the Russians 0 for 2 with the weird collars. Not to mention the drag ball at the top of Episode 7. (I told you not to mention it!)

    1. There’s also a mid-18th century advertising poster for umbrellas in one of my fashion history books that shows a fashionable young lady carrying the product and with her nips on full display.

  6. You guys totally made my day. I loved this post and the video of you guys watching. Love, love, love!!

  7. Re; the painting of the 18th century lady on the chaise percee – I think that’s a bidet. It is similar to a couple of items that were featured on the British version of Antiques Roadshow.

  8. Frock Sex huh? I never copulated with one of my gowns. I think that the silk/wool/linen would rub you raw.
    As for the menstruation question, there has been evidence discovered in various dig sites that show women were making pouches that were leather on one side and linen on another that would be stuffed with moss/straw/rags and tied or pinned in place. I’m sure that there were other methods used. The oldest found so far was in a Norse dig so they must have been used before and after.

  9. There actually is an LDS P&P! Not a frock flick though. Made in 2003. I liked it but then I have no taste when it comes to P&P movies. I adore them all.

  10. Hey, I once googled “Flock Fricks” to find this site. Did you see that too?

    Regarding Magnificent Century, considering that its most likely audience isn’t really the English speaking public, they may have actually meant another piece of headgear, of which MC has an interesting variety. The girl in the picture seems to be their attempt at a European princess, Ottoman women in the show wear either what looks like modernized versions of actual Ottoman fashions, or “The Tudors” (the show, not the actual period) style dresses with Ottoman motifs. So, they’re really not going for historical accuracy, and although I’m really annoyed with most of their “interpretations”, I have to admit some of the results are quite interesting visually. I think they’re *somewhat* more accurate with men’s clothing, and in the Ottoman world men’s headgear was a real big deal, often representing an individual’s ethnicity, class and rank (in the classical era, that is). A respectable man would never appear in public without his headwear. So I guess the person doing the googling may have been looking for one of those, is what I’m trying to say.

    An example: http://www.theglobalagency.tv/_uploads/content/series/magnificent-ic.jpg?width=850&quality=100

    And another: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/75/d9/6d/75d96d2f378fe2a9d6992a29776bcbe4.jpg

  11. oh my goodness! I read this at 4 in the am, stifling my guffaws of laughter. Your answer to the Pierce Brosnan question, and the way you describe the P&P “sackcloth, ashes and sadness” so funny. Thank you.

  12. You want historical nudity and sex? The “Spartacus” series (3 as far as I know) or “Caligula.” A lot of big names bared it all for both.
    And for accuracy, please do consider “The Duellists.” Also “Restoration.”

    1. Plenty of nudity in I, Claudius, including topless African dancers in the Emperor’s court.

  13. I Claudius was marvellous. I still remember ‘Zoo-sy’ said by Drusila. ‘Your sister is not to be played with’ told to young Caligula by Antonia. Trying to guess the means of poison Octavia will use in each episode. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa holding out to become a member of Augustus’ family before saving Caesar’s bacon.

  14. The ‘French queen’ in question might have been Agnes Sorel. Not actually a queen, but a royal mistress, and there’s a portrait of her showing a breast.

  15. Speaking of bagpipes and things Russian, how many of you have heard the German medieval metal band Corvus Corax, or the Russian pagan metal band Arkona? Both do quite a show and can be seen on YouTube.
    My Moscow connexion says the general quality of TV production over there is very poor.

  16. The hood thing stems from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, which did have pirates.
    I’ve actually written a bit about it and the rest of the AC series. I’d love to work with you all when the movie comes out to talk about it.

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