Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Undress a Victorian Lady, Or, Why I Love Steampunk

Via author Gail Carriger's blog, the Wall Street Journal has a piece entitled "How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance." The article notes the popularity of historical romance novels, which require historical accuracy in their, ah, romantic encounters. In particular, budding authors want to know how a Victorian gentleman manages to get a Victorian lady out of her corset and into her knickers.

As we denizens of the Steamlands know, this is not an easy process. (Each reader may have his or her own definition of "know" in the previous sentence. We don't judge.)

Some people who haunt historical RP sims in Second Life, such as the witty and talented Miz Dio Kuhr, strive for complete historical accuracy. While I admire that greatly, I also find it exhausting. With Steampunk, I can just wing it, making things up as I go along without fear of nitpicking from the reenactor's peanut gallery, which makes things ever so much nicer.

2 comments:

Fogwoman Gray said...

I saw the article and was fascinated, not being a reader of the "bodice ripper" genre.
I did have one quibble, and that is that the knickers of the ladies of the day were, not to put too fine a point on it, crotchless. This allowed the lady to use the facilities (such as they were) without needing a pit crew.
I had assumed that in those situations when romance was a bit rushed, this would be the means of access to the "home plate" so to speak.

Rhianon Jameson said...

Although the video showed a pair of knickers that were not strictly accurate, the slideshow (slide 2) did have a crotchless pair. (Decency required that the lady hold up a set to demonstrate.)

And I agree that there was a disconnect between the demonstration of the complicated and time-consuming top clothing and the underlying premise that romance couldn't be rushed. It's as though the writer of the piece was not entire clear on which half of the body was the business end. :)