Catch up: Read The History of Men's Underpants - Part One.
Now, where were we? Oh yes. The Middle Ages.Where the codpiece had to be invented to prevent one's tackle from drifting around in the breeze and men "started" to *cough* exaggerate--just a little--what they had...
Some people, and I know this is hard to believe, had some space left over in their codpieces, so they'd keep objects in there too. Handy! Or something-y.
Of course, they stopped exaggerating... It's not like they do it now...
As the trousers got gradually longer,the undergarments grew with them. They resembled the breeches in shape and size, although they were made with a softer material such as silk, cotton or linen. This was important if you were wearing scratchy wool next to the skin. You find, too that underwear was ditched by many in favour of the coattails of the long shirts. Men would pull the tails between their legs and wrap their family jewels in the shirt. I'm just glad I wasn't a washerwoman in the 18th century, that's all I can say.
With many thanks to Anteros - who has an informative post about Age of Sail underwear here.
What do you think spurred the invention of this contraption?
The bicycle, apparently. Men found that they needed a lot of support while riding it-- although you'd think they would have realised this with horses too...
It's sad that after 6000 years we come almost full circle and where we started with the loincloth, with the jockstrap we finish off with the loincloth.
It's always fascinating to write gay romance because of the wonders to be found under a man's overclothes. It's interesting that names are so difficult to pin down. Small clothes, underthings, underwear--all were considered too delicate to mention and a writer risks getting it wrong no matter what she chooses.
But here's to them all. To the braies, the strossers, the drawers, the jockstraps, the loincloths, the smallclothes, the boxer shorts, the codpiece, the hose. Here's to everything that wraps around that small difference between men and women--viva la difference!
Erastes writes gay historicals, and her first book for Carina is "Muffled Drum" (set during the Austro Prussian War) and will be out in July 2011. It's full of soldiers, horses, angsty love drawers and many many buttons.