19th Century Britain: 4/08/2019Submitted by Executive Wealth Management on April 10th, 2019
The general coarsening of public discourse as time passes can be disconcerting, but it is important to remember that in the past, proper manners could become pretentious and down right ridiculous. For example, a straightforward description of clothing below the belly button was considered scandalous in some refined social circles in 19th century Britain, so speakers resorted to euphemisms to refer to these ubiquitous garments. Various Victorian smarty-pants called their trousers such terms as unmentionables, ineffables, unwhisperables, slither-ins, etceteras, go-go garments, or bifurcated sub-equatorial gentleman's tubes. And although lady's pants were a sartorial style that took awhile to be accepted by the public, they too had their own delicate phrasing. Why open up any newspaper of the time and you might read the following:
After lazing about her palace, Queen Victoria put on her huffle-buffs in order to ride her penny farthing to the zoological gardens.
So although we may live in vulgar times, there are benefits to not being subjected to sophisticated gibberish just because we're afraid someone might get ants in the pants over hearing the word 'trousers'.