Welcome Justine Elyot to Friends Friday today! Yay!
Competitive Nature by Justine will be out on the 1st Nov, put it on your TBR list now! :)
Here’s her fascinating blog post for today!
Are You Good-Natured?
Hello, good-natured people, I would like to say thank you to Victoria for hosting me today, and thank you to anyone and everyone who is reading this.
I have a passion for the historical, and am never happier than when I’m immersing myself in ye olden days, be they Victorian, Medieval or the 1980s. I have yet to publish anything set in the past, but believe me, I’m working on it. Of course, historical detail is documented everywhere, constantly filmed and televised, and so setting is usually the easiest aspect of the times to recreate. Where the stumbling blocks often come is in replicating the attitudes and beliefs of the time – and the hardest thing of all is the dialogue.
I’ve read a lot of (for instance) Victorian literature, and I’m comfortable with the rhythms and conventions of speech from that era. Where I often fall down, though, is in the proper use idioms and phrases – especially when it comes (as it always does in my stories) to the sex scenes.
The Brontes sadly left out all their sex scenes, so for an idea of authentic sexual behaviour in those times, I have read a bit of Victorian erotica (oh, the hardship). Even then, I’m always aware that it’s pure fantasy, exclusively aimed at a male readership, and a ‘real’ Victorian encounter would probably barely resemble the stuff I’ve read in The Pearl or The Way of a Man With a Maid.
But at least I can make an effort with the slang. ‘Are you good-natured?’ was the common opening gambit from a Victorian prostitute to a potential client. The client’s approach of choice was often to ask a girl lingering around Cremorne Gardens with intent if she was ‘gay’. Said prostitute, if being honest about her profession, would describe herself as ‘unfortunate’ – which I like, because it is strangely unjudgemental for those self-styled moral arbiters, the Victorians.
Alas, what people outside the world of sexual commerce said to each other in intimate moments is almost exclusively left to the imagination. Women’s erotica, or erotic romance, did not exist. It is left to us to invent it.
See how you score on your knowledge of that old-time sexy talk with this fun quiz.
This guide to Victorian mucky mutterings is also invaluable: http://www.mookychick.co.uk/lists/victorian-slang-sexual-terms.php
Thanks for reading, and watch out for the flap dragons!
Thanks for joing us Justine! If you want to know more about Justine then check out her Blog!