Victorian Women Could Pee Standing Up

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Photo: Verneuil/Getty Images

Before the Shenis and the Go Girl, there were pantalettes, the bloomerlike undergarments that allow women to pee like a man while — bonus time — preventing yeast infections. Or so says Victorian clothing revivalist Sarah A. Chrisman, author of Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present, and Myself. “Pantalettes allow one to urinate standing up, because they are split right down the middle,” she told Salon. “Take camping, for example; there are many situations where it can be very awkward to try to hold garments out of the way when one makes use of trees, shall we say.” But they’re not just for camping. Chrisman wears pantalettes all the time, along with a corset. It's kind of like wearing Spanx 24/7, but breathable. “Many gynecologists now recommend that women don’t wear modern synthetic fabric panties because they keep so much moisture in that area,” she observed. “Pantalettes allow for more air flow. I just find them a lot more comfortable.” In fact, they’re Chrisman’s favorite Victorian garment, ranking above the corset and the petticoat. “Pantalettes are number one,” she said. “They are very comfortable and very practical.” Mix and match with contemporary sexual mores and a top you can breathe in.