A combination fortress and protector of virginity ultimately fled the scene

panty girdle“Ooh, a panty-girdle,” I once exclaimed, maybe a little too enthusiastically during a scene in which a woman was disrobing in an early episode of Mad Men a few years ago. I found it oddly arousing.

“I thought you told me you hated panty-girdles,” Wendy replied, looking askance at me in that manner in which only she can look askance..

“Pure nostalgia,” I said. “I did hate them at one, obvious, level but the scene still had some sweet associations.”

The sweet association being that if you had come to the realization your date was trussed in a panty girdle, you had actually made it past 2nd base. Revelation of undergarb was, in the context of that day, early 3rd base to be sure.

And the panty-girdle, even if it could be an impediment to amour was still a female undergarment and therefore had a charm in itself.

The ‘nice’ girls of the, ‘50s and early ‘60s generally wore panty girdles. They were something of a combination of chastity belt and fashion statement. As fashion statement (as opposed to chastity belt, to which I’ll attest was their primary purpose) they were deemed desirable in that they were slimming. In truth, which is why they were favored by parents of young females, they were intended to be an anti-aphrodisiac in that the wearer was rendered from behind with the appearance that she had only one bum cheek with no suggestive cleft in the middle. The sort of thing designed to keep randy boys thinking of trigonometry and other enlightened topics.

Panty girdles varied in fortifications. Some were pinned up with wire and bone and were virtually impenetrable, alas. Others were a little more welcoming, sometimes even cute, but they still gave an artificial appearance to the wearer and did thwart amorous ambitions if they became too overt.

According to one girl friend they were also a bit on the impractical side in times of dire urinary emergency, in which it was sometimes difficult to get them down quickly enough.

My first steady girlfriend wore a panty girdle always. While she was quite ardent in physical affection, she would not remove the garment or choose alternative garb for dates. Frustration prevailed – as it should have, no doubt, in the days before the birth-control pill.

My second steady began with a panty girdle when we were first dating, but ultimately abandoned it. This was reflective of two things. One was that change in fashions that was manifesting in the 1960s, and the other was my plaintive and whiny entreaties.

“Why aren’t you wearing your panty girdle these days?” her mother once asked when she was emptying the washer.

“Because Ian doesn’t like them,” she replied, unthinkingly.

“HMMM!” responded her mother, a little too testily.

The panty girdle died a deserved death from the mid 1960s on. It died for a number of reasons, but the first one was fashion. The mini-skirt came into vogue, and simultaneously, so did pantyhose. The old-fashioned garters and stockings (the only ‘good’ thing about panty girdles) were relegated to past tense.

It was also a more sexually liberated time, thanks to the pill and changing mores in those pre STD days. If a girl had a pretty bum she wanted to show off both cheeks of it. Thoughtful of them, I’d say. Furthermore, despite the minis, girls regularly were decked out in jeans by that time, and panty girdles just looked plain silly under jeans.

I welcomed the change, as did most females. But, you’ll forgive me for the tiny nostalgia pang with that Mad Men episode. Those ‘weren’t’ the days, but they had their moments.


3 responses to “A combination fortress and protector of virginity ultimately fled the scene

  1. I remember them well…and the lecture we had in the Lower Sixth from our headmistress on the importance of wearing these passion killers.
    No more stockings and suspender belts (insisted on by the school from the Second Form onward)….at our age, it appeared, our figures should be ‘controlled’.

  2. I’m thrilled I missed that particular fashion statement.

  3. I come from the “Golden Age of Girdles”, 50ties, 60ties, and 70ties. All women wore girdle back then every day. Women looked far better then they were all held in and smoothed out with great posture, and clothes fit better. Girdles at that time very much discouraged pre material sex, and acting as as great birth control method. Long legged high waisted boned and zippered panty girdles are actually very comfortable if you go to a professional corsetier for a fitting and some consulting. I believe that society would be far better if women were back in girdles again, and there would be far less pre marital sex and unwanted pregnancy.

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