Am I going to crush everyone’s dreams today? I certainly hope not *smiles* but there are just some things I can’t keep to myself! History itself is romanticized a lot, and I’m not knocking it, I love to romanticize about history! I’m a historical romance author, guilty of all the things I’m about to reveal to you…
Why am I doing it? Mostly because its fun!
Myth #1—The heroine has smooth legs…Sorry folks but ladies didn’t shave their legs in medieval times! Nor in Regency either…And you can forget armpits! Waxed eyebrows or upper lips! And she certainly wouldn’t have a trimmed/waxed honeypot either, lol (for more info, click here)
Myth#2 – She smells of orange blossoms. Sure she might, right after a bath, but put all those clothes on, give it an hour or two, and her armpits might start a stinking… And as for the hero? I’m not sure I even want to think about it. I’ve ridden public transportation, lol
Myth #3 – They had pearly white teeth. First of all, the first tooth brush wasn’t even patented into the 1850s! Before that they used herbs, rags, sticks, and other odd remedies to clean their teeth. There are rumors that Elizabeth I had black teeth…not sure if that’s true or not…(for more info, click here)
Myth #4 – Fresh scents filled the air of the castle…Maybe a few select times of the year. But think about it. Not everyone bathed or cleaned their clothes and linens. The placed to do your business was a hole, that didn’t flush. You wouldn’t see me 100 feet in front of castle on a hot summer day. Don’t forget, a lot of times in the great hall, the people would simply toss bones behind them into the rushes for the dogs—and there were rats too…(for more info, click here)
Myth #5 – They married for love. Very rarely, and I mean like maybe 1 in a 1000, did this happen. Marriage was a contract, meant for bartering, whether that was money, lands, protection, or something else. Feelings didn’t play a part in it.
Myth #6 -- Kilts weren’t around until much later…Doesn’t that stink??? I love thinking about a medieval Scottish laird in a kilt! But unfortunately the kilt wasn’t popular until closer to the 18th century, although it has been documented that kilts were worn in the 16th century. They did have plaids though, and they were worn, so I think we can fudge it a bit *wink*
I’m sorry to spoil it for you. But don’t worry, you’ll never (well I certainly pray you never) pick up a romance novel where two smelly, hairy, people with bad breath make out on a bed full of lice and fleas while rats run around scurrying for scraps of food nearby.
Any more? What did I miss? Share with me!
Eliza Knight is the best-selling author or Regency romance and Time Travel Highlander erotic romance with The Wild Rose Press. She is the author of the award-winning blog, History Undressed. Eliza teaches various workshops online, including history, research and writing craft. Visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com or www.historyundressed.blogspot.com