December 26th, 2008

dry lips aid before chapstick?

setting: early 1880s, France (Paris)
character: an eccentric fellow with dry lips

Does anyone know what was used to soothe chapped lips before lip balm was actually invented? I've googled "dry lips 1880s" and "lip balm 1880s," but all I keep getting is "Chapstick was invented in the 1880s..." etc (and apparently it took a while to catch on). I also googled alternatives to Chapstick, but all I got were different lip balms that were definitely post-1880s (Blistex, Carmex, etc). I'm guessing some sort of concoction with wax or oil as an ingredient was used, maybe? Could a mixture of some kind be purchased in a store at the time, or does it have to be homemade? Thanks for the help!

Gay slang in 1920's England

So I have a character who's Irish but living in England who has to talk about other characters (one of whom is his brother, so I need SOME ideas that were at least vaguely polite, or at least bordering on neutral/not overtly cruel) that are gay. What terminology would he use? I know the term "homosexual" was floating around as a very hoity-toity scientific sort of way of saying it, but I'm talking more slang or colloquialisms, the way we'd use "gay". I'd also, of course, need a lot of slurs. I know "faggot" and "fag" didn't become used until post-Nazis. I've got a few suggestions, like queer, bent, pansy, and fairy. How derogatory were each of those considered? Were terms like "shirt lifter" and "poof" even around? Basically, I'm sure my character has a veritable treasure trove of ways to say someone's gay, and helping me as a modern non-Brit fill in that chasm with both words and their relative rudeness would be appreciated.

Edit: I should have been clearer! This character is living in the 1920's, is young, and is working/lower class.