October 27th, 2011

music, serious face

[ANON POST] Somewhat presumptive German address/phrases for a good friend, late 18th century

<b>MOD NOTE: Please remember to post a follow-up if I don't put your post on the community within a day or so. It probably means that I haven't gotten the comment notification, and your post will languish! This is from the 20th, case in point.</b>

I'm looking for ways an 18th-century, German-speaking character (writing in German, though he may borrow phrases from other languages if they seem better suited) would address or describe his relation to a very good (male) friend in a letter.

The character doing the writing is well-educated, well-read, young (late teens/early twenties), and definitely with a Romantic bent, writing to someone he considers a social peer. I'm looking for something rather... effusive about the nature of this friendship. ("Old-fashioned" would be nice as well, but as far as I can tell from reading this L_D post (http://little-details.livejournal.com/2679981.html#comments) and resources like it, this kind of very friendly address in letters was a reaction to Enlightenment mores. The letter-writer is a vampire, and some of his vocabulary dates him somewhat, but he's pretty with-it as far as the intent behind addressing him this way.)

Not necessarily flowery or term of endearment/nickname-like, but something that would read as somewhat premature for a slightly chilly/professional relationship. Overtones of what to the modern reader seems rather romantic are fine -- the two characters are sexually involved on a regular and understandably clandestine basis, but my MC means to emphasize basically that he's his best and possibly only friend, without the actual friendship to back it up. I'm familiar with the concept of romantic friendship, but these characters emphatically don't have one, as much as my MC would like them to. Translations of what particular phrases would mean would be really helpful, as my knowledge of German's pretty rusty and minimal.

(My setting is nearer to the tail end of the 18th century, date and actual setting less than defined due to this being something of a Gothic horror pastiche in parts. My MC comes from basically an expy of Hungary, and is of Austrian background, but he's currently living abroad, actual location TBD.)

Terms Googled: "18th century german[/german language] correspondence"/"18th century german letter writing"/letters, "18th century correspondence", "18th century letter writing", "18th century address + friendship", and got mostly information on Goethe and Schiller writing letters to each other (which would be interesting as hell, research aside, if my German were better!) and romantic friendship.

I've also poked around on all the 18th century tags here (generally and by decade), the German language tag.
music, serious face

[ANON POST] Prostitution in a semi-matriarchy

I'm developing a fantasy nation where the family structure is heavily based on the Mosuo people of China. Lineage and family life focus around the women, marriage as we know it doesn't really exist (it's more like serial monogamy), kids are raised by their mother, aunts, and uncles, and the father plays only a small role in their lives. However, my nation has a few differences: There's a reliable birth-control drug around which plays a central role in my nation's economy and culture, and my nation is on a much larger scale than the Mosuo.

I'm having trouble figuring out how prostitution would develop in a large nation like that, my research has not turned up anything useful in that department, and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or useful references?

Would there be prostitution FOR women in this society? What would that be like (I'm almost picturing male and maybe female bath attendants who double as sex workers)? I'm sure that prostitution for men would still exist, but how would it be different? How would the prostitutes themselves be viewed?

- Googled: Mosuo prostitution, matriarchy prostitution, history of prostitution, sacred prostitution, prostitution for women

- Found several extremely useful articles and a research paper about the Mosuo, and matrilineal societies in general
[Firefly] Inara

boarding a medieval sailing ship + speed of said ships


I'm currently writing a fantasy story set in the middle ages, and in the opening chapter my main character, a woman, is going to mascarade as a young man and attempt to board a merchant sailing ship traveling North.

1) How would she go about getting onboard? Would the ship captain request payment of her? Obviously they didn't have IDs and social security numbers and all that back then, so would they worry if they were helping a potential murderer/escaped criminal aboard (she is that, actually)? I had this vague idea that she could incapacitate the ship's cook and then show up and tell the captain that she was his replacement. Would there be a way for the captain to corroborate that? But in general, if that doesn't pan out, is it feasible that she could just walk up to him (as a man, still) and request passage? Is it likely that he would allow it? Would she be housed with the rest of the sailors? Would she be asked to help with the ship duties?

2) I know medieval sailing ships' speeds depended mostly on the wind, but in general, how fast were they? My ship is going from, say,that inner curve of Libya to France (only straight up). About how long would such a journey take, assuming the wind is regular?

I perused this page as well as the other pages on the site, and Googled things like "boarding a medieval merchant ship" but didn't get very specific results.

I'd appreciate any help, thanks!

EDITING WITH MORE INFO: My character is from a culture that is sort of an Arab/Indian mix, but the ship is sailing off to a continent that is a Scandinavia/Siberia sort of thing. The character definitely comes from the same land and speaks the same language as the sailors, albeit a different dialect. Now, it's a fantasy story, but the century is approximately 13th, in accordance with our world.

EDIT: Also, in this vein, how would she know which ship is going where? I know she would go to the docks/port and there would probably be several ships; was there any way they let people know to where they were headed or would the captain/sailors need to be asked?
confetti, cute

noticing the smell of stale cigarettes during the 1960s

Google searched: "cigarette smell 1960s" (and "1950s"), "cigarette smell hotels 1960s", "stale cigarette smell", "cigarette smell upkeep 1960s"

Okay, so I've tried a few search terms, but I'm unsure of how to get what I want. I keep getting stuff about how to get that stale cigarette smell out of old homes. 

Basically, I have a story set in the early 1960s. As far as I know, people often smoked indoors, with very little stigma attached to smoking in public buildings. My question is basically: how much of a stale cigarette smell would there be indoors during this period?

Specifically, to get a better idea:

In a hotel? In a typical house? Did people try not to smoke in their houses to prevent a stale cigarette smell, or was there some way of warding it off? Would a public place (like a well-kept hotel) be better at keeping the smell at bay? Or did everyone just live with it and not really notice because it was everywhere? Would a heavy smoker's home smell significantly worse than a light smoker's? 

Thanks in advance! 

ETA: Thanks so much! This is even more information than I needed... which is wonderful. :)