In writing a Gilded Age fantasy, I wanted to use much that was factual about the time period. The depiction of slavery in my story is decided non-historical, of course, but the clothing and the settings and the means the boys find to amuse themselves are based in reality. However, there are a few factual things I deliberately left out or ignored for storytelling reasons.
In 1900, upper class gentlemen would likely have been wearing gloves when they were in public. However, putting gloves on Henry’s and Martin’s hands would have meant then having to make them take off their gloves anytime I wanted them to engage in some surreptitious touching in the carriage or on the street. I certainly think a story could be written where gloves and their removal might actually be an erotic component, but this wasn’t that story.
The average upper class gentleman of the era would have put quantities of scented oil in his hair, and I left this out because, frankly, the idea of Henry having oily, floral-perfumed hair is just gross to me. I’m not even sure how to address the hair oil issue when a man has very long hair, as Martin does. When reading the story, please assume that their hair is clean!
Finally, underwear of the period would likely have been a one-piece affair, but putting Henry and Martin in union suits introduced any number of logistical problems and would have changed the act of undressing in a way I found unappealing. While it’s possible to have sex while wearing a union suit, I definitely didn’t want to write that. My main RL experience of union suits is by way of my old-fashioned grandfather, so they are pretty much the opposite of sexy to me! Putting Henry and Martin in undershirts and drawers allowed them to undress a little more conveniently.
I love doing research, and I did a great deal of it for this series. Despite the glaring anomalies presented by the depiction of slavery, the majority of the details are as historically accurate as I could make them, and I’ll have future posts on the real places and things that were the basis for story elements.