Hey guys, since Bertie spent a lot of time in New York and since slash is a glorious thing, I am tossing in an unreserved recommendation for the book Gay New York
by George Chauncey to anyone interested in what the gay scene would've been like in the 1920s and 1930s (which is, happily, the era the book spends the most time on).
Here's a link to it on Amazon: Gay New York by Chauncey
It's about 470 pages long, so you really get your money worth. (Price is between $8 and $16 depending on if you go for new or used.)
Before reading it, I had a vague idea that anyone who was gay before Stonewall had to live in secrecy and fear. I was wrong. Totally wrong. I was floored to find an era where gay men would carry around things like this:( More historical images and info under the cut )
I guarantee that your mind will be RIFE with plot bunnies after reading this book, not to mention it is fascinating from a historical perspective in its own right. The way ideas of masculinity have changed since then (when an average joe could sleep with a fairy (an effeminate man) and not be considered gay because fairies were kind of like girls
, right? so it was like sleeping with a woman, really.
), the surprisingly huge and visible drag balls and other society events, the way privacy was forced into public spaces (because so many gay men lived in community housing like boarding houses), and the one gay man who kept a diary about how he would befriend and then sleep with policemen on a regular basis.
On the Wodehousian side of things, I could see Jeeves being quite shaken if Bertie started making friends with anyone remotely campy . . . If Jeeves shies back from Bingo Little's dreadful horseshoe tie, I can't imagine what he would think if Bertie decided to compete in a drag ball. (Bertie does enjoy fancy dress, after all.)
Or would he perhaps view this as just another challenge and insist that Bertie be attired ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY so he will WIN that ruddy contest?
Feel free to fire away any questions at me, although I don't know anything more than anyone else who read the book. :)Edit:
Just added some quotes from the book.( Fabulous Princess Toto! )