Archive for : October, 2014

Underwear in Space?

Carrie Fisher famously told the story of how, during the making of the Star Wars movies, director George Lucas convinced her to go commando under her costumes, because, “there is no underwear in space”. So off with the bra and panties!
According to what Lucas reportedly told Fisher, in space, when one is weightless, the flesh expands – and normal underwear would become too small and constrictive. Is this true?

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Another space film which received some criticism on the underwear issue was Gravity. Sandra Bullock’s character floats weightlessly in the space station in boy-short undies and a singlet. According to a professional astronaut, this just does not ring true at all…

It seems that attire in space is anything but sexy.

So what do astronauts wear under their space suits?

Underneath the heavy and cumbersome space suit, an astronaut wears a liquid cooling and ventilation garment. This resembles a set of thermal underwear, with cooling tubes for water to keep the body temperature stable. And underneath this? Adult diapers, or nappies.

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Called Maximum Absorbency Garments (MAGs), they have extra absorbency properties and are worn during lift off, landing, and “space walking”, to absorb what would usually be deposited in the toilet. Both male and female astronauts wear them. While in all possible instances the astronaut will use lavatory facilities on the space station instead, the MAG provides peace of mind. Space suits are not easy to get on and off.

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NASA astronauts are given MAGs for launch, spacewalking, and re-entry attempts. They also drink a large amount of salty water before re-entry as fluids are not retained in zero-gravity; this prevents them from fainting when being re-exposed to gravity on Earth.

These undergarments become drenched in sweat – apparently human bodies get hot out there.

And what happens to the dirty underwear? Apparently dirty laundry gets tossed into a resupply ship which is unmanned. When the ship is chock full of rubbish (including those adult nappies), the hatch is closed, it is undocked, and floats off into space to fall into the atmosphere – where it burns up on its fall towards Earth. Now we all know what is in space dust…

Amazing Historical Underwear: Mary, Queen of Scots’ Chemise

There are numerous undergarment relics to be found around the world. One of these can be seen in Warwickshire, England, at Coughton Court. This manor house is the seat of the famous English Catholic family, the Throckmortons, who have been in residence there for six hundred years.

The relic is purportedly the chemise worn by Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots during her execution on February 8th, 1587. This Catholic queen was beheaded in Scotland on the orders of her Protestant cousin Elizabeth I, due to various plots by Mary which threatened her seat on the throne of England as well as her life.

The queen’s death was anything but clean and precise. Her beheading required three attempts before it was achieved, and the whole spectacle was a very grisly end to the life of a woman and an aristocrat.

Considered to have been worn for the occasion, the long white linen chemise was worn as an “underdress”.  Low in the collar and wide across the shoulders (which, if genuine, might explain the absence of bloodstains), it has been carbon dated to the year of the Scottish queen’s death in 1587, and it is stitched with the words, “of the holy martyr, Mary, Queen of Scots”. It has been taken very seriously as a genuine relic by devout Catholics ever since the sixteenth century.

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Whether the chemise is genuine we will never know – though that likelihood is somewhat questionable. Not only due to the absence of any stain. Contemporary reports stated that her undergarments were all crimson red – to represent a Catholic martyr. Whether this is true of fabricated is a mystery.

There are also reports that everything connected with the execution was ordered to be burnt – from the block and the scaffold to the queen’s clothing. Yet it is not a stretch to imagine that loyal supporters would not have secreted away whatever they could to be kept as relics of the event.

We will never know. Personally, I think it more likely that, yes, the chemise was owned and worn by the Scottish queen – just not on that last grisly day when she lost her head.

The Joys of Bra Shopping – the Teen Perspective

As a teenager, I have mixed feelings about bras. Most of those feelings are negative. As an example, when the only bra I have left is that one bra which is visible through my shirt. As I walk around, I’m perfectly aware that every single person in my vicinity knows the colour of one half of my underwear. And I begin to wonder, why did I buy this bra? Ah, yes, bra shopping. I love shopping for myself, but bra shopping is something I could very easily do without.

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Firstly, since I cannot drive, and when I’m starting out with bra shopping require some … assistance, I have to go with my mother. Which would normally be fine, if we were shopping for something like clothes or presents for friends. But bra shopping is a bit more perilous in this situation. It begins with the moment I walk into the bra section, and I am bombarded with the sight of neon pink and bright green bras, and I think “how do people even wear those without the aforementioned see-through shirt disaster?” With a quick glance over my shoulder to make sure there is no one I know within a 50 metre radius, I reluctantly press on further into the shopping section of doom.

It turns out, while I was busy contemplating the issue of bumping into school peers and neon bras, my mother has already picked out a selection for me to try on. And since I’ve already managed to get separated from her, she is forced to hold it up in the air and call out to me. At this moment, I have one of two choices: walk towards the bra being suspended in the air and reveal that it is beckoning for me; or I can hide, and no doubt succumb myself to more calling out and eventual anger from my mother. Let’s face it, angry mothers are scary. So, I make my way towards her, once again hoping that no one I know is nearby.

After a hasty discussion involving my mother holding the bra up to me and asking me whether I think it will fit (if I say yes, does that mean we can leave early?), I have to go try it on anyway. Now, I don’t know about you, but stripping down in a change room is hellishly awkward. They don’t have CCTV cameras in there, right? Not to mention the straps on this bra probably won’t be set right, and the band will be stubborn and not want to attach, and basically it will just be a disaster. Still, it’s a bra, and it fit eventually, so I’m done here, and I’m ready to leave this shop as soon as possible.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh on the bra shopping experience. It is important, and when you learn you’ve gone up a bra size, well, that’s always a bit exciting (as a teen it is, anyway). There are definitely aspects which are less than desirable, and when you’re a teenager, the bad tends to outweigh the good. Thank goodness for online shopping at Undiewarehouse!