WTF Fun Fact 13712 – The Great Male Reunuciation

The Great Male Renunciation marked a pivotal shift in men’s fashion. It occurred at the end of the 18th century. Men abandoned flamboyant and elaborate attire for sober, tailored suits, reflecting broader societal transformations.

From Extravagance to Sobriety

Before the renunciation, European aristocracy embraced lavish clothing. Bright colors, luxurious fabrics, and intricate designs were the norms. This extravagance signified wealth, power, and status. However, the end of the 1700s brought a dramatic change. Men started adopting more reserved and practical clothing. Dark suits, simple shirts, and trousers became the standard. This marked a departure from the ornate styles that dominated men’s fashion.

Influences Behind the Great Male Renunciation

Several factors influenced this fashion revolution. The Enlightenment played a crucial role. It promoted ideals of equality, simplicity, and rationality. These ideals made the excessive aristocratic dress seem outdated. Additionally, the French Revolution further discouraged displays of wealth. It made flamboyant dressing a political risk.

The rise of the middle class also contributed. As the middle class grew, they favored practicality and modesty in dress, reflecting their work ethic and values.

Impact on Society and Fashion

The Great Male Renunciation had lasting effects on society and fashion. It leveled the playing field in dress, making men’s clothing less indicative of social status. This shift also laid the groundwork for the modern suit. The suit became the universal symbol of masculinity and professionalism. It showed that a man’s worth lay in his character and achievements, not in his appearance.

Legacy of the Great Male Renunciation

Today, the Great Male Renunciation still influences men’s fashion. The suit remains a staple in men’s wardrobes. It symbolizes respectability, seriousness, and a nod to tradition.

However, recent trends show a move towards more casual and expressive styles in menswear. Despite this, the legacy of the renunciation persists. It reminds us that fashion is not just about aesthetics. It reflects cultural, political, and social currents.

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Source: “A Men’s Wear Revolution” — The New York Times

WTF Fun Fact 12586 – Using Urine to Treat Stains

Healthy urine is 95% water, 2.5% urea, and 2.5% salts, minerals, enzymes, etc. That doesn’t necessarily make it the ideal laundry detergent, but there’s plenty of historical evidence that it was used as such going all the way back to ancient Rome.

The key here is urea, which decays into ammonia. You’ll find ammonia in many household cleaners because it can cut through dirt and grease.

Even after the invention of laundry soap, some people preferred to use urine for tough stains. (Our question remains: what do you use to get out the urine stains and smell?!)

Hey, it’s free and never in short supply, so we can see why you might want to soak a particularly terrible grease stain every now and then when you had no other choice. And one would need to use stale urine to get the correct chemical reaction, so perhaps that’s easier to rinse out? We’re not sure; we’ve never tried.

Urine also had other uses back in the day – disinfecting wounds and softening leather, for example. But there’s really no reason to try this at home to see how it works.

Now, for those who continue to claim that Romans used it for whitening their teeth, we’d like to see some more evidence. The only citation for this “fact” is a poem by Catullus, famous for writing scandalous and filthy poems (and who hardly makes a factual claim).

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Source: “From Gunpowder to Teeth Whitener: The Science Behind Historic Uses of Urine” — Smithsonian Magazine