G-string

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For strings on musical instruments, see strings (music). For the orchestral suite by Johann Sebastian Bach, see Air on the G String.
Woman wearing a G-string

A G-string (alternatively gee-string or gee string) is a type of thong underwear or swimsuit, a narrow piece of cloth, leather, or plastic, that covers or holds the genitals, passes between the buttocks, and is attached to a band around the hips, worn as swimwear or underwear mostly by women, but also by men. The two terms G-string and thong are sometimes used interchangeably; however, technically they refer to different pieces of clothing. G-strings are also worn by exotic dancers or go-go dancers.

Etymology[edit]

The origin of the term "G-string" is obscure. Since the 19th century, the term geestring referred to the string which held the loincloth of Native Americans[1] and later referred to the narrow loincloth itself. William Safire in his Ode on a G-String quoted the usage of the word "G-string" for loincloth by Harper's Magazine 15 years after John Hanson Beadle's 1877 usage and suggested that the magazine confused the word with the musical term G-string (i.e., the string for the G note). This is apocryphal, as the narrowest string on a violin is the E string.[2]

Safire also mentions the opinion of linguist Robert Hendrickson that G (or gee) stands for groin, which was a taboo word at the time.[3]

History[edit]

The g-string first appeared in costumes worn by showgirls in Earl Carroll's productions during the Jazz Age. Linguist Robert Hendrickson believes that the 'g' stands for 'groin'.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the G-string was originally a narrow strip of fabric worn by Indian women. During the Depression, a "G-string" was known as "the gadget", a double-entendre that referred to a handyman's "contrivance", an all-purpose word for the thing that might "fix" things.[2] During the 1930s, the "Chicago G-string" gained prominence when worn by performers like Margie Hart, The Chicago area was the home of some of the largest manufacturers of G-strings and it also became the center of the burlesque shows in the United States.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beadle, John Hanson (1877). Western Wilds, and the Men Who Redeem Them: An Authentic Narrative. p. 249. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rachel Shteir (1 November 2004). Striptease:The Untold History of the Girlie Show: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Oxford University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-19-512750-8. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Safire, William (August 4, 1991). "On Language; Ode on a G-String". The New York Times.