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Have you ever wondered why the 1st Floor half bath is called a powder room?

There is no powdering going in there.

by Anonymousreply 3106/29/2020


by Anonymousreply 106/23/2020

When that term first came into use, there was most definitely powdering going on in there. And besides, it was considered impolite to use the term toilet, or bathroom, so it was sweetened to powder room.

by Anonymousreply 206/23/2020

Speak for yourself.

by Anonymousreply 306/23/2020

[quote]It was considered impolite to use the term toilet, or bathroom, so it was sweetened to powder room.

Well, it is sweeter than shitbox, I’ll give y’that.

by Anonymousreply 406/23/2020

Were people doing coke in your bathroom?

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by Anonymousreply 506/23/2020

It came from Victorian times when it was considered impolite for ladies to excuse themselves to go take shit, so they would use such euphemisms as "to go powder one's nose." And thus, "the powder room" was born.

by Anonymousreply 606/23/2020

Since there was certainly no bathing going on in the half bath why not call it something more appropriate?

by Anonymousreply 706/23/2020

There was - in the sense that one washes one's hand there. Bathing did not originally refer to the washing of the whole body necessarily.

I have often stepped into a bathroom before a job interview or public event to wash my hands and check my hair, etc. I don't think this is unusual in the US at least.

by Anonymousreply 806/23/2020

Powder Room is a silly name and unnecessary. A polite person (like me) would say, "May I be excused" or "Excuse me." Then you stand up and leave. No need to announce where you're going - everyone knows. Works every time.

by Anonymousreply 906/23/2020

Using flowery euphemisms like “powder room” is a lower middle class thing.

by Anonymousreply 1006/23/2020

"Powder Room is a silly name and unnecessary. A polite person (like me) would say, "May I be excused" or "Excuse me." Then you stand up and leave. No need to announce where you're going - everyone knows. Works every time."

Finally, someone with manners bragging about their shits.

I bet you went to finishing school.

Did they teach you how to wipe?

by Anonymousreply 1106/23/2020

How did people in the 18th and 19th century manage if they needed to go powder their nose in the middle of a fancy ball? Did they hold it in until they got back home later?

by Anonymousreply 1206/23/2020

Hey OP!

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by Anonymousreply 1306/23/2020

I always preferred "freshen up," a la Mindy Lewis at the Springfield Country Club.

by Anonymousreply 1406/23/2020

We had a basic bitch-married-to-a-gazillionaire client who called it the Powder Bath.

by Anonymousreply 1506/23/2020

I think women fasted before a ball. That's why food and drink were always served in them. Most of the attendees wete literally starving.

by Anonymousreply 1606/23/2020

R12, women attending balls in the 18th and 19th century were frequently tightly corseted, which kept them from holding their bladder or holding down food. So they either ate and drank lightly or made frequent trips to the powder room or ladies lounge to empty themselves and gather their composure

by Anonymousreply 1706/23/2020

Back then I don't think it was proper for ladies to eat more than a few forkfuls. I'm not sure what the alcoholic beverage of choice for ladies would have been. I used to laugh at that scene in Gone With the Wind where the ladies all took a nap in the middle of the barbecue.

by Anonymousreply 1806/24/2020

Actually term "powder room" goes back to 18th century, it was a room where ladies and gentlemen went to powder their wigs. That powder got all over during application, so best to confine activity to a small room that was easier to keep clean.

Powdering one's nose came about during Victorian era with the rising use (and acceptance) of face powder by respectable ladies. The phrase soon became used by ladies to excuse themselves and use the W.C. Ladies of course did not have bodily functions (hence Jackie Kennedy running the taps when in the W.C., and she wasn't the only one), so gentility demanded something else.

Powder room as in a half-bath is largely an American invention that spread. It allowed guests to use bathroom without intruding upon family's personal space where full baths were located. Powder room also got the name because female guests upon arriving could duck in and fix themselves up before going into main party.

Concept of half baths/powder room can seem odd to Europeans. In France it still is largely deemed a social faux pas to ask for the W.C. when visiting. One is supposed to be in control of all functions and thus simply wait until at home or least out of guest's house. This goes along way in explaining why it can be difficult to find pubic bathrooms, and why streets of major cities like Paris stink of piss.

by Anonymousreply 1906/29/2020

Not a Victorian phrase, but popularized from the 1920s (at which time houses began to have multiple "bathrooms", some not also for bathing purposes and some—still rarely—for use of visitors.)

The early instances from ca.1800 likely relate to the [gun]powder storage rooms on boats or to "powdering rooms" or closets where servants tended and repowdered perukes and periwigs (expensive, important, labor intensive, and messy.)

SOURCE: is off by about a decade for "powder room."

[quote] powder (n.)—c. 1300, "ash, cinders; dust of the earth;" early 14c., "pulverized substance;" mid-14c., "medicinal powder;" late 14c. as "gunpowder," from Old French poudre "dust, powder; ashes; powdered substance" (13c.), earlier pouldre (11c.), from Latin pulverem (nominative pulvis) "dust, powder" (see pulverize). Specialized sense "gunpowder" is from late 14c. In the sense "powdered cosmetic," it is recorded from 1570s. The insertion of the unetymological -d- was common in French (compare meddle, tender (adj.), remainder).

[quote]In figurative sense, powder keg is first attested 1855. [bold]Powder room, euphemistic for "women's lavatory," is attested from 1936. Earlier it meant "place where gunpowder is loaded on a warship" (1620s).[/bold] Powder horn attested by 1530s. Powder puff first recorded 1704; as a symbol of femaleness or effeminacy, in use from at least 1930s.

[quote]c. 1300, "to put powder on;" late 14c., "to make into powder," from Old French poudrer "to pound, crush to powder; strew, scatter," from poudre (see powder (n.)). Related: Powdered; powdering.

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by Anonymousreply 2006/29/2020

Sorry R19, somehow I didn't see your post until just now.

by Anonymousreply 2106/29/2020

In the Civil War, that was where soldiers kept their gunpowder and took a piss.

by Anonymousreply 2206/29/2020

The alternate name “Poop room” didn’t catch on

by Anonymousreply 2306/29/2020

"Restroom" is an even sillier euphemism.

by Anonymousreply 2406/29/2020

R18, I bet those gals were just going for a scissor and some sandwiches.

by Anonymousreply 2506/29/2020

So you would prefer to call it a bath when there is no bathtub in the room?

by Anonymousreply 2606/29/2020

Americans are such prudes.

I used to go into the "SAVED CHRISTIANS" chat room on AOL and announce, "BRB, I need to take a huge dump."

From the reaction, I may as well have threatened to kill people.

by Anonymousreply 2706/29/2020

What do all the fat American bitches do and say now? One moment, I need to go check my TikTok. Then play their feed as they stink up the room?

by Anonymousreply 2806/29/2020

Because that's where they does the cocaine.

by Anonymousreply 2906/29/2020


Have always liked French or other Europeans do things...

A W.C or les toilettes is where one goes to relive oneself. Salle de bain" is where one bathes.

So if looking for the "loo", or "head" .... that is what you ask to use. Some French and other Europeans take cruel delight in Americans desperately asking for salle de bain (or whatever word is used for bathroom), instead of W.C. or word for toilet. It is a natural thing for them to distinguish between the two, but not most Americans.

Then again many homes in Europe didn't get indoor plumbing (as in toilets) until after WWII. Yes, homes and even apartments had bathrooms (where one bathed), but you either still used slop jars or there was an outhouse in back.

Have seen rooms in some old hotels in Paris where the toilet was literally in main (only) room not far from the bed. Then you still have plenty of apartments or homes in Paris and elsewhere that have a separate W.C and salle de bain. Some of my French and Belgian friends think this arrangement is a total waste of space. More so because the two rooms are usually adjacent so it isn't like a powder room for say visitors.

by Anonymousreply 3006/29/2020


Not really. There are reasons why ladies vanish into certain public bathrooms and remain for a very long time.

At least in hotels, night clubs and other public establishments toilets for ladies had (and often still do have) lounge areas. Ladies could use these areas much as they would a boudoir; rest for moment, take respite from the often constricting and uncomfortable garments they wore, collect themselves emotionally .... There could also be an attendant who acted like a ladies maid, helping with wardrobe issues, acting as a shoulder to cry on, etc...

Assuming you've seen 1939 film "The Women"; well look at that ladies room where final action takes place. Their is an entire suite of furniture including chairs and sofas, Mrs. Buck Winston makes good use of the latter. You don't see toilets or sinks as they are in another room off the lounge area.

Mary Haines makes use of the "restroom" hanging out there to lie in wait for Sylvia Fowler. In background you see other women just sitting around, reading magazines.....

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by Anonymousreply 3106/29/2020
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