Date: Tue, 28 Aug 1956 04:12:09 +0000
From: Tom Dalzell slangman[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PACBELL.NET
Subject: Re: G-string
I did some work on G STRING for SLANG OF SIN, and can offer several
earlier uses of g-string (or gee-string), but I cannot offer a solid
explanation of what the "G" is.
The OED cites Harper's Magazine of 1891 as the first use of the term to
describe the loin cloth worn by American Indians. Richard Thorton's AN
AMERICAN GLOSSARY (1912) contains a slightly earlier first citation of
"gee-string" - J. H. Beadle's WESTERN WILDS (1878). The term was also
used to describe the brief loin cloth worn in the Philippines at least
as early as 1903, predating by three decades the use of the term in the
context of striptease in the 1930's.
For the striptease context, the OED cites John Dos Passos in BIG MONEY
(1936) as the earliest use of "geestring." Within the Tamony
Collection, however, one finds a 1931 use in Bernard Sobel's BURLEYCUE
(... where girls take off everything by the brassiere and the "G" string
--- the narrow equivalent to the dancing belt...)
The musical etymology (G string as the lowest string on the violin) is
popular but probably apocryphal. I don't know Earl Wilson's discussion
of "G String" and would greatly appreciate a cite if anyone can help.
The big question remains - what is the "G" or the "Gee"? "Genitals" is
one guess, "groin" another. I have nothing but guesses for now though.
Last thought - dancers in sex clubs today often wear a "T bar" instead
of a "G string."