I wonder how many of my younger readers may need some explanation of the cultural context behind this mid-20th-century comic postcard?

upskirt voyeur carnival sideshow

Back in the day when most women wore dresses and skirts in public, there was always the risk of a wayward wind catching and lifting her garments, giving a sharp-eyed man a quick glimpse of her in-most-cases-quite-unrevealing underclothes. The blast of air thrust by a moving train from a subway ventilation grate was especially notorious for doing this, but the unpredictable gusty winds along the boardwalk at a seaside resort were a common culprit too. A subway grate air blast provided the context of the famous 1954 movie scene where Marilyn Monroe’s skirts fly up.

Moreover, the “fun house” at a traveling carnival or circus was often rigged with surprise air jets to create this effect for the risque amusement of the attendees. It was a known gimmick, and townie women often played along, wearing sexy underwear and pretending to embarrassment, but in reality posing themselves quite deliberately to tease and amuse their dates. It was good clean fun, but a fellow hanging around too long to perv on the scene might become an object of derision himself, just as we sneer at somebody who lurks in public stairwells trying to get upskirt glimpses or photos.

The funhouse air jets were enough of a cultural icon that they’ve appeared on ErosBlog previously. In this circus cartoon, a horny elephant uses a blast of air from his trunk to flip up a skirt, while an appreciative ringmaster tells a clown that “Bombo got the idea at the Fun House.”

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