Sitting here today working on part of my Inspector Flaange detective series and I suddenly remembered the term ‘French Letter’ as a euphemism for a condom.
So I wondered why is it ‘French Letter’?
I found this quote “In Britain, this is a rather old-fashioned euphemism for a condom; in France the phrase ‘capote Anglaise’ is comparable and would be translated as ‘English overcoat‘. It seems that the term is first traced to the 1850s, a period of great tension between the two countries and in which in Britain local militias (groups of male volunteers who dressed up in fancy uniforms with guns and paraded around a lot) were formed because of fears about a French invasion. Other concerns became pressing during the period of the First World War concerning venereal disease, with official recommendation that troops sent to fight in France should either remain ‘pure‘ or use condoms to protect themselves. The worry was not for the women concerned, but keeping the men in shape in order to send them to the front.”