The Romanian Army, the Great War, and cosmetics

I’m on a bit of a World War I kick lately–after discovering that The Guns of August ends on a huge cliffhanger, I went on to find out what happened next with G.J. Meyer’s A World Undone. (I’m now in the epilogue, with Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919.)

Discussing Romania’s late and ill-fated entry on the Entente side, Meyer mentions in passing that the Army prohibited men of less than Captain’s rank from wearing make-up. A little googling finds the prohibition mentioned a few other places, but provides no further detail. (Or pictures.)

Does anyone know anything abut this? It’s obviously a bit of a tangent to a tangent, but I’m curious. Were they tarting themselves up like Parisian whores, with blush, mascara, eyeshadow, drawn-on angry eyebrows to strike fear into Austro-Hungarian hearts, or was it just a little guyliner to make them look dark and mysterious? Does the practice have deep Romanian roots, or was it just a 19teens fad? Pictures, of course, would be ideal. :slight_smile:

This was an era when some continental officers — not enlisted men — wore corsets ( but not at all from sexual reasons; hell, back then women didn’t wear corsets from sexual reasons, it was just underwear ).
I’ve read about Romanian officers of the period using make-up, and would point out it was more epicene than homosexual or feminine in inspiration, they kept their moustaches and would be brave enough in duels and battles etc,; Romania, obviously, ran on French culture to a larger extent than most of Europe; King Carol and his jewish mistress seem nice enough, and quite maligned by jealous parliamentary politicians then, and the republican Iron Guard later, but they don’t seem very butch.
Whilst absolving these loons of homosexuality now, this doesn’t mean that neighbouring officers in the rest of Europe regarding their Romanian peers then would not have drawn in their breaths sharply and pointedly changed the subject.

Yeah, the impression I got from Paris 1919, which had more than one throwaway line about the Romanians, was that they were sort of out-Parising the Parisians. I’d still like to know more about it, and of course to see pictures of Romanian generals tarting themselves up before riding off to war.

Shame they didn’t do better, really–it would’ve been something to have great military victories racked up by, with a nod to Eddie Izzard, the First Roumanian Transvestite Brigade.

No love for the Ladies from Hell?