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Posts Tagged ‘fascination station’

The strangeness of days. The lopsided magic that elbows you from the sidelines. You hold your ribs, shaking your head. It happens. “Did that really happen?” You’ll say,cued up, but you’ll know. YES.
Eye-rubber, head-scratcher days. Where synchronicities pip, pop, pap and you watch. You know something is right- for you at least- in some way- but what an unorthodox display.
When moments and days segue and transcend perfectly into the next. The foreshadowing-of-strange-life-events feature revving.
As we grow, we become more aware- hopefully of the simple one door closed/ another opened equation. It’s genuine application. It’s mystery promise.
Go on, slap your normativity across the face with a wind up and see what comes. It might be giant. A slow giant, with watchful eye’s yet sloth-like timing. Like a continental drift. Before you know it you’re on the other side of the equator. Eating the same cereal all the while.
It’s moves like this that occur when you were sleeping. Be it literally or physically. Suddenly you might be 35 years old, in a kitchen that’s giving up the battle of white walls, a long and scratchy-floored corridor, old mouldings, access to the roof where you’ll take in first-of-morning moments, big ol’ bay windows at your head where you do your best to rest under your prized Pendleton.
Maybe you’ll have gone to a show 2 nights ago that you were looking forward to. One who’s performer you had seen before, who’s lyrics inspired and tickled you; a voice so soft you wanted to make slippers out of it. And maybe that show turned out to be an absolute flop- mimicking a pitiful freshmen art school project on staccato affects on the audience, and an undeterminable counterpart person on stage to remain turning potentially purposeless knobs and staring, full face into the eyes of your singing sweety who would soon melt before you as a bore. And maybe they would remain, staring and staring some more into each other’s eyes, ignoring the crowd at large, and whispering near the microphone; said counterpart looking plain Jane, but when the light hit her just right somehow Alice Cooper would emerge. Sans light tricks. Just a disco ball 20 some odd feet above. Let’s just say. And you told your friends. And the Alice Cooper thing was just undeniable and so-fucking-trippy and it kept happening. A devil woman!
And then you’re in this place, devising a get away plan, when the show ends early anyway, and you decide “Oh how nice, I shall ride my bike home and retire to bed quite early, making up for lack of sleep. How divine”, or something to that effect.
Home you go. Sleep you do. Until 3:37am when bullets ring out. Maybe 6 maybe 7 you can’t be sure because waking up with jolts and orientation isn’t your strong suit. And then a man wailing begins. And you call the police, and you go to the living room and you watch the man writhing on the sidewalk, 1 story below and about 7 yards from your building and punctured with bullets, and you; helpless in your robe, holding your mouth and wishing for a hug. Reevaluating the definition of loneliness.
Cops come after not too long and your eyes won’t budge until you forcibly pull yourself back to bed with silver brown black red sparks jittering your spinal column, heavying the pit of your back and lay there as the police commence taking witness testimonies right below your bedroom window until 6:50am.
And then your day has begun with sleep being a lost design, and you are nothing more than shot with rubber-band-brain thoughts continually slinging back to the sounds of what is to be a man the most alone in the world when consolation is the most important. And-oh-the-humanity.
And big baby, suck it up because you’re in the city now and it’s time to get tough and cut the gasps.
And then the day passes until the moment where you return home from the long-ass work day, to unwind with your pup-beast-filthy-love-animal-dog, and you go a walkin’ and a talkin'(on the phone), and as you round the dark corner, you emit a silent scream because… a gun! On the pavement. Too much. Your friend awaits on the other side of the phone afraid and waiting to be informed, as you realize- it’s not so much a gun as an abnormally large and angular shaped, 90 degree turd, in the perfect shape of a big big revolver. And you release in laughter and your friend remarks “I don’t know which is worse”, as your dog has begun to help himself to perimeterless snack, so you tell her what’s worse. And you know you have discovered a whole new level of turd burglar.
The continuous line, having been so for a while now; curious, unpredictable, colorful, undeniable. It’s the strangeness of days, when you as the observer skirt harm, eyes alert and concerned, yet an energy of still and constant, if not necessarily detached- lightness of being. Atypical stage. The comedy, the tragedy, roller coaster magic, continuos turn. Wheel gears gripping and moving forward as we ride. It’s all happening.
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Can I ask you some questions? Would you be so kind as to take a moment to reflect for me? It’s about you. It’s for me… well, for now. But I have ideas OF COURSE. So if you prefer, you can answer anonymously. You can even have my personal email: thelighteningcan@gmail.com and I will respect your privacy when I reiterate. Though, I don’t think you’ll be feeling too exposed when you get right down to it.
I want to know 3 things.

  1. What makes you unique?
  2. What makes you special?
  3. What makes you fortunate?

I have answered these questions with my own brain to provide a template of depth I hope to find, verses some topical answer. Answer in one part, two parts, three parts… whatever. Get loose with it!

Baby L (me)

  1. What makes you unique?

a. Often- I’ll see people that seemed deeply embroiled in a heavy make out session, all intertwined and public. Then upon further inspection it turns out that it is in fact just one, solitary obese person.
b. A new vocabulary word that I have never used before will be on the tip of my brain upon wake, awaiting its debut in my conversations perhaps.
c. I dream about water bodies in some capacity every night.

  1. What makes you special?

I care deeply for justice and work towards it in some way almost every day. I have wired my life around it.

  1. What makes you fortunate?

a. I am fortunate because I have creative, tireless brain that when on the right trajectory has the capacity to produce beeeaaauuuty! And crazy drive. I am constantly getting new, cool ideas for art on a larger scale. I’ve always been dipped in some form of self-expression.
b. Also, I have parents that have been supportive of my zany ways that differ so strongly from their approach at life. We love each other.
c. I have a beautiful house and beautiful friends.
d. I’ve been granted with an overall positive disposition.
e. I consider myself pretty self-aware and am always striving to be my best self.
f. I got rhythm for days and I ain’t afraid of no dancefloor!

So there it is. Spice it up/ break it down. I’m listening. Sock it to me (((please!!)))!

play this

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I AM NOT A HAMMER! Not a hammer. He screamed inwardly, directing his intentions at the tall, rough-brick buildings, the foreboding, overlooking passersby, the ominous, taunting sky. Screamed on the inside and what good did it do, but translate to another twisted face of his. The fear and anger welling up once again. If only he’d learned in time to pipe up, if only his voice could back him, if only the right person had asked the right things, if only. If only. If only.

Ah, but that is the curse of the foster kid shuffle. Is it not? The souls it claims tumbling out in ruins, vacillating between the unstoppable, menacing dissonance in splatter-surround-sound, incessantly playing between ears of the touched, and coming out loud, disconcerting… Or the quiet ones; The ones still entangled in the monster-under-the-bed deluded illusion of the “if I can’t see them, they can’t see me” variety. Eyes averted. Lost beyond the depths. A despondency measured in dog years.

Herein is where our homeboy lay. He’d been pushed out into the sun under a bad star from the jump. Tunnels of NYC ain’t no place to form a baby, especially when a woman didn’t know what the fuck was wrong with her until the day she uncontrollably wet herself, and was stabbed by alien pains emanating from the depths of her belly when she was mostly used to being numb.

Cries and primal, animal sounds rung the dark maze beneath the streets that morning, about an eighth of a mile shy from the nearest shaft of dusted light. A baby was born onto a worn mattress full of unspeakable stains. Picked up reluctantly by filthy, unexpectant hands, and held, finally, to a tattered breast on a tired body with a rapid heartbeat, and the first. blossoming. of instant. surprise. love. a person can only know once they’ve been left to bleed and all else had failed.

And speaking of blood, holy mother was it a mess. Messy from day one. This woman! She had no idea. She was just walking in the shoes that she’d been given a generation or two ago. She couldn’t be sure. Family history was never rich on the roster. But she’d stayed on the same path as her own mother. Tending her habits above all else. Passing them on to her skinny, miracle child.

It was novelty at first. Because she’d never really known care. Never really known responsibility. Didn’t know the first thing about child rearing but hot-damn would she do her best. Her capabilities were few- let’s not glorify. I mean, an addict in deep is an addict in deep. But little can be done to stifle that innate knowledge that woman share. The one that is connected to ancestry. To source. The umbilical chord of the universe. She tended best she could, long as she could, until the mouth became too needy. Her own needs too greedy, to give proper attention to a babe.

So off with it on the kind of hot summer night where the nail-exposed overhangs drip with polluted condensation and people move molasses slow to keep the heat at bay. Off with it, this kid, this monkey, this needy thing she never wanted, couldn’t even remember how it happened in the first place. Off with this and onto some store’s front stoop where come morning a startled Asian grocer would find a itty-bitty-stinky-baby in a box and stare at in amazement for one shocked moment, wondering how people could be so cruel, before picking up the entire box that weighed all of 6 pounds and bringing it into NYPD’s 5th Precinct on Elizabeth and Canal, to be stared at suspiciously and questioned with intimidation, armed with about 30 specific, limited to shop-talk- English words. Oh poor secret Asian mang.

Fast forwarding our tale and on with it. Our poor guy. Our poor baby who would be sure to grow slight in height, and not far in the mental. Our poor guy who was to be pushed, dropped, dragged, and kicked through an unchecked system of house after house and on. Filled with predator and mouse. Loud television and louse. Lack of love, direction, or reliable constant. The irony of taxing the shit out of parents desperate to adopt, and adversely allowing the shittiest of the lot to be foster parents. And paying their asses. The horror. No criteria having mother-fuckers. Something to shake your head at.

Our boy never developed much of a taste for outward speak. Didn’t have much to say. Maybe he didn’t know how. Perhaps he lacked the overlooked tools of expressivity or composition. Teachers thought he a lost cause. Not much you can do with a lump that sits in the corner, refusing to engage. So in he went and out again. And at the glorious age of 18; the ripe age where we are fit and tied to greet the world; the age where we no longer need guidance or help at all, ever, and are ready- all of us- for complete and utter independence- our homeboy was let out.

He was like an instant street rat. Literally like a fucking rat. Where he learned from the rodents basic survival. Eat what you can find. Drink where you can find. Sleep in the little nooks where people are not apt to disturb you. He took to the streets with arguable natal instinct. The streets gave him selective shelter, opened up his fuzzy focus. Taught him the freedom to sit and stare. The freedom to bark or growl or yell at random- all of which he practiced, just to see. But it wasn’t him. He was the silent type. You know. On the city pulsed and he felt off-shook by the beat. Our boy never had the luxury of feeling steady, really. His only purpose was today, I suppose. The ability to reflect on purpose is paired with those on the elevated levels of the comparably modern day caste system. Paired with those where the concept of hedonism can ring. Where people can afford sarcasm. His pockets bore holes and his currency nil.

Our boy. Left to eat the dust. Left an empty shell of nobody. He never got to be. Some people never do. They run through depleted soil from dia numero uno. No chance. Bleek grim. A sad ending from the beginning. A side bar. An untended, deficient weed.

In a world of hard focused happy endings I embrace the grime. Tip a 40 oz., a pinot with your pinky in the air, your G & T, your whisky neat, rip the tip off your blunt if you gotta- for all the living ghosts out there. They’re out there right now, shuffling, rocking, hiding. Tip it and sip it and know you got it good, and if not good, better than a lot.

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Today I stomped the ground in careless play, noticed the reverb of hollow from below. Pounding above a bomb shelter, a tunnel, a tomb? Above all in absent awareness…

…Calling for a dig exceeds my jurisdiction but if I had the power, the earth would be pocketed in curiosity, and restored rapidly in vigilant remorse, for better or for worse.

I recall clearly as a child, a teacher telling class that the Native Americans we so romantically studied lived where our houses were. My house. A top ancient secrets. Those powerful beings who understood the tangibility of seasons, ran through crisp, blue corn fields, made with callused fingers- beads of dried piñon berries, lived nobly herding flocks, believing in coyote medicine…

I had the presence of mind to know that their reign extended beyond the small stretches of my yard. Most likely to at least the perimeter of my block, or ”la manzana”, as my pops called it. I came home that day to scour the ground and blacken my baby nails in dreamy hopes of turquoise treasures, dulled arrowhead, bird bones. Nothing ever came of these missions. Time would give way to something shiny, some tinsel or so, leading my excavation, my excursion- to press on in whispered hope.

bow arrow

During the time of year where the leaves find themselves tossing in tiny tornadoes, and the cold makes scarlet our cheeks, I will be greeted by the painfully beautiful scent of burning cedar. Instantly I transport to the vast expanse of my time living on the rez with the Dinéh people, an event that was lead by the hand of my earlier fascination and curiosity.

I breathe in and hold.

Smoke, providing a background where images dance and bob. Broken relics of poetry and dry dirt. Old woman of long braid and woven skirt. Counting sheep. Snapping sage brush. Being followed by a pack of loyal, rag tag dogs with each step. Awaking before dawn with purpose to ensure warmth by lighting the fire…
With that smell I am carried, and not a moment too soon.
I am living simply. I am living at peace. I am living with full intention. The red earth stretches for days and I revel in wonder about what tales are beneath.

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Don’t look at me. I’m hideous. That picture that I posted- don’t you dare take a peek. It is to serve as a disciplinary tool for when someone tells you “don’t look”, you actually won’t. It’s for practicing purposes. It’s to fortify you. Because I love you. I do. But I’m still embarassed about my state of affairs, facially speaking.

It began yesterday morning, Monday the 3rd. I awoke shortly after 6am to find that I had a major shiner. Ok, not like a baseball walloped me, but as far as a “spontaneous contusion” (my deceptivley professional sounding self-diagnosis) goes, it’s pretty savage.

I went to sleep Sunday nice, like an innocent lamb. I woke up with a fucking busted-ass black eye.

And now I am privy to the world through the eyes (genuinely, not a pun in sight, just clever phrasing) of an abuse victim. I am seeing somewhat of how it is to look, and be responded to, in a manner of a woman who has seen the ugly side of a fist. It. is. a. trip.

The last two days have involved people shifting uncomfortably around me. A stirred mix of sorrow, discomfort, and concern emanate from stranger’s gazes.

No eyeliner, tacky wallpaper. Don't judge me.

No eyeliner, tacky wallpaper. Don’t judge me.

As for my friends, I have been making up deliciously elaborate bullshit stories of what happened.

-There was an old woman, laying in the middle of the road, in the rain, naked, and it looked like she was crying and confused. She was holding a baby, naked, crying, you could tell the baby was hungry. In the arms of the baby was a puppy, furless, crying too somehow. So very vulnerable. I heroically approached and the puppy popped me one. This story was BELIEVED by two of my friends. I need new friends.

-I was at a bar and told some Billy Joel looking mother f%^&* to kick rocks because he was bugging me. He got a mouth on him and his girlfriend was on my jock and he didn’t like it and so he took me on the whiskey train to Fist City. Then it all went up in the air and became a straight up barroom brawl.                                                   My friend asked me if his girlfriend jumped in too. I let it run for a bit longer, because I was having too much fun to bring truth into the equation. I still can’t believe how gullible my people are. (Grumbles something about West coasters). I told him Billy Joel would NEVER do my like that. Please.

I guess that’s about it for my spontaneous tides of baloney.

I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the bruise and it is somewhat unsettling, but the doctor said she thinks that it was mysterious trauma or possibly a spider attack. Bananas. It looks a lot worse in person, for the record. It totally merits it’s own blog posting as such. I’m serious.

I suppose if there is a moral, for the sake of a proper wrap up here, it would be that if you ever get busted up, make up a good reason and see how far it takes you. Aren’t we here to have a good time?

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There I was- flipping through a ragged, time-worn, cardboard box at my parent’s house. I gingerly sifted through yellowed and thinned pages, in my own time capsule, revisiting a fair amount of the two dimensional art of my youth. They kept so many of my creations. Occasionally I’ll wonder the purpose of keeping a diary other than to get the immediacy of pressures off my chest because I hardly think that there will be a day where I am driven to revisit all of my petty boy-riddled qualms of old. It seems, at least, that that’s the most of what my journal entries have seen over the years. But this- this was different. This was ART! Encapsulated. I understood the inability to dispose of it. Such richness. I totally had an eye for fashion and have apparently been designing clothes since I could pen myself a plausible idea. Lots of drawings were comprising sleep overs; quite likely an influence from every little girl’s treasured book Madeline. They were very big fun though. Yet another reason I’m glad to have the XX chromosome thing in place. Another common topic was of little girls puking. Yup- you read it right. Little girls puking. I was no stranger to belly aches- especially in the car (lo siento, padres) so I guess I just wanted to spread the love or at least normalize it so everyone got sick all the time too. Oh, yeah and kids are weird, sooo go figure.  BuT- the most common theme in my drawings? Homeless children.

I drew and drew and drew this topic in so very many capacities all throughout my growing up. Kids behind dumpsters, kids under bridges, under awnings, on corners, in the snow, with a dog, kids alone with signs, kids with parents, kids with questionable chaperone. Some of them were even throwing-up too…  A clear memory that I have is asking my mother why we couldn’t just take someone home with us. I thought if everyone in the city took somebody home the homelessness problem would be solved. Grown ups are so dense! Come on people, don’t you see?? And this of course was NYC circa 1980-1990’s, when the mental asylum Bellevue, was shut down and emptied onto the streets of Manhattan. I had vivid fantasies of setting up the extra room for our(?) homeless person and coming into the bathroom while they were obligingly in the shower, handing them a bag courteously,  and taking their smelly clothes in exchange for new, clean ones. Problems solved! Even as a 5 year old I guess I knew that one of the larger deterrents to my Adopt-A-Homeless-Person program was the stank factor. Needless to say this never manifested.

Many years later I would wind up tutoring homeless kids for a while. It was such a tremendous experience with so much variety that I couldn’t surmise it with one quick descriptive word. Ok- intense.  If I must. Bear with me- I’m building my “fretting for the homeless portfolio”.

I tried to tackle the problem from several different angles throughout the last ten years plus. At one point I worked diligently on an idea that I thought was rather brilliant. It stemmed from talking to people living on the streets that seemed unmotivated to find work. After all, it’s hard enough to find something when you’re clean and showered, let alone educated. My idea was to hook up seasonal farm work opportunities to homeless shelters, and have houses of worship do their good deeds by providing ride shares to the people. Flawlessish? I called so many freakin’ farms that did not appreciate the thought of a bunch of hobos smashing their berries or sleeping in their corn or whatever. Did everyone on the other end of the line read Grapes of Wrath? Sheesh. And to boot, I couldn’t find any churches, synagogues or mosques to do the driving. Foiled.

My fascination with homeless (housing disabled?) waxed and grew and on the side I kept a notebook full of years worth of spontaneous interviews with street dwelling folk. I wanted their stories. Badly. Occasionally I would set out with the intention of conducting the interviews, sometimes I would see someone too interesting pass up. (I told you- my curiosity might just be the death of me some day. Please play “Blaze of Glory” at my funeral. I’m not kidding. I’m working up to earning it but no, I’m not trying to die anytime soon.) I had a long list of questions and my spiel was to go up and ask if they were hungry and I could buy them some lunch or a cup of coffee in exchange for some question answering. The notebook, I regret to say, is sadly long gone, lost to the same sea that claims matching socks, sunglasses,  and bus transfers, but some of the questions that I had in there went something like this:

*Where did you grow up?  * What was your family like?  * When did you start living on the streets?  *Is it scary?  * Do you get assistance?  * Do you want to live in a house/ apt some day? * Drug related questions. * Saftey related questions * Adventure related inquiry * Favorite stories?…

This is a small sampling. The questions were very subject to change, depending on the person I was asking and their openness and willingness to divulge, naturally.

I’ll tell you though, boy have I heard some shit!

There is one that stands out above the rest though. I was interviewing this guy, a mid forty’s man originally from an upper-middle class home in the suburbs of NJ. Born to religious parents. Happy childhood. Good relationships with brothers and sisters. He liked partying a little too much and got turned on to heroin. He’d always been the rebel in the family; the black sheep. He’d been living on the streets of several states for well over two decades by the time I met him. He seemed happy to tell his story. He seemed so sound. Peaceful. I asked him if he wanted to be off of the streets and his response was, and I remember it so clearly: “Man, you people feel bad for us out here, but we feel bad for you! Most of us don’t want those responsibilities that you have. There’s too much to do. A house, a car, bills, paperwork. Responsibilities. They are overwhelming. Yeah, it can be dangerous, but we don’t want what you got. I believe in God. And out here- ain’t nothing between me and God.

Take that in.

The concept of the interviews originated not just to satisfy my own forever’s-worth of curiosity. It was to serve as a bridge. Long ago I recognized people’s limited abilities to care for something/ someone at a distance. We tend to favor what and who we know. Throw another sad sap’s face into the world and if the public at large doesn’t recognize it, it’s easier to walk on by. Walk by a face on the street of someone who was in your past, who you know in a more intimate way- perhaps a friend’s father, an old neighbor, a former student, and things change. There is a sense of ownership and most of us have a built in mechanism to care for those we know. I felt that if we had people’s stories and could actually personalize them, find them relatable, then people would have more compassion and vested interest in getting people help that wanted and needed it.

So I ran off to get a sharpie and some name tags. What’s she doing now? I had a new experiment in mind. If we bore name tags there would be a missing piece of the lacking reliability solved. Like “Oh! Your name is Joey? That was my grandpa’s, name and he was really influential in my life. I love guys named Joey.” Etc. So on the name tags went the name, because knowing someone’s name is personal and pretty undeniably humanizing. Then three random things. 1. Favorite band 2. A place I’ve traveled 3. What I love. Really, it could’ve been anything. The objective was to show the public the humanity of people, as it’s so easily dismissed or ignored in our world where people are so overstimulated and walled.

I resolved to wear a name tag for a week straight to see the effects and how people might approach me and how it would change dynamics. I had visions of grandeur!

Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I wound up getting irritated with the receptivity, especially considering that I was fresh out of a multi-year relationship and going out a lot and was on one, so having my name on blast was putting me out there to a general crowd that I didn’t want all up in my business. I tried to maintain it throughout the day time instead, but I was working in a school and it wasn’t the right place either. Eventually I lost interest because my life style at the time didn’t lend itself to the particular vision I had hoped for.

Do know that I have not given up on my idea of being a liaison/catalyst for bridging the worlds. I actually still quite fancy the idea of name tag personification. Perhaps I will conduct this experiment in more refined ways and pick my project back up again. Like only do it in certain areas of the city while doing specific activities. And get some new hobos on board…?

I will do it! I’ll do it for the people sitting under awnings tonight, getting splashed by the cold rain. And I’ll do it for that little, barfy, concerned drawer me inside.

Back on the grind, baby.

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The amount of pain and suffering we go through in the name of beautification is impressive.

Yesterday marked the first Groupon I have ever purchased and it was an irresistible doozy. They were offering Laser hair removal for 75% off or more. Ah-ma-zing. Just about every woman who maintains their body hair has considered this option and most do not take the extra leap because holy-mother that sh*t is expensive! So I sucked it up and went for it. $200 dollars (normally over $1000!) and 6 appointments later I can expect to never have to worry about an ingrown hair on my bikini line again. This is very exciting. Awww yeah. TMI? I can’t help it. I have been getting waxed since high school and while my tolerance has gone up (compared to the horrid memory of my first experience where I walked out with only 1 smooth leg), I can only occasionally trick myself into thinking it “tickle-hurts”. Luckily, I have the best waxer ever and am always giving her positive feedback and love and telling her things like: “Thanks for making my ***** pretty”. It’s a special relationship. I will still see her, as the laser treatments are very specific and to do the whole leg and up up up would be close to $2000 (!) and would hurt like a roaring evil beast from hell… So I settled for a smaller area. Still great. Unburstable bubble. Got it?

Before whipping out the drastic plastic to pay it all off, I had a moment of reflection: How did it ever become common practice to rid ourselves so much of our natural state and how did it get so far and  to the current trend of looking like we never went through puberty in the first place? And what would Freud say? He would be jumping up and down, having a field day- that’s for sure- with the worst case of “I told you so’s”. Pervyyyy.

Then I started to wonder if the opposite was ever popular. Like full on Jungle Woman. Or is that just on reserve for the fetishistic? Dunno. And then it hit me~ like a wig in the wind… the Merkin. Who’s heard of this? Let me introduce you to my furry friend. Err, I mean my friend’s friend. I heard of once- yeah. The pubic wig. Yes. The pubic wig. Originally worn by ladies of the night after shaving their business, but are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women. I consulted the Wikipedia for history of it and here’s the deal: The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the pubic wig to the 1450s! Women would shave their pubic hair and wear a merkin to combat crabs, and prostitutes would wear them to cover up signs of disease, like syphillis. Damn! The Goat God Pan is making more sense now. It has also been suggested that when male actors played female parts onstage, they would cover their man parts with a merkin so they could expose themselves as women in nude scenes. Ahem.

So then, naturally, as you know me- my curiosity peaked. What’s the history of pubes anyway? Here’s what I got:

The earliest shaving devices discovered are flint blades possibly dating as far back as 30,000 BC. Not only does flint provide an extremely sharp edge for shaving, it also becomes dull rather quickly, making these the first disposable razors.

From 4,000 to 3,000 BC, women removed body hair with homegrown depilatory creams made from a bizarre combination of such questionable ingredients as arsenic and quicklime. Copper razors appeared around 3,000 BC in both India and Egypt. The most elaborate razors of prehistory appear around 1,500 to 1,200 BC in Scandinavia where Danish Mound Graves yielded razors in leather carrying cases with etched bronze blades and carved handles. No doubt the Vikings liked their women shaved.

The practice of pubic hair removal goes back to the dawn of civilization. To early Egyptians, a smooth and hairless body was the standard of beauty. The practice first gained total acceptance when it was practiced by the wife of Farao; afterwards, every upper class Egyptian woman made sure there was not a single hair on her body with the exception of her head. They used primitive depilatory creams and a form of waxing that utilized a sticky emulsion of oil and honey – the forerunner of what we now call “sugaring.”

The Greeks adopted the ideal of smoothness, capturing it over and again in their sculpture. Ancient Greek sculptures of women are universally clean-shaven, whereas the sculptures of men have pubic hair. The Greeks believed that a smooth, hairless body exemplified youth and beauty. In “Sexual Life in Ancient Greece” by Hans Licht, the author describes how the Greeks disapproved of women with pubic hair and considered it ugly. It was considered a sign of class distinction and subsequently all upper-class women practiced pubic hair removal, as did many women of the lesser classes.

The Romans also disapproved of pubic hair; young girls began removing it as soon as the first hair appeared. They used tweezers, which they called the “volsella” as well as a kind of depilatory cream called the “philotrum” or “dropax” which was sometimes made with bryonia and foreshadowed moderndepilatory creams. Waxing with resin or pitch was also used to depilate. Furthermore, the practice of pubic hair removal wasn’t unique to Rome – it was practiced in even the most remote parts of the empire. Julius Caesar (101-44 BC) writes that, “The Britons shave every part of their body except their head and upper lip.” It is reported that Poppaea, wife of the Roman Emperor Nero, used depilatory creams to remove unwanted body hair daily. At that time, the latest available creams included some wonderful ingredients like resin, pitch, white vine or ivy gum extract, ass’ fat, she-goat’s gall, bat’s blood, and powdered viper.

Islam also has a long history of pubic hair removal. According to the Sunnah, every adult Muslim, as a part of keeping his/her body clean, should remove the hair from his pubic area and armpits. The hair may be removed through any method that one feels comfortable with. The spread of Islam brought the practice to India, Northern Africa, and the other vast areas of the world under Muslim influence. In 1520, Bassano de Zra wrote “The Turks consider it sinful when a woman lets the hair on her private parts grow. As soon as a woman feels the hair is growing, she hurries to the public bath to have it removed or remove it herself.” The public baths all had special rooms where the ladies could get rid of their hair. Even today, the hamams (public baths) still have special rooms for the ladies to depilate.

The returning Crusaders (1096-1270) brought the practice back to Europe. In many European castles built between 1200 and 1600 AD, a special room was constructed where the ladies of the court could gather to shave. During the Renaissance, the practice of pubic hair removal flourished. Sixteenth and seventeenth century artists portrayed women as having little or no pubic hair. The work of Rubens, whose models typified the ideal in feminine beauty at the time, most dramatically reveals this.

The habit of depilating started to wane (publicly at least) during the reign of Catherine de Medici (1547-1589) who was then queen of France and something of a religious zealot. She forbade her ladies in waiting to remove their pubic hair any longer; however, it was still widely practiced until the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and the smothering prudishness of the “Victorian Era.” Even then, it remained popular in private, especially for the ruling classes. There is some photographic evidence ranging from the time of the Civil War to the “blue movies” of the 1920s and 30s that shows that the amount of pubic hair during that time varied from full to none. Even though repressed by the outward morality of the era, it appears pubic shaving never disappeared but instead more appropriately went underground.

The modern industrial age saw the rise of such razor manufacturers as Gillette, Schick, and Wilkinson. With the availability of cheap, quality razors, the practice of women removing their body hair became more publicly acceptable again. When women’s clothing styles began showing bare arms and legs in the 1920s, leg and underarm shaving followed immediately. In fact, armpit shaving was not common until May of 1915 when Harper’s Bazaar magazine featured a model in a sleeveless evening gown that showed her bare shoulders and hairless armpits. Shortly thereafter, Wilkinson Sword launched an advertising campaign to convince women that underarm hair was “unhygienic and unfeminine.” Sales of razors doubled in two years, perhaps the result of pent-up demand.


Pretty interesting stuff. Your choice at the end of the day. Soft and silky~ bushy and bold (you 70’s misfit rocker you). Shave it, pluck it, zap it, sugar it, hot wax yo’ self… Do how you do- but my best advice? Leave the merkins in the past and maintain. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Adieu.

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