Wednesday, December 31, 2008
With 2008 behind us and 2009 ahead of us, I wanted to personally wish all of you a glorious upcoming new year. 2008 has been a tough year for many and hopefully with this year we will see much better times. That said, this gal is off celebrating all the good things to come!! And I hope you are too. Though I usually post on the 1st, I'll be posting on the 5th with a topic sure to raise a few brows. In February, A Bit O'Muslin will be celebrating it's one year anniversary and so be sure to stop by on February first where there will be prizes and more!!!
Until the 5th, Cheers and much love,
Monday, December 1, 2008
I thought it quite appropriate to set this particular post on "sex tips for wives" to the above picture of an old maid handing off a dildo to the new bride with what I could only guess the advice being, "Go forth and climax, my dear, dear girl, for no husband will do it for you." As one might imagine, a woman back in the day had to be pretty fortunate to actually experience a climax during the act. Or at all. It was truly at a man's discretion as to whether his wife and/or mistress received pleasure. After all, the world evolved around men. Still does. What was more, most men back in those days didn't really understand how a woman's body worked (some men these days still don't know....ehm). Which only perpetuated a serious problem. Women were not being satisfied.
Now with every age, came a different understanding of sexuality. The picture you see above is actually Georgian. It was a time when sexuality was a bit more embraced and romping was not only fun but a way of life (for the most part). Then we move into Regency. Sexuality is slowly being clamped down on. And then we have our Victorians. Ah, yes. And this is where we officially begin. As the Victorian age is so easy to make fun of. There is a book called
"Sex Tips For Husbands and Wives From 1894" by Ruth Smythers. Allow me to highlight the fabulous points of this book. And I do mean fabulous....
*That the wedding day is the happiest and most terrifying day of a woman's life.
*And rightfully so.
*She has secured a man to provide for her for the rest of her days.
*She has also secured a man who will want "it" for the rest of her days. (Isn't *that* the truth)
*The terrible experience of sex must be faced.
*For those women who anticipate their wedding night with curiosity and hopes of pleasure...BEWARE!
*The one rule of marriage a wife must adhere to: "Give Little, Give Seldom, And Above All, Give Grudgingly."
*Otherwise a woman's proper marriage becomes "an orgy of sexual lust." (Heaven forbid!)
*"While sex is at best revolting and at worse rather painful, it has to be endured." (Hm. Submissive behavior. Sounds familiar.)
*If allowed, a husband will want it every day (and every night).
*A wise wife will only allow two very, very, very brief encounters per week for the first few months. To create children.
*With time, she should reduce the two brief encounters to one brief encounter. And then none.
*Illness, sleepiness and headaches is a lady's good friend in this matter.
*By the fifth year of marriage, encounters should be reduced to once a month.
*By the tenth year, all encounters have been terminated. (I rather like their used of termination. It's quite...appropriate)
*Sex is not what will hold a man in his home, but his children and social pressure.(You *have* to love the Victorians)
*Men by nature are perverted (isn't that the truth! LOL) and if given the chance would indulge in all sort of disgusting sexual activities.
*These disgusting activities include "performing the normal act in abnormal positions; mouthing the female body; and offering their own vile bodies to be mouthed in turn." (Those poor, poor women, not to mention those poor, poor men)
*A wife should never allow her husband to see her unclothed.
*A wife should also never allow her husband to flaunt his unclothed body.
*Sex should only be performed in utter darkness.
*The darkness creates yet another glorious opportunity for the man to stumble and hurt himself so that the act can be denied. (Snort)
*No body movement must be made by the wife during the act as it will be seen as sexual excitement.
*Kisses should be placed upon the cheek. Not the lips. (Okay, now this is where I bloody draw the line...shaking head yet again)
*Buttermilk toilet soap ought to be placed on the nether region to prevent a husband from mouthing the forbidden territory.
*The gown will not be pulled up above the waist.
*Above all, she will remain perfectly still and never moan. (Either in pleasure or in pain.)
*A wife's duty is to suppress a man's need for sex. Period.
So there it is. Sex Tips for wives from 1894. My response to the above? Where the bloody hell is that dildo?! And what about your response? Dare I even ask?
Cheers and much love until next time,
Saturday, November 1, 2008
As I cannot possibly give every character in this book (and there are SO many), I will give you one of my favorites. His name was Francois Timolean de Choisy. And yes, you guessed it, the man was French. Though not an aristocrat, his father was the chancellor to the Duke of Orleans and therefore his family mingled with the aristocracy quite frequently.
He was born in Paris, August 16th, 1644. His mother dressed him in female clothing throughout his childhood and up until the age of eighteen, he wore nothing but female clothing. Right down to the stockings and corsets. At 18, he was drawn to the stage and became an actor. Naturally, he was inclined to play a female. And loved it. A bit too much. For five months he wore nothing but tightly laced corsets so as to emphasize his hips and breasts (which he obviously did not have, but you string a corset tight enough, and yes even a man can have breasts). Choisy took care of his appearance so much so that he wrote about it in his memoirs (which by the way, I highly recommend everyone read). "I took care of my neck, rubbing it every night with veal broth and a pomade of sheep's foot oil which makes the skin soft and white." (He failed to mention I'm certain that it also made him stink...)
During the summer he would wear large, decorative masks to cover his face completely, as he believed bonnets never quite kept all the sun out. Choisy was indeed the dandiest of dandies and fops. He merely took it to the next level, so to speak. Interestingly enough, no one seemed to make a fuss about him wearing female clothing and aristocratic women would actually follow his fashion, as he was quite stylish both in his tastes in female clothing and hair. He was popular enough to be invited to all the important balls and suppers dressed as a woman. Most were amused by him and didn't take him seriously. But one woman did.
After meeting him several times, a certain Mademoiselle Charlotte fell madly in love with him and decided there was only one way to win his heart. So she showed up at one of his events dressed as a man. Needless to say, Choisy was rather smitten. He even commissioned a painting of them together. Charlotte dressed as a man and Choisy dressed as a woman. Charlotte, feeling as though their relationship could in fact work, decided to change her name to Monsieur de Maulny and even cut her hair. It worked. Though never officially, they married in a mock ceremony before family and friends. She was the groom and he was the bride.
And though I would like to end it there, sadly, there was no happily ever after for these two. They drifted apart. Charlotte resumed being a woman and married another man. Who wore manly clothes. It must have had some effect on Choisy, for shortly after her marriage to the "man," he opted to dress in male clothing and even took up gambling. Like a real man would. He eventually had to sell off his favorite diamond earrings. When he lost his house, he decided the whole male persona simply wasn't him. And resumed the ways of a woman. But it wouldn't last. Society around him was changing and the idea of a man dressed as a woman, especially a man growing in age, was hardly amusing. So he was forced to resume the life of a man. He grew old donning old finery in the confines of his bedchamber and died at the age of one and eighty in Paris, 1724.
And for those of you who may be wondering, it was never mentioned as to whether or not he was buried in his favorite gown...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Behind every book, there is a story. And needless to say, behind my upcoming debut, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, which centers around a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction, there are several. Because I don’t want to write a book about THE book, I’ve decided to elaborate as simply as I can about the inspiration behind the creation of MISTRESS OF PLEASURE. That inspiration first coming from my research, when I stumbled upon Ninon de L’Enclos, a French 17th century courtesan.
Truth be told, I find it rather astounding that this fascinating woman somehow disappeared into the shadows of history. She is but a ghost whenever the topic of courtesans arise. For we usually hear of the same old, same old courtesans like Kitty Fisher, Cora Pearl or Harriette Wilson. Let me be the first to tell you, however, that none of these women could possibly rival Ninon de L’Enclos or her life. But don’t take my word for it. Research her on your own and come to your conclusion. Bottom line, Ninon’s thoughts, philosophies, and her approach toward men and sex went beyond anything I have ever seen in a woman of her day.
Much like other courtesans, she kept her bedroom door open to aristocratic men, yes. But unlike other courtesans, she kept that bedroom door open for more than just sex. This woman actually held meetings and classes in the confines of her bedchamber where men of all ages would come to visit in order to discuss topics of sex, philosophy and love. These so-called meetings fascinated me and in turn, began to create the growing threads of what is now Mistress of Pleasure. The more I researched, the more excited I became. For there was almost too much to work with. For instance, Ninon had various lovers, as you might imagine. But to one lover in particular, she birthed a son. A son who was raised apart from her to never know who she was due to her being a courtesan. Then one day, when her son was a grown man, he happened to one day meet Ninon. And fell madly in love with her. (And no, I’m not bloody making this up…). Though she had sworn to never reveal her identity to her son, because his advances were growing more and more passionate and he altogether outright refused to leave her be, she finally told him the truth. That she was in fact his mother and that was why there would never be a sexual relationship between them. Her son was so overwhelmed and distraught by the confession, that he left her house and committed suicide by falling onto the blade of his own sword. Another story, somewhat less morbid, was about one man who begged and begged Ninon to admit him into her bed. She refused him time and time again and finally told him, “Return when I am eighty. Then I shall bed you.” The besotted fool took her words quite literally and arrived on her doorstep many, many years late, when she turned eighty. Ninon was so amused, she ended up bedding him, after all.
As you can tell by the stories I am selecting, it is the older Ninon that ultimately fascinated me. Which created a dilemma for my writing. Because my heroine couldn’t possibly be an elderly lady. It would never sell. But then I got to thinking. What if she were a grandmother of the heroine? Now THAT had possibilities. At about the same time I started writing AN IMPROPER EDUCATION (which is what I called it before the publisher changed it), MY grandmother re-appeared in my life. After 20 years of complete and utter silence. Which is a whole other story I don’t have time to go into… Soon, I discovered that the grandmother I never knew was actually an opera singer who had married into American Aristocracy and was living the life of a queen. My grandmother had an air of royalty to her and was quite beautiful for a woman her age. She had a heavy accent, walked with a sashay and always used amusing little words that I’d never heard before. For instance, she referred to sex as “Poom-poom.” She amused me so much so, that I could not help but morph her and Ninon together to create the fictional character that ultimately became Madame de Maitenon, who is both the creator of the School of Gallantry and the grandmother of my heroine, Maybelle de Maitenon. And so, I ended up with a story about a retired French courtesan who opens up a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction, and the granddaughter who is unexpectedly forced to take over the operation of the school and educate all the men. Even though she has very little personal experience. Life certainly makes for some interesting fiction. And I have to say, I’m glad for it. At least in the case of this book. For an excerpt, more information or to sign up for my newsletter, please head over to my website, www.DelilahMarvelle.com In the meantime, anyone who posts today will be entered to win an autographed copy of my book, Mistress of Pleasure. So don't forget to post!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
E-Harmony.com, blind dates and so on. To those that think the Victorians were prudes with no flexibility whatsoever, I shall disagree with you this once when it comes to their newspapers and their naughty little ads. I have to say that putting in an ad in the newspaper back in the day gave a man or a woman a rare form of anonymity while allowing them to explore the opposite sex. The following ads are all from American newspapers back in the day. I plan to dig up British ones somewhere else down the road for your amusement, but hopefully, the American ads will prove to be more entertaining...
Behold some of my favorite examples:
February 18, 1864 New York Herald:
"Gentlemen, take notice -- I am in need of a husband; one who is educated and respectable. I am in my nineteenth year, considered good looking, of a very lively disposition, have plenty of friends but want someone to love, to smile when I smile, when I weep shall refrain."
One has to love her sense of humor.
February 14, 1868, New York Herald:
" A Gentleman worth $50,000 desire to marry a woman from 18 to 30 years old, who is willing to make home happy, with a view to matrimony. Send photographs; rejected ones returned if stamp is sent."
Clearly, he wants sex first, matrimony possible if sex is good.
November 24, 1865, New York Herald:
"A young lady, extravagantly fond of dress, desires the acquaintance of a wealthy gentleman; no other need answer; with a view to matrimony."
Oh, yes, that will have all the wealthy men knocking on her door. It seems no matter the era, women will always pine over wanting a rich man...
February 7, 1862:
"A gentleman, thirty years of age, in full health, possessed of ample means, well read, fond of poetry, good living and society, six feet in his socks, dark hair and eyes, called by his intimate friends "Handsome Jones" keeps a pair of road horses, can sing, dance and play the fiddle, belongs to no club, Free Mason or Odd Fellows Association, has no idea of going to the war at present, a good whistler, and upon the whole, a desirable person, wishes to make the acquaintance of some lady, with the ultimate view of matrimony. The lady must be plump, pleasant and pretty, not over twenty years of age (he is a great believer in the advantages of early marriage); dark complexion preferred, without curls, cotton or cosmetic; money of no account, in particular - still, some not objected to; must be a good dancer, without old aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, or second, third, fourth, fifth or any other cousins (as the advertiser, although well off, cannot marry a whole family); good teeth, fond of children (the advertiser has none, however), kind to servants, domestic, chatty, clever, and well educated. None but with good intentions need apply. Answers, with full particulars of age, size, disposition, looks, likes and dislikes, will be treated confidentially and answered if send to Handsome Jones."
By far my favorite advertisement thus far! I personally am of the belief, that if he feels the need to keep calling himself "Handsome Jones" in the ad, I guarantee you he is anything but. However. One has to admire his determination.
March 21, 1866, New York Herald:
"If the lady who from an omnibus smiled on a gentleman with a bunch of bananas in his hand as he crossed Wall street, corner of Broadway, will address A, box 6,735, Post Office, she will confer a favor."
The poor man. He MUST be bananas...January 2, 1892, New York World:
"Wanted, a young lady of German parentage; must be a 36 bust and understand bookkeeping on a small scale. Apply Milbaner & Bleiweiss."
Now this here is the most straightforward employer I've ever come across. Clearly.
Glimpsing ads from days of old gives us a sense of what the reality was for these poor souls in search of the perfect sex mate. I mean...soul mate. Curiously enough, I don't feel times have changed all that much. We all still want handsome and rich. And men, God bless them, still want a particular bust size. Which was the entire point of this here post. Now for a bit of fun! If you were going to take out an ad in 1865 in order to land your sex mate (or soul mate, for those of you that are hopelessly romantic) how would you write it? Note that every person who posts their "classified" ad here, shall be automatically entered into my Gift Card Giveaway posted on my gossip page of my website.
I give thee my own advertisement:
"A fairly pretty young lady with remarkable talents which shall be disclosed upon the selection of one lucky gent, is seeking a fine gentleman with his own set of remarkable talents pending that he is handsome, well endowed and wealthy. Talents that include drinking, smoking, gambling, and womanizing need not apply."
Monday, July 28, 2008
Hello again from the middle of the first century CE. For those of you who didn’t read my last posting, this blog is the second of two parts about Boudica, a woman who stood up, spoke up, and made a difference (AKA a woman with crotch) -- despite five Romans and one Iceni king (Prasutagus, her husband) doing their darndest to make life difficult.
To refresh your memory, Boudica was a queen from the Iceni tribe who was called a tall, tawny-haired woman with a fierce aspect. Basically, a woman capable of scaring the pants off the men of the Roman Empire. Her country had been invaded by two famous Romans -- Julius Caesar and Claudius -- and things were not going well.
When Claudius was assassinated, Nero, the third Roman, became Emperor. This wasn’t a good thing for Britain. Nero, as did his predecessors, looked to Britain to fill his coffers.
Boudica’s husband, Prasutagus, died (of natural causes) after years of working with Rome in an effort to ease the suffering of his people. His last act of appeasement was to change his will. Did he have Boudica’s advice and consent? We don’t know, but given what happened, I wonder. Prasutagus was a man who was longa opulentia clarus – long renowned for his wealth -- yet he didn’t fully appreciate the avarice of either Nero or Decianus Catus, the Procurator of Britain. He's the fourth Roman and he lit the spark to the whole thing.
Prasutagus left half his estate to their two daughters and half to Nero. He named Boudica as regent. It wasn’t Boudica being named queen that was the problem. It was the “half of the estate” that wasn’t going to Nero -- it was the Roman version of “show me the money!”
Decianus Catus had orders from Nero to inventory everything Prasutagus had and then, to, well, just take it. He could, of course, keep a finder’s fee, if he was unscrupulous. Turned out he was. Boudica objected. Strongly. After all, there were treaties in place between their two people. There was a long history of mutual benefit. She was a queen, a woman, and as such, deserved respect. Decianus Catus didn’t want to hear any of it. He thought of her, and her people, as low-life rabble to be swept aside for the glory that was Rome. There was only one way to subdue rabble intent on rebellion. He ordered Boudica stripped and flogged and her two daughters, as spoils of war, to be raped.
This practice had worked well in other areas of the Roman Empire, but Decianus Catus had severely underestimated the Celts. Boudica was a warrior+queen+priestess. He had just violated one of the most sacred people of a tribe of warriors, and violated her daughters as well. Decianus Catus had thought it rebellion, well, now he really had one.
Boudica called her people to war. For specific details, I recommend Richard Hingley’s Boudica; Graham Webster’s Boudica and Antonia Fraser’s The Warrior Queens. I’ll just touch the highlights –
Boudica and her army went after Camulodunum (modern Colchester), the first colonia in Britain, which means it was inhabited pensioned soldiers. The traditional reward for Roman service was to be given the lands of the conquered. Beats having to shell out money for an employee IRA. To make matters worse, the veterans drove the locals from their lands, forced them into slavery and ordered them to build a Roman temple -- the highest insult for it was not to be a sacred place of worship in a grove, but rather a stone and mortar symbol of their subjugation. Boudica, and her army, cornered the soldiers in the temple and "took no prisoners".
Next, Boudica sent a party to ambush a legion. A legion! Needless to say, afterwards, the commander had some serious explaining to do to avoid being ordered to fall on his own sword.
Boudica, with the successes compelling her on, set her sights on Londinium (modern London) – it didn’t rank as a true Roman settlement, but was a vital center for commerce – Roman fortunes were being made there. They burned it to the ground and sacrificial offerings made of the inhabitants who’d “commerced” with the Romans.
Then, Verulamium (modern St. Albans), a smaller settlement populated by Britons friendly to the Romans was conquered – perhaps as a lesson to anyone “sleeping with the enemy”?
It seemed it might actually be possible to throw off the Roman yoke at last.
Enter the fifth Roman. The Governor of Britain, Suetonius Paulinus was in Wales, campaigning (so jolly-sounding a word for something that included enslaving the locals, taking their property) when he received word. He mustered an army of 10,000 men, but apparently was heavily outnumbered, so he chose his battle site carefully. The annals speak of a place where there was a sharp rise in the ground. Unfortunately for Boudica and her army, it was good planning on the part of Suetonius. The Celt battle strategy was to instill fear by using a headlong, weapon swinging, war-cry shouting race forward. If the Romans had the high ground, the Celts would have to run uphill. After a valiant battle, Boudica and her army lost.
Afterwards, Britain was not a happy place for years. However, Rome was so shocked by Boudica's rebellion, they re-vamped their policies to be more understanding towards Britain and other territories.
And what of Boudica? One source says she took poison, the other postulates she died on the field of battle. Either way, I like to think her spirit lives on in every woman who draws the line in the sand and says, “Treat me with respect, treat me as an equal. Or else.”
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
As I am still on holiday, and will be for a bit longer (believe me, I bloody needed it), I have pulled in yet another fabulous resource to help me post while I am away. The fabulous and talented Maggie Grover. Please post! This is but post 1 of 2. I promise to begin posting once again come August 15th.
First, I’d like to thank Delilah for inviting me to her blog. She and I go back many years. I won’t reveal how many, for a woman never posts her age, nor the age of her friends. Suffice it to say, I’ve known Delilah since shortly after she first learned to play the pianoforte and she is quite accomplished at it now. It’s truly an honor to post here, as I, too, share her great love of stories as well as her passion to discuss things that most would shy away from. Perhaps this passion stems from both of us being voracious readers and we’ve learned to never underestimate the power of reading, especially the power of reading banned books. It causes you to ask questions. Questions about the story of Adam and Eve. Questions about sex. And, as Delilah put it in her first post, questions about why, even in the earliest forms of writing about history and culture, men controlled women’s sexuality and the telling of their stories. We wanted to know more about HER-story, not HIS-story.
So, my postings will be about women who stood up, spoke up, and made a difference. Or, as a friend of mine calls it, women who have crotch. And, yes, there were plenty of women before our times who had crotch, we just haven’t heard about most of them. As I mainly write historical novels about the people of Great Britain, I’ll tell you the tale of one of their all-time favorite heroines who had uber-crotch. She was Boudica (or Boudicea) by name, warrior+queen+priestess by game. And what a game it was. Limited written sources do exist, and two Roman historians (Dio Cassius and Tacitus) speak of a tall, tawny-haired woman with a fierce aspect. Basically, a woman capable of scaring the pants off the men of the Roman empire – well, not literally, because the Romans wore a garment more like a tunic. Anyway, you get the idea, she made the Romans tremble -- and not in a good way. Tacitus researched his biography of Boudica by reading documents of the time. Dio Cassius interviewed his father-in-law, one of the Romans who had his pants scared off. I think Dio Cassius described the Roman mindset best when he wrote, “Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame.” What was the ruin? Well, again with Dio Cassius -- a “great shock to the Roman government for rarely in their annals had there been a rebellion of such magnitude and ferocity.”
Rebellion? Led by a woman? But why? How? Well, around 60 CE, Boudica lived near what is now Norfolk, England and was married to an Iceni king, although she most likely was a queen in her own right – some say from the Iceni tribe itself, or possibly even as far away as Ireland. Either way, she was a woman of power, from the upper class, which if you were a Celt, meant you were trained in the art of a warrior, and more than likely, in the spiritual, or druidic arts as well, for the Celts were a people with a rich and complex culture, worthy of a series of their own blog-postings. Which reminds me, Boudica’s story is no less rich, so to do her justice, this will be a two-part posting.
Now, the backstory to her rebellion. Five Romans and one Iceni king (Boudica’s husband) figure in the mix. Three of the men you’ve probably heard of - the other three, probably not. The first was a Roman general who really, really liked being in charge of Rome and its provinces. Think of it – all that power, all that money, and throw in the possibility of being made a god by the people? What upwardly mobile male worth his testosterone wouldn’t like that? So, he asked himself, how can I expand on this? Why, simple -- get more resources for Rome or save Rome from Her enemies. What kind of resources? Iron and tin. And who were her enemies? Well, let’s see, Rome in 55 BCE pretty much included everything bordering the Mediterranean, give or take a few countries like Egypt with her soon-to-be Queen Cleopatra (this is a hint as to who the general was). Said general decides that the most exciting place left was a mysterious island across the channel from what we now call France. The place was inhabited by, as viewed by the Romans, sword-wielding, grove-worshipping barbarians. And, what a coincidence, the barbarian’s land just happened to have iron and tin. This general assured the Roman senate that the resources weren’t what the conflict was really about. He simply wanted to bring the benefits of a Roman way of life to them. The general’s name? Julius Caesar.
It wasn’t really much of an invasion, but it did lay the groundwork for the next one, and Caesar did get a really nice triumphal parade out of it. Jump ahead almost 100 years. Claudius, the fourth Roman emperor, realizes he, too, needs to have a military triumph. Where better? So, off Claudius went to the mysterious island. He invaded, made a slew of treaties with the local Celtic kings he had no intention of keeping, then returned to Rome just in time for his triumphal march. Only thing is, the men he left behind weren’t exactly, shall we say, politically correct? Jump ahead a few years, the cost of living is up, slavery is on the rise, local resources are being plundered and it’s time for a fiddle-playing emperor to come to power. It’s also the time for Boudica’s husband to die…and alas, I'm out of space. The rest of Boudica's story will have to wait until my next post. In the meantime, feel free to post your favorite uber-woman from history and be sure and tell us why.
Monday, June 30, 2008
A quick note to all my dear readers. You are in for a devious treat! We have a surprise guest blogger with us today, Maire Jolie, my brilliant critique partner. As I am currently on vacation, I am away from all my books and resources, so I pulled in the next best resource I have...Maire!
Please leave her a commentary and do be warned. This is not your mother's Shakespeare....
First and foremost, thanks Delilah for inviting me to post! I love this blog and love working with you. So without further ado, onto today’s post.
THE BAWDY BARD
What, with my tongue in your tail?
The Taming of The Shrew
It’s epidemic. This time of year, Shakespeare is everywhere and outdoors. It’s finally glorious summer and thousands of fans head out to the green grasses, plunk their bums down on the hard ground, crack out the wine and sit back and revel in the fabulous magic and bloody (sometimes quite literally) good wit of this long gone playwright. I myself am fortunate enough to work behind the scenes of one of our countries fine Shakespeare festivals. And yet, I am here today to discuss my favorite part of the bard. His baaaadness. Will was a very, very naughty boy who liked to get down and get dirty.
In the grand tradition of academia, Shakespeare devotees fall into two camps. Those who read and those who do. The ideas of the two groups are continually at war what with iambic pentameter, plosives, assonance, etc. etc. Those who read, glory in Shakespeare’s poetic form. Those who do, well, they have a tendency to like to rock and roll with the more cheeky parts. Sadly, most high school students, and I dare say victims of university literary professors (though not all) are subject to what I like to call purists.
Webster defines a purist as someone who believes in the “strict observance of or insistence on precise usage or on application of formal, often pedantic rules.” Acck! Why would you want to apply this to Shakespeare? And yet, countless people around the globe insist on the purity of Shakespeare’s form, the use of his scansion, and the fact that there is only one way to do Hamlet. I ask you, would Shakespeare’s plays have survived so long if there were only one way to do them . . . and if they didn’t have lots of naughty bits? As Benedick says in Much Ado About Nothing, “No! The world must be peopled!” And though Shakespeare only had three children (the first conceived out of wedlock and with what today we might call a cougar) he certainly liked to write about copulation. And from his sonnets and plays there’s no doubt he probably had a lot of experience with it.
For those of you who think of Shakespeare as boring, posturing, and pompous, I give you Sonnet 135.
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in overplus;
More than enough am I, that vex thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large Will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.
Innocent enough right? Its beautiful, it has sonnet form. It scans. Mwahahahaha. Now. Read it again. And at *Will* replace Will with penis and or vagina. See how it reads then. Or if you want the easy way out, courtesy of No Fear Shakespeare:
Other women may have their little desires, but you have your Will , and another Will as well, and more Will than you need. I, who am constantly pestering you for sex, am more than enough to satisfy you, adding another willing penis to the Will you already have. Since your sexual desires (and vagina) are both so enormous, won't you agree just once to let me put my desire inside yours? Are you going to be attracted to everyone else's will (penis), but reject mine? The sea is entirely made of water, but it still accepts additional water whenever it rains. So you, who already have a William, should in addition to your lover William accept my will (penis), making your sexual appetite (or vagina), which is already huge, even huger. Don't kill an eager seducer by being unkind to him. Treat all your lovers as a single lover, and accept me (and my part) as part of that lover.
Anybody need a fan? How often does your guy offer you his penis to please your enormous desire when ever you want and how often you want? Hmm? But in all honesty, during the Elizabethan/early Stuart period, Will was synonymous with penis, sometimes vagina, and sometimes also desire. Interestingly, enough ring frequently meant vagina which gave a whole new meaning to the guys giving their wives’ rings away in The Merchant of Venice. Try reading the end of that play with that new view. And nothing quite literally could mean No Thing. And well ladies, you really have no thing, right? So Much Ado About Nothing might be translated as Much Ado About Vaginas and given the nature of the play that wouldn’t surprise me if that’s exactly what it meant, and people in that period certainly would have known about the dirty little joke.
It doesn’t come close to stopping here. We could take a walk through the never ending double entendre of The Taming of the Shrew but instead, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at Shakespeare’s opinion on virginity.
Okay, so when he wrote the dad parts, there’s no question; girls were to keep their legs locked firmly together and any opening of them would condemn said daughter to the fiery pits of hell. However, when Shakespeare wrote the young guy parts his opinion on virginity did a 180. Romeo can’t stand it that Rosalind won’t give it up. And frankly, when Juliet sends him off, he wants to know why she “will leave (him) so unsatisfied.” But the real coup de grace, the one that takes it all is from All’s Well That End’s Well. So, I’ll leave you with this saucy section with Parolles and Helena.
Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be
blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with
the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It
is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to
preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
increase and there was never virgin got till
virginity was first lost. That you were made of is
metal to make virgins. Virginity by being once lost
may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is
ever lost: 'tis too cold a companion; away with 't!
I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.
There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the
rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity,
is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible
disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin:
virginity murders itself and should be buried in
highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
offen dress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very
paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose
by't: out with 't! within ten year it will make
itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the
principal itself not much the worse: away with 't!
So, I’m not a fan of losing my virginity (though I can’t exactly lose what I’ve already lost :D) just to get more virgins, i.e. have children. But hail Shakespeare for declaring it a cold companion. Have a closer look at this scene Act 1, sc1 with No Fear Shakespeare.
Thanks for the chance to chat about the bard with you all!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Now we know these things about them through ancient texts, relics and what not. As I said history cannot hide itself completely from archaeologists (or Indiana Jones). I give thee a version of Herodotus that best explains what had been expected and how things took place once inside (mind you I will be making commentaries between these texts...of course!): "Many women, proud of their great wealth and desirous of keeping themselves apart from the vulgar (even though they were about to become vulgar themselves...ehm) travelled in a closed and covered carriage (so that the men on the street wouldn't come running and stumbling to flip up their togas the moment Lady X drove up to make her sexual sacrifice to Mylitta). She was followed by a number of maidservants into the temple. (Though maids they were not for long...). When a woman became seated she could not return home (can you bloody imagine?!) until one of the men (milling about the temple looking for a good frig) threw down a gold piece into her lap and said, "I demand you in the name of Mylitta.'" The woman would then have no choice but to follow the stranger outside the temple and have intercourse with the man. Obviously, sex INSIDE the temple was a bit too much for Mylitta. She wanted everything to happen OUTSIDE. For the entire world to see. So much for the earlier display of coming in with a covered carriage. And sadly, this was expected from every woman once in her lifetime be she married or not, be she old or not, be she sick or not. Mylitta would be waiting. As would all the men.... That being said, I shall end this post with a single visual response from myself to all the men of Babylonia. For shame.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
No. This isn't going to be a post about MY secret life. Heaven forbid I share that with you.... This post will be dedicated to the book known as "My Secret Life." For those of you that have not discovered this naughty bit of Victorian history, I encourage you to get your hot little hands on this book immediately. After you read this post, that is. It is crude, rude, but gives a form of historical insight into a secret Victorian mindset that is rarely glimpsed. My Secret Life is also one of largest erotic piece of literature ever written in the form of an autobiography. What is even more fascinating is that its author is for the most part unknown. There are speculations, theories, and what not, but nothing that has ever been proven. Whoever the horny man was, he was an British gent born of wealth sometime between the year 1820-1825. And according to his book he squandered countless funds and years on women and gambling. So entertaining was his life it seemed, that at the age of five and twenty, he began penning his erotic adventures. One by one by one by one by one... More than a hundred to be exact. It was then about 1860 that he had the idea to print it. Yet he was "emotionally" torn. Torn between burning it or printing it. Obviously, because we have the book in our hands today, he much preffered to burn his reputation instead. His take? "It would be a sin to burn all this, whatever society may say. It is but a narrative of human life, perhaps the every day life of thousands..." Which meant he bloody debauched enough women in his life to think THOUSANDS would be able to compare... Yes, he certainly knew how to stroke his ego and his cock, didn't he? So in 1882, he summoned a printer who specialized in erotica to come from Amsterdam into England. Six copies were to be printed, then the original typeset and manuscript destroyed so that no more could be reproduced. Some speculate that the printer himself was naughty and printed himself off an extra copy to keep under his tick. Which may or may not explain its survival... Each of those six copies consisted of a set of 11 volumes. (Yes, he did try to live life for the rest of the population...) Yet only three of those original copies remain today. What is unique about its survival is that given the Victorian times, erotic literature in private collections rarely survived their owners. Why? Because they were deemed by the remaining family as evil and destroyed. What few people seem to know is that the printing of erotic prose did not become illegal during the Victorian times, but rather on January 29, 1527. At precisely two o'clock (I jest about the 2 o'clock bit, LOL. I simply couldn't resist). Edicts were passed and religious censorship swept across Europe and in turn affected the open publication of erotic literature. Rather fascinating to think that hundreds of years later and we still have the mindset of those in 1527. Now for those of you who have made it this far through the post, I promise not to disappoint and will leave you with a condensed listing of what was in these books as well as a snippet. Read on....if you dare.
INDEX: "Copulation: 1.) The two most natural modes are the best. 2.) A woman may be enjoyed by two men at the same time. 3.) The woman should not be quite naked. 4.) The woman has more pleasure than the man... 5.) Pleasures of rape. 6.) Time when a virgin should be enjoyed... Preliminaries described. Various postures enumerated. Monotony condemned. Copulating and Copulative organs: - an essay on, the nature of, described fully, aesthetic aspects of, is not obscene or filthy, is obedience to the Divine commands "Increase and multiply." Eccentric postures: - against field gates (ouch), against railings (to hold on to), against trees (splinters, anyone?), against windows (for the world to see, I suppose), against a bed (finally!), against a kitchen dresser (dinner, anyone?)."
Deep breath out. General idea of index is done with. Now for the last act (no pun intended...).
I give thee a paragraph from My Secret Life: (do not read if you blush easily) "Nature has placed the woman's clitoris so that it cannot escape man's fingers. If a woman closes her thighs tightly, a man cannot from the front get his finger into the cunt hole; and from the back, the arse cheeks close, so that without violence he cannot do it, even when she be standing up, altho as easily then, as from the front...What often astonishes me is my desire to do again every thing sexual and erotic, which I have already done. Yet many things done, I fancied I should never repeat. For instance, that I frigged a man. My curiosity satisfied, I said to myself, "I shall never frig a man again...."
As you can see, this is but a glimpse into HUNDREDS of pages evolving around sex, sex, and more sex. I know for a fact that if anyone ever dares to point out to me that MY writing is naughty, I shall roll my eyes and direct them kindly over to 'My Secret Life'....
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I apologize for the late post. Life has an odd manner of getting IN the way ALL the time. So pardon the fact that this post shall be somewhat brief. Though I promise it won't disappoint (or at least I hope it won't). For those of you that were utterly fascinated with osculation (you naughty naughty souls), I post yet again with exciting tid bits I was unable to elaborate on last time. I had mentioned quite a few dictionary kisses. I would like to define them for you. Mind you, I am quoting here from the Glossary of Kisses as Defined by the Book of Love (as I am not one to infringe upon copyright). Note that I shall be making snotty commentaries throughout and apologize in advance if they are annoying.
1.) "The Vacuum Kiss. Recommended in the 1936 manual The Art of Kissing (the absurd book I had mentioned in my last post, remember??? You may want to skip trying this at home...) the Vacuum Kiss is performed by "sucking inward as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange..." (Eww....) "The powerful suction on the lips must be brief." (You think? I see and hear blood vessels popping.) "Be advised that when the lips have wearied, they should not be torn suddenly apart" (sucking with the power of a vacuum will do that, people) "or a loud smack will startle others nearby." (Startle, I believe that to be poor word choice. More like cause them to lose the innards of their oranges...or the oranges they had places in their innards) "Instead, gently loosen a corner of the mouth to release a faint hissing." (Invented by snakes...in the garden of Eden....by Eve no doubt) "If the kiss is performed correctly, the manual notes, 'a delicious sense of torpor will creep over your entire body, giving a lassitude that is almost beatific." (Why is it I have the urge to kiss the dictionary?).
2.) "The Butterfly Flutter. Place your eye within a breath of your partner's cheek. Open and close your eyelids against her skin. If done correctly, the flutter sensation on her cheek will match the flutter in her heart." (The trouble with this so-called kiss is that most men are not endowed with particularly long lashes. So we run into a wee bit of a problem...)
3.) "The Earlobe Lap. You will do well to experiment with little sips of the lobe" (more sucking) "but control is recommended to avoid loud slurping" (yes, that would be rude) "the ear is an especially sensitized noise detector." (Last I knew the only one we had....oh, yes, and gentlemen, do try to avoid choking on any earrings...)
4.) "The Hand Kiss." Historically, a man bowed to give his kiss onto the hand, to show respect to the lady. There were many men, however, that felt that bowing AND kissing the hand showed too much inferiority. So it changed to a man simply raising a woman's hand to his mouth. Beware of those men, ladies. They think they are better than you. Look for the man that bows AND kisses your hand at the same time.
5.) "The French Kiss. Some call this "the soul kiss" because the life and soul are thought to pass through the mouth's breath in the exchange across tongues. Surprisingly, the French call this, "The English Kiss." (Those Frenchies are always trying to piss off the Brits...)
6.) "The Aunt Sally Special." (Anything with AUNT in it is simply not meant to be put to use...so pardon the fact that I will not elaborate on this. However, if you find that you cannot sleep at night with needing to know, e-mail me and I'll forward you the answer...)
7.) The Foot Kiss." (another one I bloody dare not go into...)
8.) "The Last kiss. In ancient Rome, custom had it that the LAST KISS would capture the soul of a dying man and keep it alive on the lips of his lover." (In theory, romantic. Would I want a dead man on my lips forever? Bloody hell no.)
I technically have about 30 more of these kisses to define, but then I don't want to frighten you away from kissing ever again (heaven forbid!), so I'll end this on the topic of lipstick and Listerine. Yes. You heard me right. Lipstick and Listerine. Both made history for the obvious reasons, but the question is, why were they first introduced and when? No peeking on the Internet or google or books or anything related to cheating, please, and remember, as always SEX has everything to do with it... I will post the answers when at least five of you post (and I thank you in advance!)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
As defined by a 1901 book, THE KISS AND ITS HISTORY: "A kiss is produced by a kind of sucking movement of the muscles of the lips, accompanies by a weaker or louder sound...This movement of the muscles, however, is not of itself sufficient to produce a kiss, it being, as you know, employed by coachmen when they want to start their horses, but becomes a kiss only when it is used as an expression of a certain feeling, and when the lips are pressed against, or simply come in contact with a living creature or object." Indeed. Which means we as humans have the ability to turn a basic function, our mouth, used for chewing and spitting, into something completely unrelated to what it was meant for. Interesting, that. Sex is that ingrained in us. The truth is, lips are the only sexual instrument to be used that is found both upon a woman and a man. Have you ever thought of that? Yes, yes, we all have hands that we use to explore, but the lips hold flavor, warmth, wetness, all resembling YOU KNOW WHAT. Which makes it all the more provocative. Throughout history, among the Finnish, for instance, bathing nude with the opposite sex was quite acceptable, yet kissing was not. It was seen as obscene. In some cultures they preferred to "rub cheeks" for they regarded the mouth as a filthy tool meant only to chew and bite. While the Chinese considered the kiss such as we know, to be "suggestive of being a cannibal." Because you are trying to "eat and taste" your partner. I never thought of it that way...yet it is quite true! Romance novels touch upon it all the time with the whole "tasting, licking" thing. Needless to say, countless books have been written about the topic of kissing. I didn't think there was that much to kissing until I started researching it. In 1936 Hugh Morris wrote a book called THE ART OF KISSING. When I read the first line of his book, I decided to set it aside and not read on. Ever again. For I wondered how many poor fops had been fooled into purchasing such utter nonsense? Let me articulate one of his sentences for you, "After your lips have been glued together for some time, open them slightly." I do believe the man never kissed a woman in his life. And then he tries to go ply his trade on others... That is what is wrong with history. Men have been writing the books for much too long. Now the lips have always been seen as provocative. Think about belly dancers, strutting and swaying their bellies and jiggling everything else, yet their lips remain covered by a veil. Many non-Western cultures follow the same belief. I can only imagine what it would be like to unwrap one's lips for a kiss....the sexual tension must be astounding! You think I jest? Think about it. A man simply cannot go in and grab himself a kiss. He must "remove" a piece of clothing. How bloody hot is that??? In the German dictionary, there are more than 40 types of kisses listed. And here you thought there was only the peck and the French tongue version. Let me list a few. The Vacuum Kiss, the Earlobe Lap, the Butterfly Flutter, the Talking Kiss, the Spying Kiss, The Hand Kiss, the Bumper Kiss, the Surprise Kiss, the Blown Kiss, the Nip Kiss, the Foot Kiss, the Hickey Kiss and the list goes on and on and on.
Did you know that it takes 20 muscles to create a kiss and yet only one muscle does most of the work? The muscle right below your lower lip known as the orbicularis oris. So the next time you kiss, ask your mate not to over exhaust your orbicularis oris….
The history of the kiss has been infused into society time and time again, especially Western society, using tales. For instance, the Frog Prince Tale. You all know how the story goes. The Princess happens upon a frog when she loses her golden ball in a pond. He refuses to give her back the ball unless she kisses him. Princess is disgusted but a golden ball is worth a lot of money. So she compromises herself in the name of a golden ball and kisses him. And lo and behold! He turns into a prince. The story was meant to show the power of a kiss. That a kiss can cause one to close their eyes (at least most people do it that way, there are many freaks in this world, I'll have you know) and when it is over and the eyes are re-opened, an emotional connection occurs. She wanted a prince, so she got one. At least that is how it's supposed to work. Now what is fascinating about the Frog Prince Tale is that the story actually holds a measure of truth. A frog CAN turn into a prince. How is this, you ask? Did you know that certain frogs like the Bufo Marinus secrete a toxin to ward off predators? And when licked (or kissed in this case) is causes visual and auditory hallucinations. So the prince didn't actually exist for the poor girl. But the frog did!! I suppose all that matters is that she lived happily-ever-after…
One last note. The kiss itself in history has earned many places of worship that lay hidden in taboo. On an envelope, for instance, with its power of suggestion we have what is known as Sealed with a Kiss. You all know the phrase. Well, back in Christian days, when someone knew not how to sign their name they made what we now think was an X. When in fact, it was a cross. They would then kiss the cross to provide their devotion to God. So yes, even God has received kisses from both men and women. I could go on and on about the history of the kiss and will actually touch upon more of these fascinating tid bits when I post on the 15th, but the whole point of this post is this. The Art of Osculation has seemed to have disappeared. These days, we really put much more emphasis and talk into sex and merely gloss over the kiss. Now why is that? Our lips are exposed all the bloody time and yet why don't they get as much attention as it used to? What has changed? Yes, I suppose, we as a culture have. So here is my question...do you remember your first kiss? And why do you remember it? No secrets, now! If you post the details of your first kiss and why it meant so much to you, I promise to post the details of mine...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Above all else, the art of stripping had been originally created for entertainment purposes. What better venue of entertainment for a man than a woman and her body? Yet the idea which had originally created the striptease was not meant to be a form of legal prostitution, but to allow the men in the audience an erotic, entertaining and artistic fantasy which afterward would allow the men to return home to their wives and children with their penis in tact (or shall I say morals in tact?). So when exactly did it all begin?
There seems to be no definitive answer to this, but the word itself did not begin to see use until the 1920's. Though it did existed earlier,but was simply known as something else. Most history points toward the theatrical venue known as the burlesque. Which means the term striptease and burlesque became fused together during the 1920's. And though we think of can-can girls and so on when it comes to the history of burlesque, you'll be surprised to find that the origination of the striptease itself is rather an American product coming from popular theatre in the 1860's. So while jolly old England became all the more staunch under the rule of Queen Victoria, America was embracing the wild west from coast to coast, saloons and all.
Of course, with a bit of reserve for all those Puritans as we American folks never jump head first into anything without dipping our toes into the water several times. To see if the temperature really is what we think it is. For Americans still wanted to keep the idea of a woman contained. After all, if an ankle could cause a man to hand over his horse and carriage, the thigh could only cause him to hand over the house and children. Heaven forbid! So all sorts of tricks were devised to draw men into watching these "burlesque" shows under the guise of "entertainment." Things such as full body stockings known as "fleshlings" started making appearances. Simply think of over sized pantyhose pulled over the length of a corseted body that came in shocking colors of flesh or white. All giving the illusion that the man was watching nude women prance about the stage when in fact they were very well clothed. Of course giving men a bit too much entertainment always has given the government cause to get involved.
When women grew even more creative on stage (with the help of the male bosses offstage, of course) senate bills were promptly being proposed in the 1890's in an effort to hold back the inevitable. They tried to fine such performing women $5 to $100 for their involvement in burlesque. The crime? Horrid lewdness, of course. Never we mind fining all the blasted men that attended these venues...it was all Eve's fault to begin with, remember? As times changed, allowing more freedom on stage, so did the acts going into the 1920's. Fleshlings were tossed aside and fans and bubbles and birds were introduced as a substitute. Which of course is where we begin the striptease that we know of today. A woman steps out on stage covered in balloons and playfully pops one at a time as men yell out for her to keep right on popping. When the last balloon is done away with, that is when the men realize the fantasy is over and she is actually wearing tassels and a pair of underwear. I have to admit, however, that the bird act rather fascinates me. I love birds. I truly do. But to have them draped upon a body during an act could only lead to shitty results. Quite literally. Yet for some reason the men loved it and continued to love it up into the 1950's. The question is, how was it possible to train the birds to behave so that they fly off one by one? That is indeed an act to behold. I wonder, however, if there ever was a show in which all of the birds simply up and took off disappointing the whole audience with one go. In the end, however, I found that there really was no bounds when it came to the striptease once we found ourselves past the 1920's.
Underwear and tassels were about all that was left by the time the striptease was in full swing. And this may surprise you to no end, as it did me, but the striptease as we know it, disappeared in the 1950's. Pornography and strip joints took over, leaving nothing else to the imagination of a man and creating a whole new generation. So saying all that I have, I happily turn this over to you. I'm looking for a total of 10 responses before I give my own. Do you know the difference between a strip joint and a striptease? A hint, it has nothing to do with the amount of clothing...
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
And I quote:
"DOLMANCE - How I love to frig this huge prick on a virgin's clitoris! You, Chevalier, show me a good ass...Do I frig you well, libertine?...And you, Madame, do fuck me, fuck your slut...yes, I am she and wish to be...Eugenie, discharge my angel, yes, discharge!... Despite himself, Augustin fills me with his fuck...I receive the Chevalier's, mine goes to join him...I resist no more...Eugenie, wiggle your buttocks and grip my prick: I am going to jet a blazing fuck-stream deep into your entrails...Ah! fucking bugger of a God! I die! (He withdraws and the circle breaks) Behold, Madame, here's your little libertine full of fuck again; the entrance to her cunt is soaked with it; frig her, vigorously smite her clitoris all wet with sperm: 'tis one of the most delicious things that may be done."
Ehm. Now who would dare write such shocking things? Well, a hint. It was written in 1788. And you thought writers of erotica today were naughty. If people put it into context, well, today's erotica can be pretty clean in comparison. I agree that people have different tastes in sensuality but the reality is there is no such thing as "back in the day." It is an illusion. Because if your parents weren't having sex, you wouldn't be here to read this, you silly thing you. Sex was simply done more behind closed doors. And allow me to step outside my bounds and say that the pages of a book is a door you open. It is the author's discretion, however, as to how wide that door should be opened. Bottom line, the whole concept that people in history were prudes and dared not print or engage in such naughty behavior is something Puritans here in the States have tried to established. No offense to the Puritans of course. So. Can anyone guess who wrote the above? And no, you cannot Google this! I shall post the answer to the question after I receive about 10 tries. Which means if less than 10 people post, we shall never truly know the answer to this dirty little question....(unless of course you Google it...) Happy April Fool's.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Though ever evolving. The Persians, for instance, took their beds quite seriously. More seriously than I do, anyway. They inlaid ivory, stones, and pearls, all of which I would sooner garnish around my neck rather than my bed. And how the Persians loved cushions! They were so utterly obsessed with cushions, that they insisted that piling pillows upon the bed was simply not enough. No. The bed itself needed to be placed upon a cushion. Indeed! Of course the Persians must have also figured out that more cushion allows for better pushing... Now the Greeks and Romans, on the other hand were obsessed with bed coverings and height. Some beds were so insanely elevated that steps were needed to climb to the very top. Think of a bunk bed. On steroids. Of course, I am certain that after several disgruntled lovers fell out of bed, and lovers of wives and husbands found they couldn't merely "slip" out of bed to avoid complications...well, they quickly lowered the height of the bed back down to the floor where it belonged. And wisely so. How is anyone to be amorous when it requires all of one's energy merely to lay down? To my utter disappointment when researching all of this some time back, I found that when it comes to the history of the bed, the British were utter prudes. For they believed in having a bed for "functionality" and did not deem it proper to even associate it with the scandalous adventures associated with a bed. You are born on it and you die on it. Nothing more.
While the French and Italians, especially during the Renaissance decorated the bloody hell out of their beds, making it quite impossible for anyone to think the bed was used for anything BUT improper dalliances. So yes, sadly, while the Brits had one solid bed that they passed on from generation to generation, Henry Harvard's Dictionary of French beds (1887-1890) describes 69 different types of French beds. Like the one with no posters, which I'm assuming wasn't very practical, for what on earth was one to hold onto during the act? Then there was the one with two posters, which was far more practical, for now one could actually hold onto something during an earth pounding dalliance. And it is my guess that four posters were simply introduced when men and women began entertaining more than one person in bed. Of course, I'm only funning about the purpose behind all the posters, but I find it rather fascinating that the French introduced all these variations of the bed. Though perhaps not too surprising when the rulers of France themselves took their beds quite seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they garnered quite the collection. Louis XIV, for example, had a total of 413 between all his palaces. And I'm certain he used every single one of them. Wink, wink. With a mistress in each, to boot. While the Brits, well, the poor sots maintained a simple. boring, canopied four poster bed almost always made out of oak and/or mahogany all the way up until the mid 1800's. And though they used fabrics and so on to decorate the bed (the picture enclosed above from the Victoria and Albert Museum is a good example of that, pardon my horrid photography), in the end, it was just that, a bed. And what is even more fascinating is that British beds were typically pretty small. Oh, they had plenty of height. But I'm talking about the actual size of the tick.
As boring as I've made them to be, the Brits did have some fascinating "bed" customs. Like "bundling." Bundling is when two people who are serious about courtship, though not yet married, were "bundled" into bed by the parents, (fully clothed, of course, so as not to create scandal) and tied each of their hands and feet to prevent any fluttering of the hands or heaven knows what. Then the parents would leave the two for the whole night to spend with one another. Can you imagine the awkward silence of not being able to do anything more than turn your head and ask how the person is doing? Any attempts at anything indecent no doubt bordered on circus theatrics that no doubt resulted in death. And come morning, if the two survived their long, boring night, and they still liked one another, banns were printed and they lived happily ever after (or so I'd like to think). Without a doubt, I could go on and on and on about the bed (and plan to touch on this subject sometime again), but the point of this post is that THE BED has been and will always be the most important aspect of our lives. We are born in it, play in it, sleep in it, and if you're lucky, die in it (as opposed to getting hit by an oncoming carriage). And as Guy de Maupassant so eloquently said, "The bed is the symbol of life! The bed, indeed, is man!" (To this, of course, I'll add 'woman' in, for he seems to have blatantly forgotten that men cannot possibly procreate on their own...)
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Now because there really aren't any genuine prehistoric stories I can dissect, I am going to tackle one of the earliest stories known by man. A story known to many. A story that I feel should be re-written. The story of Adam and Eve. WARNING: IF YOU ARE A RELIGIOUS PERSON, I AM ASKING YOU TO STOP READING RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. BECAUSE I WILL NOT TOLERATE POSTS TELLING ME I'M GOING TO HELL. THAT'S FOR GOD TO DECIDE, NOT YOU. That being said, here we go. As children, we all nod along to whatever dogmas are taught to us. I most certainly nodded. And how. Women came from the male rib? Oh yes, but of course, they did. Adam's excuse for sinning? Why, because Eve forced that apple upon him. Why, that makes SO much sense. Then in high school, I stopped nodding. And instead, I started asking questions. Too many it seems, for the nuns were growing rather upset with me. I was at the age in which I knew what happened between a man and a woman. And I wanted to know. Was the apple the symbol of Eve's vagina? Yes, laugh, but from a budding writer's perspective I simply couldn't help but point out all of the inaccuracies in the story. I mean, here is Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and there are no kids. No babies. At all. Why? Why didn't paradise include children? (And no, if you are a parent, you aren't allowed to answer that) Certainly Adam and Eve had been in the garden long enough to have had children. Or was there something more sinister being written into the story? That sex itself IS the original sin. Hence, the saying, we are "born" of original sin. The sign of no babies meant they were not having sex. Hmmmmm....so I decided to re-write the story of Adam and Eve and hand it in as one of my "creative" assignments (Seriously. The nuns did not find it in the least bit amusing. Here's a crude overview.) A snake comes along (notice the phallic symbolism? Of course you do) and tells Eve about THE apple. Her vagina. And that her vagina isn't all that bad. Rather, it is something meant to be enjoyed. Tasted. So Eve thinks about it and decides to "try" the apple. Yes. I am saying she actually masturbated and LOVED it. Then Adam comes along and says, "What in paradise are you doing?!" And she's replies, "Enjoying my apple." Do I need to finish the rest of the story for you? Of course I do. So Adam, being the greedy bastard that he is, does more than bloody try the apple, he eats every last bit of it while sticking his fingers and his rod wherever it can go! And the result? Sex. And a profound understanding that their nakedness allows them to not only have sex, but also enjoy it. Which is bad. Very, very bad. Yes...but from whose perspective exactly?
I couldn't quite figure that one out. Because if God saw procreation as bad then why would he give us sexual organs? Surely not as a way to "test" us? No wait. He did that a lot, didn't he? Anyway, so out of paradise Adam and Eve are flung. They continued their "bad" habits and populated the entire planet. And if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be here. At all. Indeed. I guess what I tried to do is not make myself believe I had created a new form of dogma (heaven forbid), but rather acknowledge that even in the earliest forms of writings, men controlled women's sexuality. And the smart lass that I was, I discovered this at the age of 15 and was trying to come to terms with it. For this very reason, history has both miffed and fascinated me. For the worst part about history is that it's done. Over. There is absolutely nothing one can do to re-write all that male dribble and drama....OR IS THERE? Ah! Do you see where this is going? That is when I discovered a secret. No matter the era, I, a writer, can create a heroine who can strive to live outside the sexual and moral dogma ingrained since the beginning of time (within the context of history, of course). And in doing so, find myself adding a creative little form of history that makes me quite happy. So now, when someone dares ask why I bother to read and write "trashy, pornographic" historical romances, to them I have no choice but to say, "Because I desperately feel the need to make up for all the poor women in history who never knew love and who never had the pleasure of experiencing a damn good orgasm. That's why." So now I turn this historical perspective to you. Why do you read and/or write historical romance? And no, you cannot use my answer....