40yearoldvirgin.jpg

Sure there’s no crimson blood spurting but it has to hurt.

Huge hurt like fire and brimstone hell… torn and ripped and pink in pain.

A long while back I discussed my depilatory misadventures in MANSCAPING.

The other night my mind was returned to similar thoughts while watching the historic Chick-lit TV production (yeah, I watch chick-TV as well as Chick Flicks) of author Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER.

Amid the 18th century Scot/Brit/French drama and clan fighting and disease, strong female lead Claire Beauchamp visits a fashionable Paris friend Louise de Rohan.

Their womanly chatter carries on as breezily immodest Louise is being wax coif-stripped a la Steve Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin – “bare to there” from tender knee to satiny belly button, driving a clearcut bulldozer pathway right through her golden triangle (are you with me here?).

Comically – and without interrupting her womanly blah blah blah with Claire – she callously slaps the male wax-installer as he scream-inducingly-indelicately jerks away the lady garden sprouting between her spread legs.

The men find it absolutely irresistible,” Louise purrs.

In the following scene, more generally modest Claire returns home and slips into bed beside her Scot hunk-husband Jamie.

Assisting him in exploring her very own nether regions, her girly-giggles rise as he discovers the smooth as a baby’s bottom parts down below.

outlander claire and .jpg

His reaction as she leads his hand under her nightgown?: “Claire! What have you done to yourself? Your honeypot is bare!

She invites him to take a closer look.

It’s more complicated than it looks thatched over,” he muses. Oh my!

It was a comically refreshing break from the dangerous intrigue and serious subject matter surrounding them, but, despite its titillating amusements (dismays?), also jarring for me from a historical perspective.

Did these sorts of things really transpire in these times? I don’t think so. Are you pulling my hairy leg Diane Gabaldon?

I’m already shocked when I see historical pieces where characters blurt out the “F**K” word… Were these expletive words and hair removal techniques really in use more than 2 centuries ago?

C’mon… is it factually accurate?

Well, you just know I had to do a bit of digging to service my naughty little man-mind.

Turns out the answer is YES… and… NO…

OK, depilation of woman’s (and men’s) body parts has been going on for centuries, millennia actually, reflecting the particular hair-free custom of the moment.

And if you think about it, you may have even noted yourself the presence of a lot of European art where the deficiency of hair in the feminine pubic area is common.

venus painting

To this point… notoriously, on the wedding night of the celebrated art critic, John Ruskin and Effie Gray in 1848, Ruskin was so repelled by the sight of his bride’s body that he was unable to consummate the marriage.

Effie Gray explained in a letter of five years later “he had imagined women were quite different to what he saw I was, and that the reason he did not make me his Wife was because he was disgusted with my person”.

Although we’ll never truly understand the reasons for Ruskin’s reaction, it’s been widely assumed that he was traumatized by Effie’s pubic hair.

Early nude paintings, like today’s internet pornography, have given men (and women) somewhat distorted cut-and-dried versions (visions) of what may or may not be normal.

An authentic version of the hair-away scene in OUTLANDER would more likely have been filmed with the use of a mixture akin to the concoction below.

A 1532 book of secrets gives this version of the recipe:

How to Remove or Lose Hair from Anywhere on the Body

Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn’t come off.

I admit it. I’m pretty innocent and trusting. Naivety is my middle name.

I rely on serious historical-fiction novels and period-piece TV and movies to give me the true goods on the nuances of the era they chronicle. In my view, the creator’s background research should make my assignment easy and done. It’s all a part of my lifelong learning package.

So as clever, cute, and somewhat titillating the de-fleecing OUTLANDER scene was, I can’t help but feel cheated by the use of modern hair methodology from an otherwise reasonably honest account of a long gone age.

Do I now ruefully disbelieve the actuality of “Bonnie Prince Charlie’s” Jacobite Rebellion and the bloody massacre at the Battle of Culloden? Were the 2,000 Scots killed that 16 April 1746 just a rumour in the chill highland’s wind?

Or… was it all a wee bit o’ a lie, a concoction like a vulvar waxing?

Whoa is me. I grow weary and jaded my friend.

Am I no longer to believe that the last Canadian Prime Minister didn’t truly pose for the portrait painted below?

 

Timmys painting

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