Imagine that you’re an early twentieth century aviator trying to fly around the world because no one else has yet and really, what else would you be doing, you’re a professional pilot? Now imagine that only one person is accompanying you on your long-ass flight, and that person is a fetching young specimen of whatever gender you’re attracted to (subtle political correctness is our forte at For Shame). You’ve got a lot of long, quiet days and nights to look down at the sleeping world below. So you start to chat a little bit. Have to pass the time somehow. And then you start to notice things about your companion: the way their leather aviator cap seems to glow in the setting sun, the way their goggles frame their doe eyes just perfectly, and how effortlessly lovely that long white scarf looks draped around their neck. And then BOOM, you’re in love. As soon as you touch down, you have someone gas up the biplane, find the nearest hotel, get a room, and get boning.
Everything that I just described happened to Bill Lancaster, today’s scandalous piece of sexy pilot ass. ‘Everything’ meaning ‘roughly fifty percent.’
Before World War I, young English Bill emigrated to Australia. Where they sent the criminals. RED FLAG, people. Red fucking flag. In 1916, he first started flying planes for the Australian Army, and then remained in England following the war. He got married in 1919, then spent some time in India in the 20s doing important Royal Air Force shit.
Bill loved to fly, but he was tired of doing it for the man. He wanted to be free. He also wanted to make bank. And boop ba doo, a young Australian lady journalist named Jessie “Chubbie” Miller with stars in her eyes and gold falling from her pockets met Bill at a partay and offered to fund a flight from England to Australia. But only if she could come along, thus becoming the first woman to fly such a distance. So he thought, “Hey, I’m a hotass pilot, I can fly the shit out of any route you throw at me. You’re gonna pay me HOW MUCH?! Don’t mind if I fucking do. See you on the tarmac, bitch.”
You might be thinking that this seems like a bad fucking idea. And it probably was, but Chubbie (whose self-esteem must have been through the fucking roof with a nickname like that) was going through a bit of a time. She’d just separated from her husband and girlfriend needed some self-righteous-privileged-white-girl alone time. Alone time with a brawny-ass pilot. Alone time that would last for months. People bitch about the 22-hour US-Australia flight situation they have going on now, but imagine flying down there in a 1920s biplane that tops out at like 50 MPH. That’s probably inaccurate, but my point is that it was a long motherfucking flight.
Anyways, Bill’s wife agrees to this sketchy-ass adventure and he and Chubbs hit the skies. It took them five months to make the 14,000 mile flight. Five months of adverse weather conditions, weird plane repairs, constant flirting and intermittent boning. These two were probably the undisputed President and First Lady of the Mile High Club. And also they fell in love and blah blah blah.
After they touched down, Bill and Chubbie had to face reality – they were both still married, and although Chubbie’s hubby (HA) didn’t give a shit about their relationship, Bill’s wife was absolutely NOT having any of that divorce malarkey and moved to London with him to make shit work. But it didn’t, and Bill moved back to the USA with Chubbie.
You might think that this is the scandal portion of the post. BUT YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG. It gets so so so much scandalous-er. So sit the fuck down and be patient.
Did I mention that they became celebrities in the good ol’ United States? Well they did. I mean, Chubbie had the distinction of being the first woman to undertake such a long air journey, so she was basically the Oprah of her time. And like O, Chubbs felt that she was famous enough to massacre the American book charts. Instead of starting the world’s biggest (and dare I say most shit-tastic) book club, though, Chubbie just decided to hire a pretty young thang named Hayden Clarke to ghost-write her memoirs. Young Hayden headed on down to Miami where Bill and Chubbie were shacking up. But oops, the Depression happened and Bill had to don his favorite sombrero and head south of the
border to find a job. After he left, Chubbie was left alone with sexy Hayden. You can imagine what went down. Or WHO went down, KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN?! (I’m saying that Hayden likely performed cunnilingus on Chubbie, just for the sake of clarity).
Their love was fucking real, and Hayden decided to ask Chubbie to marry him, she accepted, they were fucking thrilled with their attractiveness, you get it. Still in Mexico, Bill heard the news on Telemundo and hopped the first flight out of the country (which was his own flight because he was a pilot). He got to the Miami house and begged Chubbie to reconsider. And oh yeah, Hayden was still living there. So things got a little heated, and the three of them stayed in that house all night long.
And then Hayden was rushed to the hosp with some mayjah cranial damage as a result of close-range gunfire. Believe it or not, he didn’t make it. WHOOPSIES!
Police found two suicide notes, one to Chubbie and one to Bill, at the house. And hey, turns out Bill wrote those. He was the most likely suspect and was arrested. There was talk of the electric chair and everything. The evidence was overwhelming. But you heard it here first: Bill Lancaster was a charming motherfucker. AND HE WAS FUCKING ACQUITTED! He convinced the jury that Hayden was a crazy drug addict bigamist menace II society. He BROUGHT IN THE GUY’S DECAYING HEAD to demonstrate that the wounds were self inflicted. He even got Chubbie to testify AGAINST Hayden. What the fucking fuck?! That’s some crazy Harry Potter/True Blood mind control shit right there.
THEN CHUBBIE TOOK HIM BACK! And they went to England in 1933, where he decided he needed to attempt one more virtually impossible flight, this time from London to Cape
Town. He wanted to beat the four-day, six-hour record. He told his family that it would be his last attempt at a cray-cray flight and that he didn’t want to come home a failure. And don’t worry guys, he didn’t. Because he was lost in Sub-Saharan Africa, a place called the ‘Land of Thirst.’ He managed to survive for eight days after he crash-landed, which is pretty good considering ‘scientists’ say that the body needs at least two gallons of water a day to survive that shit. And to give you an idea as to how isolated he was, his inexplicably-mummified body (creepy), the wreckage of his plane, and his logbook weren’t found until 19fucking62 by a group of bored French dudes.
The last entry in his logbook: “So the beginning of the eighth day has dawned. It is still cool. I have no water….I am waiting patiently. Come soon please. Fever wracked me last night. Hope you get my full log. Bill.”
Which is sad. I know. I get it. But I can’t help but think that had he not MURDERED SOMEONE because he was jealous of his still-technically-married lover’s lover despite the fact that he was also still married, this shit might not have happened. Although I guess since he was found not guilty of the murder everything’s still up in the air. GET IT?! Because a plane is also up in the air.
Anyway, it’s as simple as this: Bill and Chubbie met and fell in love, and their relationship really took off. Bill just couldn’t keep his joystick under control. They hit a little scandalous, possibly murderous turbulence.
I’m finished with the aviation puns now.
Since we’re all kind of dying with papers/finals/killmenowseriouslydoit, here’s a little BABY of a post to tide you over until things get a little less hectic over here on the college front.
Speaking of college, you know who didn’t graduate from one? Well, a lot of people, because college isn’t for everyone. But more specifically, John Quincy Adams’ second son, John. Because he got expelled. But that’s not who this post is about. That was just what we call a “segue” into talking about the real culprit, Mr. George Washington Adams.
I know what you’re thinking. Is it George Washington? Is it Adams? Who are we talking about? Who is the bad guy? What did he do? WHO did he do? Why does he have 3x the historical names of most people? Let’s stop fooling around here (cuz that can lead to all sorts of trouble) and talk some historical dirt!
Well, listen folks. Here’s what’s up: John Quincy Adams had a son named George Washington Adams, who he named after the country’s first president and his dad’s BFF, George Washington. GW Adams is the brother of Harvard-expelled John Adams of aforementioned segue fame! We’re talking about the grandchildren of the founding father, John Adams, who was played by Mr. Feeney in MRG’s favorite movie/musical 1776. Is that all clear now?
Here’s the good stuff:
John Quincy Adams, president of the US of A, had some disappointing children. The Adams’ family hopes of nepotistic world domination came to end with J. Quincy’s first son, George Washington. He was a womanizing spend-thrift who died at an early age by “accidentally” falling off of a boat. And by “accidentally falling off of a boat,” I mean he jumped off of a boat in order to kill himself by drowning. Not to downplay the seriousness of suicide (regardless of its historiosity) but guess the name of the boat he jumped from! I’ll tell you. It was called the Benjamin Franklin. Yeah, he killed himself by jumping from the deck of a ship named after his grandfather’s other BFF, world-class scandal-starting, syphilitic and always snazzy founding father Ben Franklin. Seems pretty fitting if you ask me. Especially considering the fact that after GW’s death, when his non screw up brother Charles was rummaging through his stuff, he came across an interesting letter. What follows is a totally factual and not at all untrue account of the discovery of the letter.
Posthumously discovered letter written by George Washington Adams: Dearest Brother, Charles. Question: would you mind if after I’m dead you could get in touch with a woman named Eliza Dolph. I met her while she was boarding with our family doctor. Remember that? Good times. Anyway, she may or may not have given birth to my illegitimate child. Who we named John Adams. Is that cool? Anyway, I would TOTES appreciate it, dude. I really owe you one. Hope it’s not too much of a problem! Gotta run, I have a boat to catch!
Charles (to himself): Oh yeah, sure, no problem, you goddam motherfucker. It’s not like I have to pay back all of your fucking gambling debts and shit. Jesus fucking christ. Now what am I gonna do? You fucking dick.
Well, here’s what he fucking did. He paid all of Eliza’s medical expenses. And I would imagine he gave her a little extra to keep her mouth shut. And sent her and the baby away somewhere. A while later, some of the people who took care of Eliza, keeping the whole thing a secret during her pregnancy decided they were going to go all Perez Hilton on everyone asses if they didn’t get a little extra cash. John Quincy, who knew about the whole thing by this point (and had just lost the race for the presidency as the incumbent) was like, “Fuck it!” and told them they could all go suck his dick because he wasn’t giving them shit. He was a strong black woman if I’ve ever seen one. And they denied the whole thing whenever it was brought up. The scandal sort of faded into obscurity, and after that and no one ever talked about it.
It’s really hard to find anything about the whole affair online. Probably because John Quincy and his son Charles were, like, masterminds at suppressing scandal. Clinton could take a page out of his book. Just sayin’.
Point is, very little is known about Eliza and GW’s love child. Just a word or two on GWA’s wiki page and then a few notes about it in biographies of JQA. A bunch of amateur genealogists seem to be pretty interested the bastard child’s family line, though. I guess it would be pretty cool to be illegitimately related to a president.
But alas, we must return to our studies. We hope your appetite for historical scandal is at least partially satiated by that little INFANT of a story.
You know who had the world’s most awkward funeral? Architect Louis Kahn is who. You know why? Because that’s where his wife, his two mistresses, and his three children met for the first time. WOOPSIES! Ok, probably they didn’t meet. They probably just avoided eye contact. But the point is, they were all there.
But before we get to the good stuff, I have to make a little disclaimer about this post: Lou Kahn is my favorite architect. Granted, I could probably only name you, like, 4 architects. But the point is, I have a really big boner for the architecture of Estonian-American modernist and notorious baby-daddy, Louis Kahn. And you’ll see why. Because we’re going to take a mini tour around the world to catch Kahn’s greatest hits — and I don’t just mean his bitches. Just shut up and indulge me, will you?
Now that I got that out of my system, (I totally didn’t, I want more. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID) we’ll get to the juicy stuff. I’m not promising flying BUTTresses or anything (get it? it’s an anal architecture joke), but Kahn’s life was pretty salacious. And also errs a little on the side of tragic, so break out your Kleenex/KY cuz shit’s getting real sad/sexy ifyouknowhatimsayin.
We’re going to sort of breeze through Kahn’s early life (when he immigrated with his family from Estonia in 1906, moved to Philadelphia, worked as a piano player for silent films, drew pictures on the streets for extra cash, and burned his face with an apron full of hot coals when he was 3 that left scars on his face forever) and skip to the part in 1930 when he finally finds a nice Jewish girl to settle down with, Esther Israeli. In 1940, they have a little girl named Sue Ann.
TANGENT: Did I mention that Louis Kahn is For Shame!’s first latke-loving perp? Well, let’s just take a quick moment to call attention to the fact that this big-nosed builder is the first member of the tribe to grace the pages of our little blog. That’s right, in honor of Passover (why not?), we’re bringing you a special story of circumcised scandal! BUT I DIGRESS.
Moving on. After a rough stint in the 30s and early 40s of not getting any work except commissions from a few fellow yids in Philly, Lou gets an offer to teach architecture at Yale. And he’s like, “duh” and takes it. A couple of years later, he gets an offer from UPenn and lectures there until his death in 1974. He didn’t design too many buildings for being one of America’s most cherished modernist architects. But that was kind of what was so awesome about him; he designed, like, 6 famous buildings or something and all of them are considered masterpieces. The point is that throughout his life he was mostly known and admired in the field of architecture education.
We all know you can’t be great at everything, but you know what field he especially sucked at? Being a husband.
Here’s why. Aside from not being so great with money (uncharacteristic of our people, I know) and being in debt just about all the time, he also had a couple of passionate love affairs that sort of maybe resulted in him raising 3 separate families instead of the typical 1. (The whole 3 families thing might have had something to do with the debt, if you ask me.)
In 1954, he had a daughter named Alexandra with Anne Tyng, a young architect who worked at his firm in Philadelphia. And in 1962, he had a son named Nathaniel with a collaborator landscape-architect, Harriet Pattison. Nathaniel grew up to be a really good roller-blader and filmmaker, who made a documentary about his father called My Architect.
I suppose the whole having three families thing never really erupted into a huge scandal, so maybe it isn’t entirely the stuff of For Shame! But mostly it wasn’t scandalous because Esther was very tight lipped about the whole thing, even after Lou’s death, and never made a big fuss about it. The three women knew about each other the whole time, though, and lived within a few mile radius of one another. Which must have made the midnight drives back to wifey’s house pretty convenient for girlfriends #1 and #2. What’s weird is they all probably shopped at the same grocery store. The kids probably chased the same ice cream truck. If the women had been friends, though, it would have been just like Jewish Sister Wives. But they never spoke. And Kahn’s obituary understandably only stated his wife and first daughter as his survivors.
Kahn died of a heart attack at the age of 73 (when his youngest child was 11…so he was 62 when Nathaniel was born. gross.) in the public bathrooms at Penn Station in New York City. He had just returned from a trip to Bangladesh where he was finishing up the National Assembly rooms and was at Penn to take the train back to Philly. It took police 3 days to identify his body because he had crossed out the address in his passport. Mysterioso? I think so.
In his documentary, Nathaniel Kahn talks about seeing his half sisters for the first time at the funeral. How’s that for a family reunion! OY VEY, that would have been uncomfortable! I would not have wanted to be the officiating rabbi at that funeral.
So even though it doesn’t seem like a BFS (Big Fucking Scandal) because Esther was a nice Jewish girl who kept her mouth shut, you better believe that having three goddam families (2 of them secret) in the 50s and 60s WAS a BFD (Big Fucking Deal). This architectural mensch was a bold motherfucker, getting what was his one baby-mamma at a time. Oh yeah, and like, defining American civic modernist architecture while he was at it. Not saying he was a great guy, he clearly was not the best husband (or boyfriend, for that matter), but he and his buildings have inspired countless architects (and probably adulterers) and remain some of the crowning achievements, masterpieces even, of American modernism.
I have to stop typing now because my boner for this man’s architecture is getting in the way of the keyboard.
The scandalous subjects of For Shame’s posts have hailed from all around the world (thanks to Diversity Week). But we’ve sort of been neglecting the other two-thirds of our little planet…the high seas. That’s right, bitches. We’re getting all kinds of nautical (or NAUGHTYcal, am I right?!) for today’s post. Hold on to your tri-cornered hats, screw on your pegleg, and give your parrot a cracker because today is all about some scandalous eighteenth-century pirate loving.
But before we start, I know what you’re thinking. Pirates were criminals and murderers and smelly and
shit, what could possibly be so scandalous that even PIRATES would be shocked? Valid point, my friend. I get where you’re coming from but I must insist that you sit down, shut up, and keep fucking reading.
You may also be thinking that pirate culture is fucking dumb thanks to Disney’s Pirates of the Carribbean ride/franchise/”films,” the fact that you can set “Pirate” as your Facebook language, or that the entire Southern coastal United States is hilariously convinced that it was swashbuckler central before the Revolutionary War (step into any Myrtle Beach gift shop if you don’t believe me). And I’m inclined to agree with you emphatically. But in the interest of sex and scandals, just ignore that.
Back before Bob Marley, Jamaica was a British colony, and that’s where Jack Rackham, today’s hero, was born. The great thing about pirates is that no one has any fucking idea when they actually did anything. They weren’t exactly known for their bookkeeping. So young Jack was probably born sometime around 1682, and then he became a quartermaster on some sloop in 1718. What he did during those 26 years is anyone’s guess. Anyway, shit went down on the sloop, Jack fucking saved the day, and everyone decided he should become the new captain of the ship. It was around this time that he earned the nickname Calico Jack – because he wore a calico jacket. Probably the worst pirate name of all time. Calico refers to a cutesy homespun fabric or a lady cat. When I think pirate, I think Blackbeard or Dread Pirate Roberts. I don’t think Pretty Floral Fabric Jack.
But then again, Calico Jack was sort of a bitch-ass as pirates go. He accepted a bunch of commissions from the British government and only pirated small goods close to shore, as opposed to his contemporaries who fucking plundered the shit out of other ships.
Listen. It’s 2011. I get it. You think he was a big gay. You want him to have been swabbing the poop deck (KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN?!) with his strapping young first mate, I know. Shh. Be quiet.
BECAUSE YOU’RE WRONG. Jack was getting some with a strong
black pirate woman.
Jack and Anne Bonny met in the Bahamas on a singles cruise. They were at the swim-up bar
and met cute when they both ordered blended margaritas, no-salt-extra-lime at the same time. They had a laugh, looked into each other’s single eyes (because of the eyepatches), and knew it was fucking meant to be. Slight problem: Anne was married to small-time pirate/full-time douche James Bonny.
Jack and Anne got their bone on all over the place, but they weren’t too discreet about it. James found out. And he was PISSED. So he dragged (literally) Anne in front of the governor and demanded that she be flogged on charges of adultery and then returned to him. Cause you know, she needed to be taught a lesson after being pulled through the streets by her weave.
Anyway, the governor was like, “Hey. Dude. Be cool. You can just buy her. I’ll hook you up with a divorce-by-purchase.” To which Anne replied “AW HELL NO. I am a sexy pirate lady and I refuse to be bought and sold like an animal.” To which James and the governor replied “………………………………..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.” So the date for the flogging was set and Anne was gearing herself and her little parrot up as they waited in prison for the big event.
But then, on the night before the flogging, Calico Jack fucking swooped in there like the bad ass that he was(n’t), got a crew together real fast, jacked a ship from the bay, and escaped! He and Anne boned and cruised around the Caribbean and boned. And none of the crew knew that Anne was a lady! But then she got knocked up, and even though they lost their little pirate baby, it became apparent that there was a dame on board.
AND IT GETS BETTER. So whenever Calico Jack captured a ship, he would let the crew of that ship join his crew if they wanted. And one of the pirates who took him up on that little offer was Mark Read. AKA Mary Read. AKA another lady pirate! With a vagina and everything! And like Anne, Mary kept her gender under wraps. So Anne saw this sexy young thing come aboard and started to get her flirt on, big time.
And hey, listen up fellas. Shit’s about to get real enjoyable for you, because according to legend, Mary decided that the best way to tell Anne that she was a lady was to take her below deck, light a few candles, unroll the bearskin rug, and SHOW ANNE HER BOOBS!
Meanwhile, Jack was getting super jealous of all the attention that his slampiece was giving his new crewmember, and hatched a plan. He was going to kill that Read motherfucker. Make him/her walk the plank. So while Mary is “explaining” herself to Anne, Jack fucking walks in, ready to get his murder on. And he found them both partially undressed, let out history’s loudest yawp of joy, and insisted that Mary stay on indefinitely as a potential threesome participant/crewmate.
Calico Jack’s enduring legacy is twofold. He invented the Jolly Roger symbol, and he fucking loved the ladies. Seriously, he was sort of cool about giving women rights that they wouldn’t normally enjoy in the eighteenth century by letting Mary and Anne serve as members of his crew. He also just wanted to watch them make out probably. But he was a pretty good guy.
And you can’t ARRRRRgue with that.
Do you remember the days before women started to get all into suffrage and employment and shit? Good times, am I right? Those were the days of the 1910s Gibson Girl. The Gibson girl, with her long, curly locks plopped neatly atop her head, sporting her cover-all-but-still-sort-of-erotic-dress was, above all, a LADY. She enjoyed activities like sewing. And having unprotected, post-marital sex. And do you know how how the image of the Gibson Girl got off (ha!) the ground? I’ll tell you. A man named Charles Gibson drew a picture of a woman named Evelyn Nesbit (who ended up not being so into waiting ’til marriage, if you know what I mean) and called the picture “Gibson Girl.”
Yeah. Shit was that simple. He just drew this nice little picture of Evelyn, named it after himself, and a whole generation of women suddenly adopted this one image as the symbol of their collective, cultural identities. Pretty fucked up when you think about it. But then the 20s happened and shit got crazy and the Gibson Girl faded into obscurity. And then a really sad time happened called the 30s. Ah, the trajectories of history.
Yes, ok! We’ll get back to the scandal part because I know you’re just DYING to know what happens. Speaking of which, you know who was DYING to get into Gibson Girl #1, Evelyn Nesbit’s, lacy panties? Architect Stanford White of famed architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White is who. No, literally. He died. Because of getting into her panties. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Evelen Nesbit (sorry she’s not male, but at least she’s white, you racists) led a pretty unlady-like, un-gibson girlian life involving, as you may have gathered from the above teaser-paragraph, a sizable portion of scandalosity. When she was 16, in 1901, she and her mom moved into a tiny apartment on the Lower West Side. Since they were hurtin’ for squirtin’ (that means they needed money, right?), Evelyn convinced her mom to let her go into modeling to help pay the bills. She was really hot. Like really fucking hot. Like, I’m getting a tingling sensation all over just looking at these pictures of her. So, like a boss, she booked work straight away posing for artists and photographers. (She modeled in some of America’s first newspaper fashion advertisements and editorials!) When she first modeled for Charles Gibson, he did a drawing of her profile called “The Eternal Question.” It looks just like a question mark. He was really creative and not at all unoriginal with his titles.
So, right after she settles into modeling life, and starts performing as a chorus girl in big vaudeville shows. So big famous architect and womanizer Stanford White sees her in one of these acts and he’s like, “Evie, come play on my swing.” And she’s like, 16 and she doesn’t know what’s going on, so she’s like, “is that, like, a euphemism for something?” And he’s like, “no, really, check it out, it’s literally a red velvet swing that I like to push girls on while they’re not wearing many clothes slash totally naked. cool?” She was like, “I like swings (because I was a child just a few years ago) but I don’t think so, mister.” So they didn’t really do anything the first time she visited his creepy fucking apartment in a tower overlooking Manhattan, complete with (1) a red-velvet-draped room with a plush swing hanging from the ceiling and (2) a room that had mirrors for walls.
I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Long story short, they see each other for a while, and at the risk of using my least favorite word which starts with a V and ends in an IRGINITY, she loses it to him and later claims in her memoirs that he’s the only man she ever really loved. But they didn’t get married, they just did it a bunch. OH! Did I mention that when this was happening she was 16 and he was 47? Yeah. At least he was under 50, though. Am I right, ladies?!
It gets better still. She’s working as a chorus girl now, she’s like 17, and this major cutie, John Barrymore starts sending her flowers backstage. And he’s her age, so that’s an improvement, at least. But White (who’s creepily acting like a surrogate father) and her mother don’t like Barrymore so they are in cahoots now and send Evie off to a boarding school (run by Cecil B. DeMille’s mom. Weird.) Barrymore proposes but she declines his offer because…
Then she meets another fucking mensch of a man. A real winner if ever I saw one. That Evelyn could really could pick ’em. Henry Kendall Thaw was an abusive kabillionaire motherfucker who carried a pistol around (in case anyone looked at his main bitch the wrong way), was obsessive about the minutia of Evie’s relationship with White, and enjoyed jerking off while whipping women (like Evie) and the occasional pubescent teenage boy. WITH A WHIP. In case that wasn’t clear. Like I said, a great fucking dude. So she married him. Cuz why not?
I’m getting to WHY NOT, so keep your panties on.
So the adorable (disgusting) couple is out for a lovely evening at the Madison Square Garden roof theatre (which White designed, NBD) to see a performance of Mam’Zelle Champagne. During the song “I could love a million girls,” our prince of a man, Thaw pulls out his good ol’ pistol that he was always packing, and shoots White in the face 3 times, screaming either (1) “You’ve ruined my life” or the even more interesting (2) “You’ve ruined my WIFE.” No one knows for sure what he said, but the people who were there swear he said “wife.” This goes back to our Gibson Girl theme which is that bitch was supposed to be emBODYing a certain social ideal of femininity. Not bumpin’ and grinding her pre-marital, 16-year-old BODY all over a 47 year old, if ya know what i mean.
Thaw went to court, plead temporary insanity and got away with it because Evelyn was bribed by Thaw’s mommy to testify that White had raped her and that Thaw was merely avenging her honor. She did it, but never got any of the one million dollah that “Mother Thaw” had promised her. Thaw was incarcerated in a mental hospital in 1906 and then judged sane in 1915 and let go. Like, into the world. Into society. Where people live.
During Thaw’s comically limited time in the hospital, Evelyn had herself a baby. WOOPS! She went to her grave swearing the baby was her husband’s, but I’m going to go ahead and call Bull Shit on that one since he was sort of kind of locked up in a mental institution for the “criminally insane.”
Like many Gibson Girls, Evelyn adapted to the 20s poorly. She did get herself into the talkies performing in a few films alongside her little son (who later fucking won WWII, NBD). But she was never quite the hot little thing that she was during her Gibson Girl Golden Years. Her later life was marked with numerous suicide attempts, an addiction to morphine, and a whole lot of alcohol.
On the bright side, the woman had excellent choice in men, though. And by excellent I mean really horrible.
We want to give a shout-out to reader, sex-scandal-enthusiast, and our main bitch, Lauren for SUGGESTING THIS SCANDAL.
We here at for shame! like to err on the side of tragic. And sexy, I mean, always sexy. But when the two coincide, what have you got? Well, yes, dear reader, you do have an Ingmar Bergman film, BUT, you also have the tale of that tragic candle in the wind, Hansa Wadkar.
Originally intended for Diversity Week, she a) didn’t make the cut (too much diversity already!) and b) it was decided that since y’all people seem to hate that shit, we’d have to give you your dose of non western either by force (like a college requirement) or in secret (like kids eating vegetables smothered in cheese and/or bacon). So hence, Hansa’s placement in our repertoire.
Aight, now shit’s gonna get a little real with this one, so brace yourself, but I mean, look at Slumdog Millionaire: the Indian Subcontinent is no stranger to trying times. Hansa was born in 1923 in Mumbai (or as my grandmother would say, “Mumba-yumba-whadayacallit. Why don’t they just call it the Bombays anymore?”), with the original name of Ratan Bhalchandra Salgaonker (or as my grandmother would say, “Is it fatal?” BA-DUM chiiiiiii…..). Her father was an alcoholic and abusive man in the upper Brahmin caste, so she had a wealthy upbringing, but it tweren’t all curry and roses.
Her father died when she was fairly young and her mom (possibly the greatest of all Indian stage-moms, just watch and judge for yourself), who had been a fairly famous singer in her day, had her learn singing, dancing and English then steered her right to the Bollywood lot faster than you could say “jazzy-henna-hands.” (just kidding, there is no ‘Bollywood’ lot, it is merely a blanket slang term coined in the 70s to describe the Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry, which was also incidentally one of the first native Indian film studios to incorporate English into their productions. And that’s your fun film history fact for the day! So much culture!).
At age 13, in 1936, Ratan starred in her first film and her name was shortened (And less ethnicized, since at the time Hindu women of a certain caste were meant to be wholly separated from Hindu women of other castes, not to mention Muslims and Christians.) to Hansa Wadkar, and it stuck. Wish that had happened to me, ’cause then I wouldn’t be called JAF, I’d be “T. Frubon.” No joke. That’s the name that came on the packages of my middle-school band fund-raising cookie dough. Shiiiit, but my handwriting was terrible then. …and now, still now.
Anyway, it became a hit and bitch was a preteen star, but she was still humble and shit, and here’s where we hit some problems. You see, there was a family friend/relative who was helping her mom coach the young squirt to be a star, Yeah, as soon as I typed “family friend/relative,” we all knew where this was going. To be fair, marriage to a much older man in many cultures, including India is not all that strange, and her husband, Bandarker, couldn’t have been much into his 30s. And true, even though she got married at 15, which was slightly below the average in India at the time, it was not all that unusual. Certainly no scandal.
But what was a big fucking deal was BITCH WAS PREGNANT.
Whoa. Slow the fuck down. Let’s review: in her autobiography published nearly 40 years later, Hansa sort of possibly alludes to the fact that she felt indebted to him for his loyalty/help, as well as pressure from her mom, cause, yah know, she had a human inside her, she was fiffuckingteen, and it was 19fucking38 in Indifuckingah. So there was that quickie marriage, a coverup, all that jazz. But I mean hell, those crazy kids might make it right? RIGHT? Wrong. Dead fucking wrong. Worst decision ever. WrongwrongwrongwrongWRONG.
Hansa became a huge star of Indian cinema, and was a great influence on actresses of the period. She was charismatic on screen and off, had lots of famous friends and acquaintances, was young,beautiful and talented, won multiple Indian acting awards, broke box-office records, and even had a movie based loosely on her life (it won a bunch of awards and shit, whatever, I’m over it.). I mean, she’s pushin’ boundaries, she’s breakin’ rules, she’s takin’ names. This was a time in India when women singing and acting, especially on screen was activity more suspicious than a third nipple in Salem. But, as with all great star marriages, it was all creme-fraiche and caviar on the outside, but rotten shit and poop on the in.
Now one of the reasons I love his greatass woman was (aside from all her regular ‘accomplishments’) she banged A LOT of people. Yes, it was most likely to try and fill the void of pain in her heart and lack of meaningful relationship in her life (In her poetry she describes ‘husband’ figures as committing crimes against women and killing them with pregnancies. Heavy shit there Hansa.), but she didn’t earn the retrospective title “the Joan Crawford of the Marathi stage and screen” for nothing. I mean, the Indian authored sources I read are still reluctant to talk about her multiple MULTIPLE (I’m talking Warren Beatty polygamy level) affairs. India, as a society at the time was more conservative than a Tea-Party townhall meeting in Kansas, and she was undoubtedly a shameful lady. But also one who probably got some way more than any of her oh-so-chaste biographers.
Sadly though, despite making it big (and MAKIN’ it BIG, if you know that I mean!!), Hansa got old and hit the plight of the middle-aged actress we know so well—nobody wants to hire and old bag, no matter how respected, cause she’s not gonna draw the same crowds to the grindhouse (Actually, the term ‘grindhouse’ refers to the independent theaters of the 1940s through 70s in America that succeeded financially through playing films outside MPAA ratings standards, such as exploitation, proto-splatter and shit about Nazis. Hey, we can’t all be as fucking ‘high-brow’ as Schindler’s List. Wait for it… and THAT’S your fun film history fact for the day, bitches!!!). So she turned to drink, solitude and writing a shitload of poetry. She was broke by the 1970s, so she wrote an expose on all the dudes she banged, but India was too uptight (come on people, you gave the world the Kama Sutra, how bad can her shit be??), and she died a destitute alcoholic. Damn, just want to pour one out for her. Should we view this as a cautionary tale about creating meaningful connections and a true support system in our lives through stable relationships? That the price of success and fame is always more than you think?