Don’t know if anyone noticed, but seems like the entire Eastern Seaboard of the good old USA was clusterfucked by Mother Earth this week. An earthquake, a hurricane, and a few minor tornadoes all in seven days. Shit.
Naturally, when thinking about the subject for this post all week I wanted to make light of this terrifying weather. Because really, what’s funnier than extensive property damage, evacuations, and flooding? If you said nothing, you’re right. And also fuck you, that’s so insensitive.
Anyway, I tried SO HARD to find a scandalous meteorologist. SO HARD. There were NONE. Well, there have been a few middle-aged male TV meteorologists boning a few young lady interns in recent years, but that’s stupid and LHB, JAF, and I made a solemn vow not to write about anyone still living (you know, “history”). Anyway, Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin, all those historical weather enthusiasts (yes, they were real people, not just words) had like none sex. Apparently, that was a thing: if you were a scientist, Lady Science was your woman. No real ladies for you. (NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED, NERDS, am I right?!?!)
So anyway, when all these meteorological efforts proved fruitless, I did what anyone in my position would do: I looked for a scandalous Irene. You know, cause of that li’l hurricane/tropical storm/all-around disappointment (except for a the great storm coverage drinking game it produced) we had passing through this weekend. And I did this by typing “Irene” plus every letter of the alphabet one at a time into the Wiki search bar until I found someone who got me all hot and bothered. Luckily I only had to get to L to find IRENE LENTZ!!!!!!!!!!!1
Full disclosure: Ms. Lentz didn’t have all that much scandalous sex (that we know of). But she did maybe possibly die as a result of NOT having any scandalous sex. I know what you’re thinking – “MRG, that doesn’t make any fucking sense just tell me about sex that’s what I’m here for and while you’re at it stop preambling and just get to the good shit.” And to that I say SHUT UP I GET IT THIS IS STILL JUICY AND AS FOR THE PREAMBLING YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT CONTEXT IS FOR ME.
Sweet Irene was born in Montana in 1900. Naturally, when she came of age she looked around, realized she was living in Montana, and decided to get the hell out. She did this by becoming an actress in silent films. And as so many ladies of the screen before her, she married a behind-the-camera wiser older man. The lucky guy was F. Richard Jones, who, aside from hating his first name, was a BFD producer in Hollywood. What he DIDN’T hate, though, was hanging out with sick people and seasonally inappropriate outerwear. At least that’s what I would think, because he got tuberculosis and died in 1930. How nineteenth century, am I right!
Irene was devastated. She loved her F. She F-ing loved him. Get it? I’ll stop.
The poor young thang decided to channel her grief into the activity that all little frontierswomen like herself learn early in life – sewing clothes (I have gleaned this from Oregon Trail and various young adult historical fiction novels, so you can trust me). She opened up shop in Hollywood and sold totally fierce fashion forward clothes to the show business types. And she was so successful. So successful that even the decidedly unfashionable, unhip, unyoung men running Hollywood’s various production companies found out about her fiercetasticness and said “BITCH, we need you for the talkies!”
So this freelancing goes on for a few years, and boop ba doo, GINGER ROGERS is all, “HEY, I’m not going to do this film Shall We Dance with my very famous and fabulous partner Fred Astaire unless you get that sartorial maven Irene Lentz to design the shit out of my costumes.” You can see how fucking big this big break was for Irene.
In just the next few years, she would go on to design costumes for Hedy Lamarr, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young, and my #1 all time girl-crush of all time, Ingrid Bergman.
But her most important client was Doris Day, that peach. They became BFFz. AND THEN SHIT GOT SCANDALOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Okay, so even though Irene was all torn up about F’s death, a lady has needs. She met Cedric Gibbons, a very big bigwig at MGM, who was a big ol’ meanie. But his brother Eliot seemed like and okay dude, so Irene was like yeah sure, let’s get married or whatever. And so they did.
From the beginning, Irene wasn’t that into it. She and Eliot were unhappy. And sweet Doris Day knew it. Irene had started her own fashion house and left the business, but Doris lured her back in 1960 to design the costumes for Midnight Lace, ten years after Irene’s last film. She wanted to help her girlfriend out, and she also wanted to look fierce on camera. Irene ended up with a second Oscar nomination as a result.
But she was still a little blue, so Doris was like, “WOMAN, make me fierce again!” and so Irene designed for her 1962 film Gathering of Eagles.
And on November 15 of that year, Irene booked a room at the Knickerbocker Hotel in El Lay and jumped to her death.
That’s right. Poor, sad, talented Irene took a dive. Why? WELL I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
Apparently, (and this is where all that Wiki conjecture comes in, so grain of salt) Irene had it bad for Gary Cooper. Like I.L.+G.C.-all-over-her-notebook bad. And who could blame her? One of the most bangable dudes of all time. The man could wear a suit. Or nothing. Whatever you please. He was hot.
And remember Doris? Yeah, well during the filing of that last movie, she noticed that Irene seemed nervous and uncomfortable. And Doris said, “Hey girl, mama’s here. What’s the science?” And Irene was like, “Well I was in love with Gary Cooper and he died last year and I’m in great mental anguish because he was the only man I ever loved but now I’m also upset because you’re talking like that.”
And then BOOM, she jumped just a couple months later, right before her 62nd birthday. Maybe possibly probably because she loved Gary so much, although that’s not confirmed.
BUT if that’s the case, then Irene Lentz, fabulous fashionista and talented self-made woman that she was, was so upset about not boning Gary Cooper that she took her own life.
And that is very sad, but also very scandalous.
Also, Hurricane Irene is stupid.
There are far too many oddities of my personality to list (and far too few which people find as fascinating as I might hope), but one of the more prominent is an obsession with ‘good’ movies. I feel like knowing a lot about film will let people know that “Hey, look at me!!! I’m smart!!! I have good taste because I like things the New York Times tells me I should!!!!! And I’ve definitely never eaten at Friendlys and enjoyed it!!!!!!” So this newest post ties not only into that deep-seated desire to be accepted by the nouvelle intelligencia whose world I assume I’ll be trying to infiltrate once I enter grad school (and my myriad attempts to prepare for just such an inevitable occurrence through stocking my mindcloset full of wildly useless tidbits about obscure films, books and music… rather than trying to remember shit that, you know, might actually get me into grad school), as well as my general fatigue at the end of summer and after the GREs. Funny story, haha, I thought they were a day later than they were. August 23rd, rather than the 22nd. You know, it happens. Don’t worry, I didn’t miss them. I just had three hours to study rather than 27. Hilarious right? I think I cried a little when I read the confirmation email. Anyway.
So for my triumphant return to the blogosphere, I bring you the sexy and scandalous tale of not a person, but a film, on this, the (approximate) fiftieth anniversary of its arrival on American soil. Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Probably his best known movie, (Until they made that piece of shit musical-cum-Fergie-vehicle Nine into a movie just in time for Oscar season a couple years back. Think again Rob Marshall, you can’t get another golden boy for making Chicago 2. Fuck you and your meaningless razzle-dazzle.) it also marks the change between not only his own neorealistism style to a more surrealist approach, but that of all Italian cinema.
Told as a series of vignettes, it was contemporaneously touted as “the greatest modern parable on the sadness of sin.” The movie is packed with so much latent and overt sexuality it verges on caricature. Hell, it is a caricature. The main character is a socialite paparazzo (a term Fellini actually invented) who has just as much scandal in his own life as those of the people he photographs.
The moral stance Fellini takes against his characters and their wanton actions is mixed up with the fact that, to some extent, he is jealous of them. It’s a beautifully filmed, devastating and subtle film, there is nothing sexier than Anouk Aimee’s dresses, Anita Ekberg’s dancing, or the way Marcello Mastroianni smokes a cigarrette, gazes over the edge of his sunglasses, then sighs like he’s watching his lung being eaten by a pack of feral street cats. But there’s no real need for me to try and summarize the movie or draw interpretation which anyone else can do in their own. And in fact, I think at some point, when I get more time, I’ll try and write up a little history of the sexiest films of 1961, ’cause shoot boy, they were more numerous than health and safety lawsuits against Arby’s. But that’s another story.
A brief note on the ‘critical reception’ of the day. When it first opened in America (after a delay of more than a year), it was not a universally well-received movie. Some critics took umbrage to its lack of linking structure, but far more felt reviled by the content which was deemed “vulgar,” “grotesque,” and “shameless” by more than one review. The America which La Dolce Vita arrived was still a highly conservative one in its taste for movies. One of the highest grossing movies of 1961 was Judgment at Nuremberg. A legal drama. About Nazis. Yum. Meanwhile, in Europe, part of the cathartic process of rebuilding a broken continent lay in sexual and artistic liberation, thus paving the way for some very daring films indeed.
FUN FACT: In 1961, the actual act of sex hadn’t been depicted on screen, not even in grindhouse theaters, which showed films made outside of the MPAA rating, and were thus far more ‘edgy.’ In grindhouse movies you got violence, and drugs, and lots of titties, but no penetration. Porn as we know it came about in the 1970s, so that’s another story. This is a sweet little documentary on the subject, if you’ve got a spare hour and a half ( you know you do, why else are you reading this blog?). This is not to say movies weren’t sexy. Alfred Hitchcock not only loved himself a stylish thriller, but a blond bombshell in every fucking picture. Even his silent films practically explode with sexuality, but the times were different, and the panoptic studio system of the time knew sex would sell, but too much would alienate.
So anyway, sex has always been a part of the filmmaking tradition, implicit or otherwise, and by 1961, international shit was hitting the American fan. After WWII, the increased American interest in all things European was divided generally between, “I want to take an expensive and intrusive vacation in Europe, stay in a Hilton hotel and maybe walk around and talk loudly about how much I’ve been walking around,” and “Let’s watch a foreign movie.”
There were plenty of critics and movie-goers who did love and recognize the genius of La Dolce Vita, despite some ‘trying’ subject matter. Roger Ebert’s first published film review was for La Dolce Vita, and he still lists it in this top ten favorites. Bosley Crowthers, the famously harsh critic for the NYTimes even called it a brilliant commentary on the inherent decay caused by “over-civilization.” ‘Shocking,’ ‘sexy,’ and ‘sordid,’ were commonly used to describe it at the time (’cause who doesn’t love a little alliteration?), and while it was never banned in America (though it was by the Church in parts of Italy, and in Spain until after Franco’s death), it was relegated to art-house theaters, and with censored subtitles. But I’m too far removed (via fashionable aloofness) from the incident to be all that indignant, especially now that the movie’s got itself a nice little box-set DVD release, and is universally lauded as a turning point in world cinema. Oh, and sorry if this entire post was less sexy and scandalous and more like listening to an entire conversation like this.
I want to start this much-anticipated post (HAHAHHAAA – that was a hilarious joke that I made on account of no one has been reading LHB DOES Germany which hasn’t hurt my feelings at all) by giving a special thank you to all of our new followers. To fill everyone in – we got a lil’ free publicity from an internet gal who writes a popular knitting-related blog, so now we have a bunch of new craft-enthusiasts/historical-sex-scandal-lovers reading For Shame! So a big WUDDUP BITCHES goes out to all our knitter-friends!! We’ll be looking for a scandalous crafter to honor you all very soon. And just so we don’t leave anyone out, thank you so much to those of you who are reading the blog because you know us/love us/have been coerced/threatened. Your support is invaluable. Really. My throat is a little tight. I love this blog. We promise not to forget about you when we finally get our coffee-table-book-deal and become super famous.
But enough of that bull shit, let’s make some dick jokes! AM I RIGHT?!?!
First of all, I know what you’re thinking because I’m omniscient. Just like Voldemort and Patrick Stewart from X Men. “LHB, the Romanovs weren’t German. What the heck does this have to do with you DOING Germany?” And to that I will respond, “I know. I get it. Shhhh. Be quiet.” Here’s what happened: I found Konstantin Konstantovitch on the Wiki page of the first subject of LHB DOES Germany and I really wanted to write about him even though he’s a Romanov. So here’s my thinking: As I’ve said many a time, during this period in European history, all them royals were marrying off their children to one another so everybody had a little Schnitzel in them, okay? Even the Russos. So for our purposes, that’s what happened okay? And by the end of the post, I’m sure I’ll find some sort of superficial connection to the Reichland and pretend like it’s way more real than it is in order to make this shit come full circle. So hold onto your lederhosen because it’s about to get historically scandalicious up in HERR.
As the Gods of Wiki tell us, Konstantin Konstantinovitch was the grandson of the Emperor of Russia. As a poet and playwright of some prominence later on in life, he became known by his pen name, KR, which was an abrev. of his transliterated name Konstantin Romanov. As a young boy, he enjoyed frolicking in fields, pressing flowers, writing poetry, watching musical theatre, listening to the music of Cher, dressing up in his mommy’s pearls and wearing her lipstick. So it’s not so surprising when he was sent away to military school he was kinda like, “Well, I’m not really into the whole fighting/violence thing but I don’t think I would HATE living with a bunch of other men in really close quarters for several years of my young adult life.” In the end, military life suited him. Since he got to be around dudes a lot.
Konstantin didn’t get around to marrying until he was 26, which was really old for Russian royalty. The Wiki article says that this is because he was “shy,” but I’m pretty sure in this case “shy” is another word for “gay.” He did finally marry his second cousin, Princess Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenberg (WHO IS GERMAN-ISH, thank you very much), and they ended up having 9 kids together. So he must have either loved her or have had a portrait of Brad Pitt on his headboard throughout their marriage or something because the two of them were great at procreating. The Wiki article on Princess Elizabeth has this to say about the royal couple: “The marriage was a success, although Grand Duke Konstantin secretly kept male lovers.”
Now, I’m no expert on being married since I’m 21 and, you know, in college, but I don’t know that I would call my marriage “a success” if my husband was in the habit of keeping male lovers. Call me crazy!
I’ll get to all of the Duke’s accomplishments later because he was a pretty awesome guy, but for now, let’s talk about how gay he was. Literally. This scandal is a sort of non-scandal scandal because nobody other than probably his wife and small circle of his close friends and lovers knew about his bisexuality during his lifetime. It was many many years after his death when his extensive diaries were published that people found out that this staunchly politically conservative Russian duke, devoted husband and father to nine children, swung both ways. (And one of his kids didn’t die until, like, 2001 so that must have been really awkward for her when daddy’s diaries were for sale at Barnes and Noble. “NEW in Paperback! Your dad liked guys, too!” It’d be weird, right?)
KR called his sexual interest in men his “main sin” and referred to entering male brothels as a succumbing to his “depraved inclinations.” Which, like, come on. So sad, right? Did your heart just break a little? Mine sure did and it’s really small. I mean, it’s the early 1900s and he’s Russian royalty. Europe is going to shit. I think you know where this story is ending for him and a few members of his ROMANOV family. And on top of all that political stress and responsibility, having a family, being a dad, ranking super high in the military, writing poems and plays and being arty, he’s gotta get his club on every night to figure out who he really is inside (his pants). It’s tough shit is all I’m saying. So it’s not surprising that by 1903 he had become a regular at Chez Hott Boyz, the most popular bath-house in St. Petersburg. FACT. You’re welcome.
In 1904 he wrote in his diaries about his encounter with a young man named Yatsko during which he discussed feelings of shame that came with being in la closet in the early 20th century. A long-term relationship developed between the two that he apparently wrote about for a number of years. Being a muckity muck in Russian society, he “befriended” a lot of interesting, arty people. Like the composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky. They enjoyed “playing piano” together.
In September of 1914, KR and his wife were in GERMANY (BOOM) on some sort of spa holiday weekend when a little thing called the World War I started (except they didn’t call it that then). They were taken as political prisoners and then allowed to meet up with the German royal family and then continue on back home to Russia where things were even better! NOT. Five of his six sons fought in the war and his two favorites died in 1914 and 1915 fighting on the Western Front and in the Caucasus theater. This was sort of a blow to their pop and he died of general bad health/a broken heart in 1915. Which turned out to be kind of a blessing, am I right?! His four surviving sons were kidnapped by the Bolsheviks in October of 1917 and later slaughtered with other members of the Russian Royal family. His wife and the rest of his kids managed to flee to Germany and then England and the United States.
A few glowing remarks about the late, cabaret-loving, figure-skating KR. He was a really smart, really nice guy. A good father. A valued member of the Russian artistic, literary, and scientific communities and a leader in early Russian Modernism. He was a patron of the arts and an artist and writer himself. He translated Goethe and Shakespeare into Russian, and he also acted in some of his own plays!
So, what have we learned here today? I think it’s pretty simple: being bisexual/gay when you’re Russian Royalty in the early 1900s has got to be a hard knock life and little Orphan Annie/Jay Z didn’t know shit.
I’m not in a good place right now. I just feel like I should tell you that before we get started. You know, “journalistic integrity.” I’m not going to get into it, but LHB is on a wonderful dream vacation in the land of efficiency and modern art and pretzels and men wearing thick-rimmed glasses, I finished watching Arrested Development for the first time last night and subsequently there is a hole in my chest, and Stand By Me has been on TV all weekend, which is A) one of the best coming-of-age movies ever made and B) really fucking depressing and beautiful now that I’m not eight years old anymore and the dramatic irony of River Phoenix’s death has sunken in. Remember the last scene of the movie? When sweet River says, “Not if I see you first?” My throat is so tight.
Obviously, I’ve got a lot of
white girl problems feelings. But that’s fine, because so did EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY!!!!!!!!!!1
If you follow us on the Facebook, you may recall that we gave you a special treat in honor of our 10,000th hit. We let one of YOU choose the subject of our next post! You’re fucking welcome. And dear Kate, one of our Bath buddies, she of the fierce clothes and lovely flaxen hair, suggested we look into the life and sexy times of Miss Edna. So we did. Kate, thank you for a fantastic suggestion and for generally being such a good bitch. And for letting LHB and I come over and watch True Blood with you and JAF every Thursday night.
Edna was so sexy for so long that it was impossible to isolate just one scandalous incident, so we’re going to DO them all. Brace yourselves.
Miss Millay was from Rockland, Maine, which coincidentally is where the asylum that inspired Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” is located. You know, the whole last section with the “I’m with you in Rockland” anaphora bit (Listen, I’m an English major going into my senior year. In May I’m going to hate myself and my life decisions. Indulge me.)
Anyway, dear Edna and her two sisters were raised by her mommy, who moved from town to town in Maine with a big ol’ trunk full of literary classics, struggling to stay above the poverty line. As a result of the lack of food/preponderance of good books, Edna was wicked smaht and good at writing poetry from a young age. She published her first and maybe best poem, “Renascence,” when she was like 19 or 20. What was I doing last year, when I was 20? Fucking working at an ice cream store. Prior to this she’d also been published in several national anthologies and won a couple of poetry awards. Again, I was working in an ice cream store. Choices.
All these accolades must have provided Edna with some kick-ass personal statement fodder, because girlfriend got accepted with a capital A at Vassar when she was 21 in 1913. She was kind of oldish to be starting college, but none of her lady friends seemed to mind since she made out with most of them. THAT’S RIGHT, y’all. Edna, like many young coeds, probably indulged in a few too many skippies during her first year and started kissing the ladies. And then also probably had lady sex with them. Just saying. One of those ladies was Edith Wynne Matthison, who went on to become a noted silent film star. By “noted” I mean “I’ve never heard of her but Wikipedia says she’s famous so she was probably really important.” I sort of wish they’d stayed together because “Edith & Edna” would look real fucking cute on a civil partnership celebration invite, am I right?
But Edna had bigger fish to fry. She went on a little trip to Paris, got knocked up by a French violinist, got a li’l abortion, and came back to the US of A. She moved to the Village, where, like many young ladies who move to the city, she said “HEY WORLD, I’m here, I’m bisexual, get used to it.” She also started writing prolifically to keep herself afloat, and then started boning a lot of dudes, including Floyd Dell, a fellow writer who said she “had a mouth like a Valentine.” Which is sweet, but also doesn’t make any fucking sense. Anyway, Floyd, the poet Witter Bynner, and Edmund Wilson, a VIP in the New York literary/critical world of the 1920s (just ask F. Scott), proposed marriage to her, but girlfriend was an Independent Woman. Also I’m thinking she wasn’t ready to commit to the penis just yet.
Plus her career was really taking off, and a ladywriter in this time really needed to keep her game up if she wanted to be taken seriously. She won the Pulitzer in 1923, which was like, the biggest big fucking deal ever. I guess from there she decided that she could settle down with a nice man or woman and have babies or a lot of cats, depending.
Well score one for the dicks, because Edna married Eugen Jan Boissevian that same year. He’d been married to Inez Milholland, one of Edna’s friends and possible fuckbuddies in the Village. Interesting. Anyway, they were married for twenty-six years, but really took that whole “love, honor, and cherish” thing with a big ol’ grain of salt, in that they both had a lot of extramarital sex with a lot of extramarital partners. Specifically Edna. Old Euge liked to do chores and shit, he was profeminist, and sort of a pussy (obviously imagining Tobias Fünke right now), so I’m thinking she was really cleaning up in the adultery department.
Her most scandalous affair was with George Dillon, whom she met in 1928 after she gave a reading at the University of Chicago. He’d just graduated and was twenty-two to her thirty-six. To which I say, WERQ, woman. And because I never miss an opportunity to use 1920s slang or to colloquialize historical exchanges:
EDNA: Well hello there, fish.
YOUNG GEORGE: Aw, I’m no fish. Your poetry is just the berries, plus you’re a real Sheba.
E: Oh, applesauce!
YG: Let’s go beat our gums somewhere else. Come get some giggle water down at the gin mill with me, doll!
E: As long as you don’t mind this handcuff I got!
YG: Horsefeathers! You’re a real bearcat, aren’t you? Listen, I got my breezer outside. We’ll go to the juice joint and get some hooch and skip the light fantastic, whaddaya say?
E: Cash or check?
YG: I have no idea what the fuck we’re saying.
E: Me either. Let’s have sex, though.
And that’s exactly what they did. Edna ended up writing fifty-two (!) sonnets about George in a work that she called Fatal Interview published in 1931. They had a rocky relationship, and although the juicy details haven’t survived, I think it’s safe to say that Edna wasn’t taking any shit from her boylover. I’ve never read anything in Fatal Interview, but just the title sounds fucking sexy. I’m not NOT looking it up on my library’s online card catalog right now. And hey, despite their little tiffs, Edna was one professional bitch and helped young George translate some Baudelaire in 1936, presumably after their relationship had ended. Although let’s face it, nothing reignites an old flame like a nineteenth-century French literary critic, so there was probs some boning going on too.
Anyway, from there Edna’s love life sort of took a backseat to her involvement in political things, like protesting the Sacco and Vanzetti case and Fascism and what not. You know, “current events.” She started writing propaganda verse for Uncle Sam, but that fickle motherfucker had deadlines, and Edna couldn’t handle that. She was an ARTIST, dammit. So she stopped writing for a while, and never really picked it back up. I like to think she went back to having sex with inappropriately younger partners, but I can’t confirm that.
Ultimately, Edna died after suffering a fall in her sweetass upstate New York farmhouse in 1950. She caught a lot of flack for being a Romanticist in a time when Modernism was all the rage. But you know what’s always in style? BONING.
So here’s to Edna St. Vincent Millay, a fierce, sexually curious bitch, and Kate, the For Shame friend who brought her sexploits to light.
But honestly, probably the sexiest Edna of all time, right? Shit, she subverted that name real hard.
Wilkomen to Part Zwei of LHB Goes to Germany – which, in the spirit of the blog, I’ve decided to rename LHB DOES Germany.
Remember the smokin’ yet frustratingly celibate princess and later nun that we told you about in Part Ein? Will you also recall the list of suitors/admirers that I wizzed through in which I briefly mentioned a young princess named Marie who probably (maybe not whatever let’s go with it), grew up having lesbian dreams/fantasies about Elisabeth because she believed her to be the “definition of beauty?” Well let’s just say that when that little Princess grew up to be a normal-sized Princess, she didn’t exactly follow the whole “only have sex with the guy you’re in love with” model that her girl-on-girl dream woman embodied. In fact, she sort of went in the opposite direction.
Shall I elaborate and continue to use sub-beginner level German interMITTEnly? If you insist.
Okay, get ready for a little family history – and shit’s complicated so put your listening face on, and pay attention. Princess Marie of Edinburgh was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh who was the second son of my fav royal couple evaaa, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Our princess’s mommy was the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, the daughter of the Emperor of Russia. She was apparently kind of a snooty patooty and no one really liked her and she didn’t like them back.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “LHB, what’s so German about an English princess with a Russian mother?” My answer, “Fucking everything.” Yeah. EVERYTHING is German about a half English/half Russian princess because the German royal family had spermies and eggs all over Europe at this time. You couldn’t walk into a royal palace in 1900 without impregnating or getting pregnant by some German royal. They knew how to spread their seed and they spread it good. Most notably, Prince Albert, Victoria’s hubby, was of the Saxe-Coburg haus and so all of their offspring were also part of the German royal family. So there. Now you can suck it and keep reading.
When Marie started getting the bleeds and was all ready to say “I do,” she and her first cousin (grossgrossgross), later King George V of England, fell in love. But their moms collectively thought the match was a no-go. If you’re thinking, “maybe they were ahead of their time and thought that marriage between first cousins was a little nauseating, wow, good for them,” you’d be wrong. Because really what was going on was Marie’s mom hated English royalty and George’s mom hated Maria’s mom due to a little kerfuffle over their royal titles. Sister-in-laws! Adorbs.
In the end, Marie ended up marrying Prince Ferdinand of Romania. In the spirit of MRG’s recent conquest over the GRE, let’s do some analogies in order to convey the nature of their relationship. Marie was to Ferdinand what the Big Bang was to dinosaurs. No, that’s not quite right. Marie was to Ferdinand what acid rain is to clean drinking water. No, this all makes Marie seem like the aggressor when really she was just a deviant. Marie was to Ferdinand what the Spanish Flu was to 1918? No…that’s not really it either. What I’m trying to get at is, she fucked shit up. Clearly, I would do terribly on the verbal because all of those things are about 0% analogous, but hey, I’m not MRG so cut me some slack, OK?
Marie and Ferdinand had 5 children “together.” Three of them are “definitely” his. And two of them were born after she began a long-term love affair with a man named Barbu Stirbey (because who wouldn’t give a blowie to someone with a name like that?!) Marie’s youngest son shares the same dark, smoldering eyes as Barbie, I mean, Barbu, so pretty much everyone believes that he was the baby-daddy. And most people believe that her second-youngest child, her daughter Ileana, also shared a little DNA with Barbu. SO…no big deal, 2 kids, non-royal daddy, 1 conclusion: Marie was a hard core adulteress – like, not the pussy kind. She was for real. Marie was to adultery what Evil Kenevil was to motorcycle stunts. (That one kind of works.)
And girlfriend new it. So a few years later, while still the Crown Princess of Romania (not yet Queen), she started another affair with a guy named Lt. Zizi Cantacunezendfkljsflksjsfslfkjds (spelled just like that). She was the best adulterer in the land and she loathed her husband, so she thought, “No harm, no foul, right?” Wrong.
The steamy affair was quickly discovered by her father-in-law (the KING) and then soon enough everyone was talking about it. It was like when Hugh Grant was caught cheating on whatsherface with that prostitute/stripper. It was all over the ‘bloids and anybody who was anybody was talking about it.
And then, just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any scandalouser, bitch found out she was PREGNANT. WHAT?!?! Uuuhh huh! You can’t make this shit up, people. So she flees to Coburg to live with her mom throughout the rest of the pregnancy and then the little love-child disappears from history fo’ eva’. The baby was either stillborn or was immediately sent to an orphanage.
This detail I find interesting. Ever since I read the entire Princess Diaries series as a tween (Okay fine, also in high school and maybe a little in college, whatever, shut up), I obviously have a teeny tiny fantasy that one day someone will tell me that I am a princess and Julie Andrews is my long-lost grandmother and Hector Elizondo will be my driver/future step-grandfather. Obviously. And after reading this about Princess Marie of Romania’s mysterious, long-lost love-child, it finally makes sense. I’m pretty positive about this, so tell all your friends: I am the great-great-granddaughter of the Queen of Romania, Maria Alexandra Victoria, making ME, LHB, a real-life Princess. BOOM. You heard it here first.
Anne Hathaway, Auf Wiedersehen. You are out; you can leave the runway.
And we know what you’re thinking: how 2008 of For Shame to just be getting a Twitter now. Shhh. We know.
This just means that we’ll use yet another social networking site to keep you updated about our sexy historical stylings. It also means that you can mention us (@forshameblog) whenever the fuck you want, as in “OMGzZ just red the l8st post on @forshameblog! SeW funNy #historyhashtagz” or “hey, someone should pay these @forshameblog girls to oh, i don’t know, publish their hilarious posts in a coffee-table type book that would probably sell at urban outfitters or something.”
And we’ll probably make a lot of twatter/titter type linguistic puns. Yay!
Fuck, there’s a lot of History. Like layers and layers of it. If History was a person, it’d be on The Biggest Loser because that’s how big it is. As a result of History’s obesity, I found not one, not two, but three post-worthy sexually-oriented events during my pre-blogging wiki-athon that I desperately want to divulge. And they’re all kind of related. But I can’t do all of them now! What to do!!??
Let’s retrace our steps to come to a conclusion, shall we? Well, here’s how I usually get started on a post. I have an idea of what I want to write about. Par example: I’m going to Germany with my family on Saturday, so I wanted to do a post about…weiner schnitzel-ing. I wiki-d “List of Holy Roman Emperors,” because I really wanted to make a joke about how that title sounds like you’re saying “Holy shit!” but instead of shit, you’re saying “Roman Emperor.” Like, “Holy Roman Emperor, I stubbed my toe!” Yeah, I know. It’s comedy gold. But I couldn’t find anything great with the HREs, so I thought, “Hey! I’m the WWI nut, why don’t I dig up some shit on my homeboy, Kaiser Wilhelm II and then make some jokes about Kaiser Rolls?” (I know, I’m hilarious. Let’s go ahead and book me my Comedy Central special right now.)
Well, I did that and it turns out that he probably had a lot of affairs with women and maybe one with a dude (playaa), but none of that really got me hot and bothered. So I started clicking on members of his family, whose dicking around landed their royal butts on thrones all over the continent. And that’s where I started to milk the scandal juice.
Ew. That was gross.
I ended up with so much juice (sorry) that I think maybe what I’ll do is turn the fruits of all of this wiki labor into a three-post series that MRG will help me publish when I’m without the internets all of next week. So we can make the scandal juice last a little longer, you know?
Ok, sorry. Juice metaphor done. It’s gross. I get it. I’m over it.
First up, we’ll talk about my favorite kind of scandal…the non-scandal scandal! Like remember when MRG wrote about the Hawaiin King who didn’t want to marry his sister? Well, this is kind of like that except not really.
Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine (worst title ever) was said to be the most bodacious babe in all of Europe in the 1870s and 1880s. Considering 19th century hygeine standards and the lack or orthodontia, generally I would not consider this to be too huge of a feat, but then I saw a picture of her and I turned lesbian for like 10 seconds. So girlfriend looked good, ok? She looked so good that she was proposed to by a comical number of gentelmen. Her wiki article has an entire section called “Admirers and Suitors” and some of them are bullet-pointed because the section was getting too long. White girl problems, am I right?
Notable suitors include: The English Lord Charles Montagu, Henry Wilson – the Massachusetts Senator and later Vice President/sheep herder under US President Ulysses Grant, Duke Konstantin Konstantinovitch, the poet and soldier (and UPCOMING for shame! victim), the future Queen of Romania (the other upcoming for shame! culprit in the LHB Goes to Germany series – yes, we’re calling it that) who said that her beauty was the “thing of dreams” which I’m pretty sure means that she had lesbian dreams/fantasies about her.
Now here’s where the reverse scandal comes in. Two other really important people liked her and her not liking them back created some major royal family drams. First, it was her older first cousin, Will. Who later became Kaiser Wilhelm II. WOOPS!
Here’s how it went down. He was a student, going to University, doing keg stands of Carlsberg and boning mad bitches. You know, what everyone does in college. But occasionally, he’d skip out on the partay and go visit his fam in Hesse on the weekends. During this time his pepe started to get a little hard for his lil’ cuz, Liz. And then he, like, really fell in love with her and proposed marriage. She couldn’t have been more than 16 at the time so when Will came into her room to pop the Q, she was busy hanging up a new Justin Timberlake poster and didn’t see him at first. When she became aware of her cousin, on bended knee, next to her boom box which was blasting an old A*Teens album, she quickly turned down the volume and said, “Omigod…like, that is so sweet, Will, but I’m just not that into it. See you at Christmas.” (I was about to write Thanksgiving and then realized that they don’t do that in Germany. And then I realized that it is hilarious that I felt that part of the story needed to be geographically and historically plausible.)
So, back to the non-imagined part of the story: Bitch said NO to the future German Kaiser. Not cool. He was so heartbroken that he dropped out of school and moved back in with his parents. (Loser.) And Liz’ grandmommy, QUEEN FUCKING VICTORIA, was not too pleased with her.
Then, a few years later, Frederich II the future Duke of Baden, proposed to her and she refused him too. She just wasn’t feeling it apparently, but that made Queen Victoria even madder and made Frederich’s mom, EMPRESS AUGUSTA so mad at Elisabeth that she didn’t speak to her at family functions for years. She probably didn’t even put anything in her stocking at Christmas. Or wooden shoes or whatever the Germans do.
Eventually, Liz fell in love with a Russian Grand Duke Sergei after his parents died and she thought his grief and sensitivity was endearing. Whatever floats your boat, girl. I guess if you’re the Helen of Troy of your day, you kind of get to do who you want. At first when I read that she ended up with some rando, I was like what the fuck, woman!? But then I saw this picture of them and my tiny, tiny heart felt really warm and I imagine that, just like in the animated Grinch, it grew a whole lot bigger.
But then, WHAT?! He was assasinated – I know, assassination is not a non-scandal, that part of the post is over, but you should keep reading because it’s all still very…juicy? Sorry.
Anyway, her hubby died in 1905 when some socialist mother-fucker decided to make some trouble. It kind of broke her heart, so she became the abbess of a Russian Orthodox convent and devoted the rest of her life to philanthropy – which was cut short when SHE WAS MURDERED. What?!?! Yeah. In 1918, WWI finally finito, peace has cum and BAM! Lenin orders the arrest of Elisabeth and her Russo-German royal family and they end up getting thrown down a mine shaft. They survived the fall and then two grenade explosions and then finally died after some douchenozzel threw a large quantity of feiry brushwood down into the pit.
Bet you weren’t expecting that for an ending! I think the moral of this story is simple: Say “aight” when the future emperor of Germany proposes to you because worst comes to worst, you’ll end up living out your days exiled in some castle after a World War is fought and lost based heavily on the poor military decisions of your husband. If you marry for love, you’ll end up a political prisoner, murdered in a mine shaft.
On the upside, she was canonized by the Russian Orthodox church.
You win some, you lose some.