*Note: This post is not about vampire children, but rather medieval sexploits. Sorry. But, the title is a double entendre, so by all means filmfan, keep reading if you’re intrigued.
Hey guys, hey. It’s our blog birthday. Blogthay. Blirthgay. Blirdigirthbay. Do you know what I received for my actual birthday last year? Welp, aside from the traditional gun and bottle of scotch, I got three pages from a 14th century book of hours. I don’t know who my parents killed to get them, but I will pay whatever the going rate is these days to the Church for absolution. So in that spirit, I bring you a brief, loving, and very highly absofruitly accurate tale of medieval sexual misconduct and mistrial.
Once upon a time there was a place called “France” in an age long long ago called “the Later Middle Ages.” In this mystical land lived a man named Martin Guerre, who married a girl named Bertrande. They were childless for eight years, and it’s very possible that since the medieval mindset towards child-rearing was fairly close to that of the Duggers, that the marriage either went unconsummated, or after one horribly awkward night, Martin slept on the pullout in the living room.
Either way, he was a little shit who apparently stole grain from Bertrande’s father and abruptly disappeared in 1548 over the Pyrenees. This was all the better for his wife, but by Catholic law, she couldn’t remarry unless her husband was proved to be dead.
So here’s the juicy bit: about eight years later, a guy shows up at Bertrande’s saying he’s Martin. He looks the same if you squint, and knows weird stuff about Martin, and he convinces most people in the village, including Martin’s own sisters, and apparently Bertrande. She lets him stay, and get this shit, he immediately knocks her up. Twice. Hmmmm.
After three years, “Martin’s” uncle, Pierre (what a douchey name), starts to suspect something. A solider comes through town and says “Hey, whoa, that dude Martin Guerre totally lost a leg in some war we were in together somewhere.” Pierre has his sons-in-law attack Martin, but Bertrande intervenes Pocohantas-style. Some of the villagers accuse Martin of arson for no apparent reason, but Bertrande hires a lawyer and he is acquitted.
Pierre doesn’t give up though, and brings a fraudulent lawsuit against Martin in Bertrand’s name. Bertrande is rull pissed, but is forced to testify against Martin, and admits that even though at first she thought it was her husband SHE TOTALLY REALLY KNEW IT OBVIOUSLY WASN’T HIM AND SO THEY HAD A LOT OF SEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, it gets fucking heartbreaking. Fake Martin, whose name was apparently Arnaud (which is a really hot name b.t.dubs.), challenges her in the middle of his trial that if she would swear he wasn’t her husband, he’d be gladly executed. BUT SHE TOTALLY REMAINED SILENT CAUSE SHE LOVED HIM GUYSS$S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!1
After more than 150 testimonies claiming the man was or wasn’t Martin, Arnaud was sentenced to death. There was an appeal, and officials decided Bertrande had been forced by that shitbag Pierre into giving false evidence against Arnaud, because his knowledge of Martin’s life and story checked out perfectly. BUT (this shit is so dramatic, I’m sorry), THEN……………………………..
THE REAL MARTIN GUERRE SHOWS UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING RETRIAL.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!111!
Oh my Lord, I just can’t take it. Pass me the smelling salts.
Arnaud is immediately given the death penalty again, and four days after the retrial, he was hanged in front of Bertrande’s house, and, as was the custom, his body was left there as a warning to other criminals. That fucking sucks, Bertie.
The real Martin had apparently gone to seek his fortunes in war with no intention of returning to his family. After he did indeed lose a leg, he lived in a monastery. He returned home upon hearing the news of the trial (which was very sensational at the time), and initially refused his wife’s apologies, telling her she should have not taken another man. Ahhhh, men.
This is, in fact, a well-trod area of history, popularized in something like three operas from the 18th and 19th centuries, then repopularized, ANTHROPOLOGICALHYPHENHISTORYSTYLEWHUTUPPP, in the 1980s by Natalie Zemon Davies (which is required reading for lots of History Methods and
Fake Science Anthro classes), and then made into an opera by the guys who brought you Les Mis, a couple of movies, and another musical by nobody I knew.
So, that’s my closing contribution to our Blogoversary Celebration. I know I speak for MRG and LHB when I say that the past year of being very clearly so much internet famous has been a pleasure, a privilege, and a somethingelsethatstartswithp. From our little class in Bath, to our respective second-tier mid-sized east-coast liberal-arts colleges, we at for shame! have stayed devoted to bringing you, dear readers, the most scandalous, most salacious, most sexy shit history has to offer. And we will continue to do so until the sun explodes (or we’re forced to abandon this and erase all possible traces so as not to ruin our careers in the public sector/academia).
(or until someone gives us a coffeetablebook deal).
Okay, listen. This little historical anecdote isn’t about sex. But it’s really cool. And it involves a historical figure who did have scandalous sex, and lots of it. And also, go back and read the title of this post.
And please note that this is a real thing that happened. There’s even a Wiki article about it, so BOOM, verifiable.
So once upon a time in 1901, these two English lady academics, Charlotte Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, took a little jaunt to Versailles. They were colleagues, roomies, best frans, all that jazz, and they were living in Paris and tutoring youths. Bear in mind also that they were serious, scholarly, smart, British ladies. They didn’t stand for dumb shit.
[Ed. note: a paragraph got deleted here, so this is my lazyass version of what I wrote initially to bridge the gap]. Charlie and Ellie stroll through the fucking majestic and wonderful and architecturally-consequential-across-cultures-for-years-and-years-and-years halls of Versailles with their littler touristy headsets on, and they’re into it, or whatever. But as they exited through the gift shop, they both decided that the physical manifestation of the absolute authority of one of the most prominent and storied monarchies in history, is just, you know, sort of “Enhhh.”
So in order to salvage what was likely a charming and totally emotionally and ideologically transformative (but still “Enhhh”) first world experience, they decided to take a little stroll through the gardens to the Petit Trianon, which is a “cottage” that Louis XV had built for his #1 slampiece, the Madame de Pompadour. Later, Marie Antoinette hung out there a lot to relax, and if I am to believe Sofia Coppola, play with baby lambs and catch butterflies. Anyway, it’s a cute little place. But Charlotte and Eleanor got a little lost on the way. SO LOST THAT THEY WENT BACK IN TIME.
YES. YOU HEARD ME. BACK IN TIME. PAY ATTENTION:
As they’re walking past some little chateau (because remember, they’re lost), Charlotte sees a woman waving a white cloth out one of the windows, and Eleanor notices an old farmhouse and plough off to the side. THEN THE WORLD FUCKING TURNS BLACK. Not exactly, though. From their description it sort of sounds like what happens when dementors show up, just less cold.
They continue down this path and see some palace gardeners, “dressed in long greyish-green coats with small three-cornered hats,” who creepily (I imagine) tell them to keep on walking. CLUE #1. They come upon a cottage, where a woman is handing a young girl a jug, but everything looks and feels weird, like a “tableau vivant,” according to Eleanor, which is probably French for “acid trip.” Charlotte said “Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees seemed to become flat and lifeless, like wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees.” FUCK. Also, CLUE #2, NANCY DREW.
Then they make it to the edge of the woods, where they meet a dude with a scarred face, a cloak, and a big shady hat. Charlotte later said his “expression was evil and yet unseeing, and though I did not feel that he was looking particularly at us, I felt a repugnance to going past him.” CLUE #3, also, he points them toward the Petit Trianon.
- En route (that’s French, don’t worry about it), Eleanor notices a very pretty, very blonde, very fancy woman sketching in the garden of the PT. Oh yeah, she’s dressed like it’s the 1790s. OH YEAH, WHATEVER, SHE’S PROBABLY MARIE ANTOINETTE. Who is the aforementioned scandalous figure.
Then the world gets dementor-y again, and they head back toward the palace and toward THE PRESENT TIME, where they meet up with their tour group. They kept going back to Versailles and the PT afterwards to try to retrace their steps, but no dice. No farmhouse, no little chateau, no characters from Les Miserables.
They eventually published their story under pseudonyms and it caused all kinds of sensations, namely because HOLY FUCK THESE ACADEMIC LADIES MIGHT HAVE GONE BACK IN TIME. Some naysayers offered explanations, but “scientists” couldn’t really nail down a solid one. So, you know what this means, right? Back to the Future is possible. Bill and Ted is possible. ANYTHING is possible!
I know it’s not scandalous, per se, but it blew my mind. Also, Woody Allen, we’re on to you.
We may not be posting quite as much as we were in our first month of blogging (we’re writing our theses right now, so deal with it), but we are mighty proud of how far we’ve cum. Although, clearly the puns haven’t gotten any better.
In honor of this milestone, we’re going to just do a little collection of scandalous titbits, I mean tidbits, that give us that special tingly feeling in our nether regions that we love so much. Because isn’t that what first birthdays are all about? Uh, Yeah.
This birthday extravaganza is coming to you in three separate posts. First, this little diddy from yours truly, next a special little sumthin’ from MRG, and next a steamy sexploit from JAF. If you like what you read, do share it with your scandal-loving buddies so that they, too, can feel the tingle.
Being Black is the Pitts? (Too much?): Be Quiet. I get it. Frederick Douglass, an American slave, was a badass who never did anything wrong. You know what I say to that? Who says scandals have to be wrong? ZING! Frederick Douglass, one of the most world-class ack-blays ever to fight for BOTH the abolition of slavery AND the rights of women (at the SAME TIME), sported the first afro in the history of United States.*
But that’s not even why he was so awesome. He ALSO was a quite the ladies man. You know what they say about big hair. Douglass (with two s’s, motherfucker) married his first wife, Anna in 1838 after he escaped from, you know, SLAVERY to be with her! They settled down in NYC and had five kids. Douglass went on to become besties with Lincoln, and help him solve all the country’s problems.
When he shot into the public eye, a lot of single ladies started to pay attention to him. Namely Julia Griffiths, the prominent English abolitionist, who Douglass hired to live with him and tutor his wife and his children. Hmmm. She eventually became his “administrative assistant.” One of her duties involved managing his schedule, which often involved the two of them being alone together until late at night. Also, she was white. People in Rochester, NY (where I may or may not live) grew accustomed to seeing the black man walking arm in arm with his best bud, the white lady. Also, I was lying before when I said she was single. She was married. Making that whole relationship all the more interesting.
Next, FDoug set his sights on Ottilie Davida Assing. Actually, the little German frau set her sights on him. She read his book, and was like, “I’ve got to bone, I mean meet, this guy.” So she jumped in her horse and carriage and hightailed it to Rochester where the two met and began a 25 year “friendship.”
Two years after wife #1 kicked it, Douglass fell in love. For real. The lucky bitch was the daughter of one of Douglass’ abolitionist colleagues. The couple endured a veritable shitstorm of controversy. For starters, she was white and he was black. She was also almost 20 years younger than him. Her family completely disowned her, and his children were super pissed because their mother was only two years dead. So, you know, probably exactly the same reaction if the same thing were to happen today.
But you know what Douglass said to people who were drinking the haterade? He said, “My first wife was the color of my mother, and my second wife was the color of my father.” So, he was pretty much just trying to even shit out, you know?
*This is probably untrue because I made it up.
Stay tuned for MRG’s forthcoming post, It’s Our Blogoversary and I’ll Post What I Want To, and JAF’s post which is TBD, but will undoubtedly be super hipster and all around badass. Just like our buddy Frederick.