I Adore Ya, Isadora.

First of all, let’s give it up for the misters of MAN I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: Dude Week at For Shame.  I don’t know about you guys, but PF, ED, and JE‘s posts touched me in all the right places.

This is a picture of me not having internet. OK fine, it’s actually Clipart probably used in corporate handbooks about company intranet access. But pretty much, this is what it was like.

I know what you’re probably thinking.  “LHB, how do you even know about Dude week?  You didn’t even write one of those hilarious intros.  Poor KAB and MRG had to do all of them.”  First of all, listen to yourself, you sound like a bitch.  Second, I have a great excuse this time.  And no, it’s not “finals are hard” or “I’m graduating.”  This time,  I moved.  States.  Coasts, actually.  And you know what happens when you move?  You ask your boyfriend to deal with Comcast and then he puts it off for three weeks and then you never have internet.  It’s really fun.  I’m being sarcastic.  It fucking sucks.  But it makes you really productive and good at, like, setting up your house.  I also started reading a book but then we got cable so I was like, “Fuck that.”

Now, you may have read the title of this post and been a little suspicious.  “Isadora?”  You thought to yourself, “They’ve already written about this slut.  I’m going to go read some other less funny blog.

You know what I say to that?  I’d say that you’re really sounding like a bitch today.  But you would also be correct if not a little bit of a bitch.  We have written about Isadora before.  Twice, actually.  Once in our first Lesbian post ever (we were so young!), and then once in KAB’s guest post before she came over to the dark side.

“Attractive man/woman over there, this way, I’m over here.”  Dance says so much without saying anything at all.

The thing is, Isadora’s so scandalous she deserves a post of her own.  She didn’t have two children out of wedlock, numerous lesbian and non-lesbian affairs, and a death that English teachers could use to teach ninth graders the concept of irony to merit peripheral sentences in posts about other people.  So today, Isadora Duncan, you’re going to get your own post.  People only dream about this kind of publicity.  You’re welcome.

Going into this post, I was trying to find a Californian in honor of my move.  (For Shame! loves relevance.)  I was shooting for sort of the Gold-Rush, frontier-era Californian, but I was having zero luck (if you have an idea, please suggest it.)  But then MRG did some research on the “internet” and was all, “Isadora Duncan is from San Francisco.”  And I was like, “REALLY? OK!”  And now here we all are.

Isadora Duncan left northern California pretty early to become a slut in Chicago.  I mean, a dancer.  She joined a company in Chicago that eventually brought her to  New York.  But, in the big city, she felt limited and repressed.  Americans just “didn’t get her.”*  Eventually, the dancer Loie Fuller, who also was “misunderstood”* by Yankee bumpkins showed up at Duncan’s studio and was all, “Girlfriend, let’s get your ass to Paris.”

I think this photo of Fuller is gorgeous. No snark. That is all.

Fuller was a famous American dancer and actress, known for the way she used flowing silk costumes when she danced.  But she spent most of her time in France because they didn’t hate fun as much as they did in the States.  (Side note for theatre nerds:  she was also a pioneer in stage lighting and held numerous patents for the “technology” and “science” behind making colored gels.)  No doubt her love of billowy costumes rubbed off on Isadora, who is known for her use of long scarves in her choreography. (We’ll come back to that.)

But more importantly, IsaDORA did a lot of EXPLORING ifyaknowwhatimsayin’.  She had a lot of sex with a lot of people is what I’m saying.  Let’s start with the two baby-daddies, shall we?  (DISCLAIMER: I should say that I don’t believe any of her affairs were particularly scandalous because she was in Paris and she was an artist and it was the early 20th century, so everyone was all, “Eh, whatever.”)

Edward Craig can father my illegitimate children any time. DAMN.

The father of Isadora’s first child, Dierdre, was famous English scenic designer Edward Gordon Craig.  What?  Never heard of him?  Yeah, me neither.  Anyway, fun fact:  Baby-daddy numero uno was an illegitimate child himself!  Runs in the family, I suppose.  I might do a post on him at a later date, so that’s all I’ll divulge for now…

Is Dora exploring Singer’s pants in this pic?

SO, they did it and had a kid.  And then four years later, she did it with Paris Singer (yes, son of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer) and had a son named Patrick.  Three years later, when Pat was three and Dierdre was seven, the kiddos (along with their nanny) were on their way back from meeting Mommy for lunch at some swank-ass Parisian cafe, when their driver stalled the car.  (Driving was really hard then.)  The driver got out to hand-crank the engine, but forgot to put the parking break on and the car, along with the Duncan kids and the nanny, rolled into the Seine!  And they drowned!!

Shit just got real, didn’t it?

Story for another time, but Eleanora once ended an affair with her long-time lover for casting Sarah Bernhardt as lead instead of her.

Duncan was still with Mr. Singer at this point, but after the accident she left him in order to recuperate on the Italian coast with one of Europe’s most famous bisexuals, Eleonora Duse.  Isn’t that what you would do?  Eleonora had just come out of a two-year lesbian relationship with THE famousest lesbian this side of the Atlantic, feminist writer Lina Poletti.  So, when Eleonora and Isadora were sitting in a tree, everyone was like, “They must be K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

In 1922, a good long time after her post-drowning tryst with the Italian actress, Isadora met and married the Russian poet, Sergei Yessinin who was 18 years younger than her.  Get what’s yours, girl.  Unfortunately, she only got what was hers for like a year or so, before he was like, “I need to go write about my feelings,”* and went off to Moscow to commit suicide.

Isadora didn’t skip a beat before shacking up with our favorite Lesbian to the stars, the ex-lover of Greta Garbo, Mercedes de Acosta.  They wrote each other really nice and kind of explicit letters for a number of years.  Most of them involve nipples, but this one doesn’t:

Mercedes, lead me with your little strong hands and I will follow you—to the top of a mountain. To the end of the world. Wherever you wish.  (1926)

Falchetto’s progeny.

A year later, in 1927, Benoit Falchetto, a hot mechanic picked Isadora up in his Amilcar to go for a ride, in more ways than one.  The 50-year-old dancer turned to her friends before she left and said, “Je vais à l’amour,”  which translated into English means something like, “I’m going to go have sex with this hot mechanic now.”  On the drive, her scarf got tangled in the open spoke wheels of the early 20th century automobile and broke her neck!  And then she died!

Wanna know why she was wearing a scarf?  Probably you remember from earlier in the post when I was talking about flowy fabric but I’ll remind you:  It was her thing.  She practically trademarked scarves.  She danced with them, she played with them, she wore them on car-rides.  Bitch LOOOOVED scarves.  And then they fucking killed her.  Watch out, people.  Your favorite clothing items will turn on you when you least expect it. It’s only a matter of time.

These are the “Isadorables.” They were a group of young women who studied under Isadora for most of their lives, and even took her last name! They were kind of her surrogate children. Reminds me of this.

But here’s what’s really cool about Isadora Duncan.  Aside from the fact that the woman could not have cared less what people thought about her (she had illegitimate babies and affairs with lesbians, and was a known communist, and wore that ridiculous tunic around all the time), she was also kind of the undisputed founder of modern dance.  When she started dancing, dance was either ballet or, like, vaudeville showgirl type stuff.  When expressionist theatre and art and modern literature all started to take off in the early 20th century, dance was about to be left behind.  But her innovations in style and technique elevated dance to the status of art.

No small FEET. (Because in dancing you have to use your feet.)

LHB

*Indicates direct quote.


Sexually ExpLISZTit: A classical tale of deBACHery.

PRE-POST NOTE: MRG here. This here is the third installment of MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN, coming to you a smidge late because of various WordPress/life issues. DON’T BE MAD. This is a gem, mined, cut, and polished by LHB’s dear college pal and my on-again, off-again Facebook-official accomplice in complicated love, JRE. It’s complicated. But crazy adulterous composer heartthrob sex isn’t, so read on! Plus JRE fucking used Photoshop and made ORIGINAL graphics for your viewing pleasure, making us look shitty, so go fucking enjoy those, or whatever. JK LOVE YOU BOO.

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WELCOME TO THE NEXT EPISODE OF DUDE WEEK!!! We started you off telling you how togas are GREAT for easy access, and then we told you about how DUDES RULE AT BEING GAY, and now I’m going to tell you all about how MOUTHWATERINGLY STRAIGHT WE CAN BE (warning: each word will take you to a different region of THE RAINBOW OF LUST… the foil to the BeyonceBow).

Despite the latter half of the title, F**K Bach–this post is about FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)–a WELL off HUNGarian composer of the 19th century, and the very burning image of straightness. Well. It’s a toss-up between Liszt and Chick-Fil-A, but you get the point.  As Dude Week should go, this is a feel-good tale, a man’s man‘s tale, the tale of a man who could chop(in) wood with his bare hand(els), soothe women with his piano fingerings, and cry strips of crispy bacon to feed the orphans.

In his prime, Liszt was on every honey’s bone-list. It went too far. Yes, in today’s world we all know about Bieber-Fever or Jonathan-Taylor-Thomas-Typhoid, but things take on a new flavor when women are willing to wear the sex-icon-in-question’s cigar stump as a locket (for a review of sex icons, see Figure 1). The man had so many demands for locks of hair that he had to shave a dog for proxy hair. I would do strange things for the attention of JTT, but that kind of sh*t will get you imprisoned these days. Suffice it to say, Liszt’s tunes could de-pants a lass or lad in under 5 measures. This is probably why snap pants became a necessary invention. People’s reactions went to the extreme of appearing sickly and feverish. A lady-physician of the day described its root as a combination of:

“…magnetism, galvanism, electricity, of the contagion of the close hall filled with countless wax lights and several hundred perfumed and prespiring human beings, of historical epilepsy, of the phenomenon of tickling, of musical cantherides, and other scabrous things, which, I believe have reference to the mysteries of the bona dea.”

Serious Hogwartz sh*t.

Image

FIGURE 1: GENEALOGY OF INTERNATIONAL SEX ICONS THROUGH TIME (Liszt denoted by hearts)

But he had humble beginnings. His early life was essentially the same as Eminem’s, but in Paris. And Liszt had some much weirder sh*t going on. For instance, he joined hipster Christian sects that rejected marriage as a crime against women, and never had a serious, long-term slampiece who wasn’t married. He was sort of the Robin Hood of monogamous sex. The weirdest thing was that the husbands dealt with this for YEARS. One woman he was with for 7 years, and the other–Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein (we’ll get to her in a minute)–for 14!!! Husbands were way chiller back then. If people were that dispassionate today, quality programming like the Maury show would suddenly disappear. I’m no economist, but I’m sure that would only serve to tear a whole through the last safe haven of America’s economy. Enter the GOPocalypse. Anyways! So Liszt was having sex with EVERYBODY. He was rolling around Paris with his baguette, teaching allll the honeys how to tickle the ivories (amongst other things), and he eventually picked up the 7-year-romance-husband-lady (Marie d’Agout). This was from 1833 to 1841. Liszt wasn’t that popular yet, so Marie was like the Brittany Murphy for our Eminem analogy. But unlike BM, Marie couldn’t deal with the rigors of her man touring, getting all famous. So they decided not to do LDR. As soon as Liszt dropped the baggage, he blew up. This is when the Lisztomania described above came into play.

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Figure 2: A graphical summary of Liszt’s perilous love life.

Refer to Figure 2. At 1847, where it says “Meets Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein” on the Hisztogram, that’s when Liszt started boning the 14-year-romance-husband-lady. She was married to a Russian military officer, but even he couldn’t touch Liszt because of the whole cigar-necklace aura that surrounded him. Liszt really got into Wittgenstein, forgot his bachelor resolve, and tried to marry her. This did not work, however, for two reasons:

1) Her husband cock-blocked their annulment

2) the Princess found out that Liszt had been having an affair with a former mistress of PRINCE Wittgenstein, and, further, that he had been cheating on the Prince’s ex-mistress with the singer, Emilie Genast!!! THREE LAYERS OF AFFAIRS—-INCEPTION. 

So, the Princess was a little skeezed out, and stopped putting out. Liszt understood. But they did stay in touch with Liszt, continually urging him to take up abstinence to get back into divine favor. They clearly weren’t right for each other. Liszt loved sex. By this point, however, Liszt was an old man, not getting any, and probably serving as a loving home for many sexually transmitted infections. So he just kind of taught music and watched SVU re-runs until he kicked the bucket.

Figure 3: Right???

So passes a great man. Let me conclude with some wise man-words from Zephram Cochrane: “Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make it’s own judgements.” History judged Liszt as f**king awesome. He was really popular and boned a lot of people. It’s kind of like the Bachelor. Liszt was the original Bachelor. They should make a staged-prequel for next season. No! But anyways, JUST BE A MAN. And remember–THE POWER IS YOURS!

JRE, signing off from the inside of a J. Roget bottle.


What We Can All Learn from Oscar Wilde’s Poor Choice in Men.

PRE-POST NOTE FROM KAB: This post is brought to you by my dear friend EJD, who is not only a hilarious dude, but he is a FUCKING hilarious dude. When the sexy ladies of For Shame! dreamed big with our Dude Week, I immediately thought of EJD (and not just because he’s big, if you know what I mean). We had some technical difficulties with EJD posting on his own, so I am posting for him! But you should know this post is 169% EJD fresh. EAT IT UP!!!

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Alright, For Shame! readers, KAB has asked me to step in and give writing a try, even though it is something I have never really done nor am I trained to do. My true gift is science and mathematics, so if I can somehow work that in (such as a scale of doucheyness) then I have done more to invalidate my engineering degree than ever before.

In my research I wanted something kinky, something naughty, something FILLED with buttsex (to the brim!). Tragically, when I Googled “historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes”, nothing came up except for Top Gun quotes (“you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!”). Also let’s take a moment to appreciate Tom Cruise’s cute little buttin that movie.

First image that comes up when you Google “historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes”. Not joking.

Needless to say, I want nothing more than for my article to come up on Google search when someone chooses to Google “historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes”.

At this point I began to think about you, For Shame! readers. Who are you? What kind of people are you? Oh you’re readers. You must read things. So I began to think of authors. Hemingway? Cliché. Thoreau? Thor-NO (Also: Thor-YES). “Who is a gay old dead historical author?” I Wikied.

Oscar Wilde.

I just want to preemptively mention that I:

  1. am a male
  2. am a gay male
  3. have never read/seen anything by Oscar Wilde
  4. Beyoncé (readers, please note, every letter in her name is clickable. #obsession)

Who better to write about than someone I know NOTHING about?! BRILLIANT! But I took it a step further and decided to write about someone YOU may know nothing about: his lover.

ALFRED BRUCE. Coincidence? Probably.

Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas, codename nickname Bosie, was born in the fall of 1870 to John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry (What a girly title. More like, Marquess of QUEENSberry, RIGHT? Wait. Did Scottish peerage just make a gay joke?). He was nicknamed Bosie by his friends, who described him as “spoiled, reckless, insolent, and extravagant”. (Doucheyness Level: 5, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.) In turn, Kelis wrote this song about him.

Alfred Bruce DOUGLAS met Oscar Wilde at the young and ripe age of 21 when he bumped into him as an undergraduate at Oxford. Wilde, a fully established author who was RICH (keep this in mind) befriended Alfie Dougie, the handsome, young, muscley POOR (connection established). Wilde became infatuated with Douglas who was flamboyant and reckless; basically everything Wilde wanted to be but just couldn’t (overbearing parents. We’ve all got them. Even old dead gay poets. Parental Doucheyness Level: 10.)

The queen of overbearing stepparenting

Douglas casually introduced Wilde to homosexuality. Okay not causally, he literally DRAGGED Wilde into the Victorian underground SEX DUNGEONS of gay prostitution. (Okay I Googled “Victorian Gay Sex Dungeons” and singer-songwriter Brandy came up. I’m really losing faith in Google at this point. Google Doucheyness: Yes.) This was a win-win for Douglas because he had a new rich consistent slampiece who could buy him alllllll the gay buttsex he could ever ask for. (Doucheyness Level: 7, ya little golddigger.) Meanwhile, Wilde “meet the boy, offer him gifts, dine him privately and then take him to a hotel room.” What a respectable way to bang the shit out of a prostitute. Snaps to you, Wilde, you hopeless romantic.

Oscar on the left, Alfred on the right. LOOK HOW CUTE.

But here’s where it starts to get ugly. Bosie just wanted to spend his (well, Wilde’s) money on men and gambling and Wilde wanted to boss Bosie around but Bosie just wanted to be Wilde and young and free and refused to be bossed around by Wilde who was bossing Bosie for being Wilde CAN I GET AN AMEN? The two frequently broke up and got back together, like a normal college romance, except Wilde is WAYYY old at this point. So slutty student-eager teacher kinda porno.

For some reason, Douglas was the editor for The Spirit Lamp, the Oxford magazine, and Wilde asked Douglas to translate his play Salome into English. Douglas was fairly uneducated, a.k.a. he had shitty French. So basically Wilde was just fucking him for his looks. He was like a Segway – fun to ride, but you wouldn’t want to be caught with one by your rich and well educated peers (I’m looking at you, Raven Symone. That is so NOT raven). Anyway, Douglas went along and poorly translated “One should only look in mirrors” to “One must NEVER look in mirrors” (FRENCH CONJUGATION IS HARD, non?). When questioned, Douglas said Wilde’s play was at fault, not him (Doucheyness Level: 10). This pissed Wilde off SO much that he broke up with him, then proceeded to exchange angry messages VIA HIS PUBLISHER AND ILLUSTRATOR. Typical “Could you tell Douglas that he sucks like a Hoover?” “Well you tell Oscar that he smells like my codpiece!” (Can we bring codpieces back into fashion? Like seriously, they’re great. They scream LOOK AT MY PACKAGE LOOK AT MY PACKAGE LADIEEEESSSSSS or in Oscar’s case DUUUUDEEESSS.) This became so extreme that the illustrator went on the record saying:

“For one week the numbers of telegraph and messenger boys who came to the door was simply scandalous.”

SIMPLY SCANDALOUS! My word. I’ve picked the perfect topic.

Then once, Douglas got sick with the flu, and Wilde nursed him back to health. When Wilde got sick, Douglas didn’t show up. (Doucheyness Level: 16). He instead moved to a hotel and, on Wilde’s 40th birthday, sent him the bill. (Doucheyness Level: 100). He also gave his clothes to the prostitutes he was fucking but forgot to take the sexy letters (Victorian sexting) Wilde had written him out of his pockets! (Doucheyness Level: You are a douche.)

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Daddy Queensberry (remember him?) was getting fed up with his gay son’s doucheyness, so he embarked on a campaign to publicly persecute Oscar Wilde. He even tried (unsuccessfully) to throw rotten veggies at Wilde during the premiere of The Importance of Being Earnest. Desperate to show him how mad he was, he left a little calling card that read “For Oscar Wilde, Posing as Sodomite”.

Look at her penismanship! It’s pretty poor, actually…

STUPIDLY, Wilde decided it was a good idea to take Daddy Queensberry to trial for libel, which was stupid because Oscar Wilde was ludicrously guilty of sodomy (which at the time was criminally criminal, which makes me feel sad for gay Victorians. A moment of silence.). Queensberry submitted like a BILLION sexy letters as evidence and found a bunch of prostitutes that Wilde had put his Victorian dong into who were willing to testify. Wilde admitted defeat and dropped the trial.

Going ahead to the following morning, Wilde was arrested for sodomy. WAY TO GO, OSCAR.

I bet you Oscar would have owned this.

Douglas had written a poem 3 years before in 1892 called Two Loves which has a famous line identifying homosexuality that reads “the love that dare not speak its name.” Wilde apparently gave a counterproductive explanation of the poem on the witness stand that was apparently SO confusing that the trial resulted in a hung jury (Lolololol HUNG LIKE A PENIS).

Tragically, the prosecutor reopened the case, and Wilde was found guilty and forced into 2 years hard labor in May of 1895. Douglas was exiled.

In 1897, the two reportedly reunited in Rouen, Normandy, but only remained together for a few months. Wilde died in 1900 and Douglas decided he was done fuckin’ dudes and wanted to fuck bitches, so he married some heiress named Olive Eleanor Custance and popped out a baby in 1902. This child apparently went crazy, was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, and died alone in a mental hospital. Karma’s a bitch, Bosie.

Douglas then proceeded to shit all over Wilde and condemned homosexuality. He was a witness for quite a few libel trials, one of which condemned Wilde’s old publisher as being part of “a homosexual conspiracy to undermine the war effort.” Of course? He also referred to this ugly ass lady as “bound with lesbian fillets.” …What does that even mean? Then he called Wilde “the greatest force for evil that has ever appeared in Europe during the last 350 years” and called Salome “a most pernicious and abominable piece of work.” (Doucheyness Level: ÜberDouche)

Somehow in 1923, Douglas got accused of libeling Winston Churchill, of all people, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. At this time, he softened up and wrote a book called Oscar Wilde: A Summing Up. He said “sometimes a sin is also a crime (for example, a murder or theft) but this is not the case with homosexuality, any more than with adultery”. Douglas from this point on basically just got kinda old and died in 1945.

So I guess the moral of this story is that if you’re old, rich, and gay, DON’T fuck a crazy hot sexy college boy NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO. He will spend all of your money and publically call you a queer and get away with it.

And one last time for good measure, historical dudes who banged the shit out of other historical dudes. See you next time, Google.

EJD


Rock & Roll Suicide.

[Ed. note: In case you missed our totally hilarious and charming introduction to MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: Dude Week that was posted yesterday, this here is our first installment by JAF’s pal PF. Enjoy, buttons! And look forward to THREE MORE dudeposts this week!]

Premised on the notion that the pleasures of the flesh are corrosive and ultimately fatal, the concept of “decadence” imbues sex, drugs and even certain types of violence with an intoxicating gothic aura they would otherwise lack. Puritan scolds, whether Victorian or Leninist, have been unwise to use this most attractive of words as a slur. Indeed, there is no better way to make something irresistible than to insist that it is evil, sinful, or wrong; better yet, that it is in fact the first step on the path of a slow, majestic decline. For when we embrace decadence, we stare death in face and laugh, and who but the most timid does not wish to mock death, and confront that most cosmic of outrages with transcendental ambivalence?

At least Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the subject of this post, seems to have felt this way. He was the most fabulous member of the imperial court of Nero, and the story of how he lived while Rome literally burned makes the Rolling Stones look, in the words of Charlie Sheen, like “droopy eyed armless children.” If there is heroism in indulgence, and for the purposes of this blog post there is, then Petronius is like the Superman of dandies, a man who gleefully celebrated the vanity of an age that was bringing civilization to the brink of collapse. Or no, Superman wouldn’t do that, he is a clean living dork. Petronius is more like Iron Man, or…this is a more difficult metaphor than I expected. He is probably Aquaman because of his (presumable) enthusiasm for skin-tight, sequined outfits.

A historian’s representation of what the average Roman citizen would have looked like during Petronius’s lifetime.

Not much is known of Petronius’s early life among the writers of his Wikipedia entry. From Tacitus, Plutarch, and Pliny the Elder we learn that Petronius was the elegantiae arbiter, or arbiter of elegance in the court of Nero, the infamous last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Basically, this means that he was Nero’s foremost fashion adviser and party planner. As a lifelong member of the 1%, Petronius lived a life totally devoted to debauched fabulosity, and in this regard he was second to none. Like Dorian Gray, the name of Petronius was known throughout Rome as a synonym for the relentless pursuit of hedonistic excess. Tacitus describes him best:

He spent his days in sleep, his nights in attending to his official duties or in amusement, that by his dissolute life he had become as famous as other men by a life of energy, and that he was regarded as no ordinary profligate, but as an accomplished voluptuary. His reckless freedom of speech, being regarded as frankness, procured him popularity. Yet during his provincial government, and later when he held the office of consul, he had shown vigor and capacity for affairs. Afterwards returning to his life of vicious indulgence, he became one of the chosen circle of Nero’s intimates, and was looked upon as an absolute authority on questions of taste in connection with the science of luxurious living.

 When I die, I can only hope that someone describes me as an “accomplished voluptuary” or a man of “vicious indulgence,” but I think my tombstone is more likely to read something much less glamorous, like “Guest Blogger.”

Today, Petronius is probably best known for writing the Satyricon, a work that captures the world in which he lived in all its decadent glory. While officially a satire, Satyricon is not a (lame, boring) condemnation of a ‘corrupt’ or ‘fallen’ world but rather a humorous, amoral presentation of a specific time and place that makes no claim to moral authority. In this it is like Seinfeld. If Petronius condemns anything in this sprawling work, it is the bad taste of the nouveau rich. For him, an ugly dress is much less forgivable than, say, his employer’s decision to burn down half of Rome to make way for an enormous palace. The most famous character in Satyricon is a guy named Trimalchio, a self-made millionaire (n.b. I didn’t know this was possible in Ancient Rome) who is famous for throwing dinner parties that feature elaborate, impractical dishes, most of which involve live birds. One chapter finds an impatient Trimalchio hosting the elaborate funeral he planned for himself prematurely — as in, before his death — with his party guests performing all the necessary rites for the purpose of his own entertainment. (Remember what I said earlier about decadence being the ability to laugh in the face of death? No? That’s fine, don’t worry about it. Sorry I brought it up again.)

Trimalchio’s dinner is not the only notable part of Satyricon. Much like college, this book involves SEX in addition to roasted pigs stuffed with live birds. In a memorable section, the protagonist Encolpios and some of his ‘homies’ — to borrow the terminology used in the most recent translation — are kidnapped and sexually ‘tortured’ by a foxy lady named Quartilla and her maidservants after they are caught prying into the secrets of an ancient cult, or something. (n.b. I have never actually read this book.) Anyway, the torture quickly evolves into something more consensual, and the chapter ends with Encolpios making out with Quartilla as both of them spy on Encolpios’s friend through a keyhole as he ‘plows’ a ‘virgin’ ‘field.’ (This is a metaphor)

File:Elton john rock music awards 1975.JPG

The only surviving photograph of Gaius Petronius.

As with most things, though, the truth about Petronius is even CRAZIER than the fiction he wrote, and the story of the last days of his life is more glamorous than that of any heroin addicted rock star. Like all wealthy, important, and fashionable men, Petronius eventually attracted his share of haters. This problem was magnified by Petronius’s refusal to flatter his superiors, as his penchant for candidness earned him many powerful enemies. One of these, a guy named Tigellinus who served as commander of the emperor’s guard and probably hated fun, was somehow able to successfully accuse Petronius of treason. Rather than sit around waiting to be executed, Petronius decided to take matters into his own hands and, at a lavish party surrounded by his friends, committed the most elegant, non-melodramatic suicide in history. Again I return to Tacitus for an authoritative description of this most fabulous of deaths:

Yet he did not fling away life with precipitate haste, but having made an incision in his veins and then, according to his humour, bound them up, he again opened them, while he conversed with his friends, not in a serious strain or on topics that might win for him the glory of courage. And he listened to them as they repeated, not thoughts on the immortality of the soul or on the theories of philosophers, but light poetry and playful verses. To some of his slaves he gave liberal presents, a flogging to others. He dined, indulged himself in sleep, that death, though forced on him, might have a natural appearance. Even in his will he did not, as did many in their last moments, flatter Nero or Tigellinus or any other of the men in power. On the contrary, he described fully the prince’s shameful excesses, with the names of his male and female companions and their novelties in debauchery, and sent the account under seal to Nero. Then he broke his signet-ring, that it might not be subsequently available for imperiling others.

File:Nero 1.JPG

After the death of Petronius, there was no one around to advise Nero against this unfortunate neck beard.

 I don’t quite understand how flogging servants fits into this scene, or why “many” would choose to flatter their bosses “in their last moments” as Tacitus suggests, but otherwise this is an extremely memorable and, dare I say, beautiful passage. Like Steve Irwin, Petronius died as he lived, in his case on a velvet divan engaged in idle and catty gossip about the leaders of Rome. In my personal image of the scene, a naked young man is feeding him grapes. Also, in my mind, Petronius looks exactly like Sir Elton John.

After the death of his arbiter of elegance, Nero was absolutely lost. Try as he did, he was never again able to pick out jewelry that was both seasonally appropriate and flattered his complexion and eye color. This caused him to go mad, and the last three years of his reign were marked by the irrational, self-destructive, and tyrannical behavior he is known for today. Satyricon, on the other hand, has grown in reputation since the author’s death. Now considered one of the most innovative and original works of Latin prose, it continues to be read and studied. In 1969, Federico Fellini made a film version of Satyricon that is supposed to be a classic or whatever.


Introducing MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: Dude Week at For Shame.

You, our loyal readers, the lifeblood of this little blog, angels on earth, know quite a bit about us by now. You know, for instance, that LHB looks like a koala, JAF loves cinema and gingerhood, I, MRG, watch a lot of shitty British TV on Netflix, and KAB can turn a fucking phrase. You know so much about us, yet you do not know our names. And you never will, because we like the credibility and personal integrity we enjoy as RealHumans (or that I hope to one day enjoy as an AspiringHuman). You know us merely as three letters that may or may not but definitely could correspond with our initials. And that’s all. So here’s something that might shock you.

The “L” in LHB does not stand for Leonard.

The “K” in KAB does not stand for Kareem.

The “J” in JAF does not stand for Joffrey.

And the “M” in MRG certainly does not stand for Marcus (~YET~).

“WHAT?!” you say, incredulously. “But they’re SO GOOD at writing about history that according to my knowledge of all of history and literature and culture at large I simply CANNOT believe that they aren’t men! Surely if they were ladies, their uteri and compromised brain parts would prevent them from learning how to read or write. Surely you jest.”

This is what you get when you Google “historical men.”

We do not jest. We never jest. We’re here, we’re good at writing about historical sex, and we’re girls. It’s 2012. GET USED TO IT. (You’re probably already used to it because you’ve known all along that we’re ladies because we refer to ourselves as such, but fucking indulge me, it’s a bit).

…and this is what you get when you Google “historical women.” Also, I had to size DOWN the Rushmore photo. This is the actual size of the ladyphoto. SEPARATE BUT EQUAL.

But here’s the thing. We ladies have been thinking lately that although we’re really pretty and great at divulging history’s best scandals, our archives don’t offer a holistic view of What History Was Really Like because in History, women couldn’t do anything unrelated to childrearing, cookery, or common handicrafts. Right? Sounds right.

There was some definite gender inequality here at For Shame. And we thought it was only right that we do our best to reverse all three waves of feminism (you’re WELCOME) in our own little way by inviting select men to write for us.

THAT’S RIGHT. Fire up the grill, put on ESPN2, splash on some Aqua Velva, and brace yourself for MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN: DUDE WEEK AT FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

We’ve each enlisted a talented and hirsute male friend to write about their favorite scandal over the next week.

FIRST, JAF’s dear friend PF will thrill you with a tale of sandals, the Satyricon, and suicide TOMORROW, proving once again that those ancients really couldn’t keep it in their tunicae (high school Latin DOING WORK).

NEXT, KAB’s pal ED (not like Ed, but the letters E and D) will follow with an account of everyone’s favorite bon mot machine and perhaps the Biggest Big Victorian Gay, Oscar Wilde. (ED also suggested the title of this theme week when I was panicking, so may Shania bless him in all her wisdom).

THEN, MRG’s beer buddy KP (who once suggested a scandal, if you recall) will weave us a tale of star-crossed lovers – he a German-Murican, she a WASP – and their crazy late nineteenth-century nympho jail sex.

FINALLY, LHB’s dear friend (and MRG’s sometime complicated boyfriend, don’t worry about it, it’s complicated) will regale you with the dulcet symphonic tones and undeniable sexual scandalosity of a one Mr. Franz Lizst.

We have entrusted this little patch of green blogspace and the hearts and minds of you, our sweet readers, to the very capable, manly, and undoubtedly calloused (from chopping wood and hammering things and stuff) hands of our manfriends. May you enjoy the authoritative and slightly deeper narrative voices of the be-testicled.

Wait…WE’RE PERSONS?!

Ashes to ashes, MENSES TO MEN, dust to dust, amen. Or A-MEN, right?!

Nailed it. VAGINAS OUT.


Search Term Referrals: PART QUARTE.

In classic For Shame fashion, we ladies find ourselves a little busy these days. LHB, for instance, is in the midst of a little Kerouacian cross-country move (circa the On the Road-Big Sur-Dharma Bums Kerouac, not the sad, old, bloated, nostalgiac Kerouac) (also, hey, read Big Sur, it’s great), and I’m spending a lot of time nursing my very sore ovaries thanks to Nathan Adrian and also the entire male contingent from Belgium’s Olympic team. Except Kim Clijsters BADUM CHHH.

And we’re also busily planning a really fucking great theme week that’s SO GREAT that the blog might or might not explode. You think I’m joking. I am not. I never joke when it comes to blog explosions. Blogsplosions (nailed it).

Anyway, we’re busy. Trust us. And when the going gets rough in our “real lives,” it’s only right that we keep you sated and sedated with a little something we like to call SEARCH TERM REFERRALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

You should know the drill by now. But as a gentle reminder, this shit gets real weird real quick, so ask any kids and/or conservatives to kindly leave the room.

Alone? Good. LET’S DO THIS.

exclusive brethren – You’ve come to the right place, because not just anyone can join this gentlewoman’s club. LHB, KAB, JAF and myself put the “loose” in “exclusive.”

turban sex 

beirut anal – If you’re talking about the Lebanese capital, ew. If you’re talking about the super hip indie band, then JAF’s thinking about it.

madam bovary fuck – Are you saying “Madam Bovary fuck” like a Neanderthal at a book club?

what is the show where son and mom are doing it and he asks her “when do I get to be emperor?” – I don’t know but I want to see it!

his and her crowns – Like vanity sinks?!!  (I’ve been watching way too much HGTV.)

preteen whore tumblr – MILEY HAS  A TUMBLR?!

sore penis – To match MRG’s sore ovaries? I think someone’s been watching a little too much ladies’ weightlifting.

prostitute lap dance

kate winslet in titanic painting scene

kate winslet fucking – It’s called The Reader and it happened in 2008.

mozart_of_sex – Child prodigy? Virtuoso? Flatulent? HELP ME UNDERSTAND.

5 inch penis intercourse – Aw.

penis syphilis – Best kind.

oja kodar oops

hunger games lady

acquainted with lesbian lesbian – Yes, Ms. Lesbian Lesbian is a fine, worthy woman. And a lesbian.

egyptian anal

girls want anal — No they don’t.

anal sore

“anal sex” – “Putting it in quotes doesn’t make it better.”

syphilis grew in his loins – What poetry!

tambourine patterns

narnia susan – That’s the nickname Susan got when she kept walking into bedroom furniture.

ask.com – Fucking use Google, you communist.

wallpaper scandal sex

penis contractions

trany rootinf verry young preetenn – Is this a brain teaser?

is it adultery to fool around with your own cousin – Aww.

wwii gerbils — My favorite kind of gerbil.

madame darkness sex

kardashian christmas portrait

fuck this shit I ll be – ? What? I’m on the edge of my seat.

wide eyed kitten

henry viii hat jewel – LHB has three.

ben franklin with sexy French madame

did Martha gellhorn had a great ass? – Did she?! Why yes, yes she did had.

what is a loving blowjay – A loving blowjay is the ONLY kind of blowjay. And don’t you forget it.

panties from the middle ages – You mean JAF’s panties? That’s very saucy!

does anyone talk about having sex with greta garbo

tranny mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen’s original sequel to “The Little Mermaid.” OF COURSE Disney ignored it. They just take stories and ruin them, it’s a shame, is what it is.

alexander hamilton 20 dollar bill

henry fucking the lady anne of cleves

hollister – Fuck you, it’s loud and dark in there and it smells like vanilla musk and preteen sweat (Mom said their clothes were too expensive).

michael fassbender fan mail – …all comes from the four of us. And all comes with a nudie photo.

esmeralda tambourine

protestant nake ladies

tweenage hookers – SLARG BARF. I hate the word “tweenage.”

tim riggins football – You asked for it…TEXAS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

anne bonny and mary read show thw boobs

victory vis a vis nelson – Ere go, nevertheless, notwithstanding, apropos to, SHUT UP this is AMERICA, et. al.

young madam provocation with panties

contracted penis – “Contracted” like “for hire?” If so, yes.

preteen boner mom

francois arnaud nude – YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES and for the love of Pope, YES, a thousand times, YES! [that was MRG, FYI]

jane seymour nudegirls

skanky children? – No? Why? Leave?

colonel sanders pimp – Well he was stylishly turned out, walked with a cane, and worked with breasts, so I guess that’s a fair analogy.

antinuous backside

shame fraulein greta

did ezra pound have a large penis

ve as fo sexi boning – I’m really not sure what’s happening here.

titanic hot kissing scene.gif — To whomever searched this term: If you found what you were looking for, will you please email it to us?

famous with psoriasis – Awww. Someone just wants to know they’re not alone. YOU’RE NOT ALONE, dermatologically challenged friend!

dress up games wife gils who or necid wif no pans on or bror games – Another brain teaser?! YOU GUYS! You know I’m no good at these!

lillie langtry schandaal – “Schandaal” sounds way too much like a mid-shelf brand of schnapps. As in, “YUM! Schandaal Peachtree Schnapps: use it to seduce preteens!” Yeah, I don’t like that.

best polaroid blow job picture site? http://www.historicalscandals.wordpress.com

self flagellation after masturbation

beethoven the dog still alive – In several straight-to-video sequels, and in our fucking hearts.