First, put this on in the background as you read.
Dear Readers, it’s the St. Valentine’s Day. The holiest day on MRG’s, LHB’s, and JAF’s respective sexually XpLizZiT calendars (KAB has the day off but it’s probably a big deal for her too). And listen, sometimes (most of the time?) you’re single on Vday. How can you possibly celebrate without a significant other?
Here at For Shame! we celebrate the west’s most gratuitous annual Hallmark-sponsored celebration of love by exercising our collective right to dedicate today’s post to some of our favorite ye olde eyecandy. There have been some beautiful men in history, sure, but each of us ladies keeps a special oil portrait or dageurreotype in the ol’ spank bank. Single, taken, or anywhere in between on this day of sexual (-scandal) thanksgiving, please enjoy the following miniposts concerning our historical ladyboners.
Indulge us — indulge yo’self — it’s February 14th after all.
MRG ♥ LEOPOLD I
I’m really into the Belgians. Their country is magical. It’s a fucking fairytale. If I went back I’m fairly certain would never leave. There are chocolates and french fries and waffles everywhere. And the best beer. And their MEN, holy crow. Did you guys see their Olympic team? London 2012 was essentially a 19-day ladyboner for me. Suffice it to say that if I have a type, it’s a swarthy Belgian man with chocolate breath. And I guess it’s a culturally interesting place because of the history and the architecture and the medieval art, but more importantly, hot Flemish guys sensually feeding me waffles. Specifically, Leopold I sensually feeding me waffles.
Leopold I was the founder of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and the first king of the Belgians. He was a military guy who climbed all the way to the top and made himself a royal. He was also THE HOTTEST HOT HISTORICAL GUY IN ALL HISTORY. JAF and LHB will beg to differ below, but don’t let them hoodwink you. Don’t. Instead, look upon this painting and know my truth:
UNH, na na na-na. If you’re a lady, your ovaries feel that painting. But a Real Lady needs more than a pompadour, some delicious sideburns, and a pair of jaunty epaulets to form a true historical crush (but those epaulets are so, so right).
He’s objectively hot, sure. But the roots of this ladyboner run fucking deep. Prepare yourself for a poignant-ass narrative:
When he was still a poor soldier, Leopold fell in love with Princess Charlotte of England. She’d previously been forced to live in isolation in a big cold palace and had a few truly shitty suitors thrust (sorry) upon her by her crazy dad. And her crazy dad didn’t want them to get married. And they were So Crazy In Love that they got married anyway. You’re imagining making out with those sideburns right now. And eventually her dad said Leo “had every qualification to make a woman happy.” And Charlotte wrote one of her girlfriends and called him “the perfection of a lover.” Now you’re thinking about unbuttoning Leo’s pantaloons. And when she died in childbirth the year after they got married he was so devastated that he just kept on living in England. And was often seen walking around and around a park holding a miniature portait of her. And Leopold didn’t get married again for another 12 years, which is 84 years in Hot Euro Royal time. And Leopold arranged the undisputed #1 most beautiful and loving royal marriage of all times. And his face. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd LADYBONER ACHIEVED. HAPPY LEOTINE’S DAY, Y’ALL.
JAF ♥ ARTHUR RIMBAUD
Fuck you, Arthur Rimbaud. Fuck you. You were the biggest craphole in the 19th century Parisian literary scene, and that’s a scene full of some pretty big crapholes. You grabbed onto Paul Verlaine’s heart, ripped it beating from his chest, shot it full of booze, poetry and LIKESOMUCH sex, then threw it on the picturesquely cobbled street of life and stomped on it with your terribly infantile heel, leaving him to the hounds of homophobic gossip (and his wife). After he shot you (as damn well deserved), you traipsed off to exotic locals to stick your Surrealist Prefiguring Penis in some Oriental Other Vagina and spend your days swaddled in the warm embrace of equatorial heat and a living Ingres painting. You died of
fatally inflated self satisfaction cancer at 37, leaving your indelibly brilliant and dickish fingerprint on not simply modern poetry, but literature, art, and even music. You knew you were God’s gift to humanity and rakishly attractive ill-hygeine, and you rode that shameless train down the decades into the hearts and poons of impressionable young people such as myself, only to leave us the next morning with nothing more than an ache in our hearts and some paltry souvenirs to remind us of your young-DiCaprio perfection.
Your mind and you are my Sargasso Sea. Muse! I am your vassal. For you I would have burnt the topless towers of Ilium (or simply gone topless, whichever). We could have talked of Michelangelo in one-night cheap hotels–would none had ever loved but you and I, Artie! I am the lion stung, hunting you on your lonely walks, so be careful and maybe take a flashlight into that good night. I looked at you: you made me blind, you brightass star. “I is another” my ass–I’m eyeless at your mill with the slaves. I could gaze into your smug, tin-typed eyes all night long if I didn’t have miles of articles to go before I sleep. But such is life, I’ll get over you, I am the master of my fate, only through time time is conquered, we are never ever getting back together. Odi et amo, skeetguzzler. Now voyager sails forth to seek and find more ecocritical sources on Anglo-Saxon poetry.
Happy FuckYouArthurRimbaudNotReallyMarryMe Day.
LHB ♥ BILL TILDEN
“Big” Bill Tilden wasn’t called “Big” Bill Tilden because of his height. I think you know what I’m getting at here, people. It was because of his ginormous you-know-what. He had a monstrous instrument. A cumbersome whacker. And he used it admirably. I’m talking about his RACQUET, PEOPLE. Get your head out of the gutter.
Big Bill is known today as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. And most importantly, he looked good doing it. Playing tennis, I mean. But he probably looked good doing IT, too. And he played THE FIELD for a long time. He was in his, like 40s, when he retired. Which, to borrow MRG’s joke, is like really fuckin old in hot tennis star years.
But more importantly, he’s also one of the biggest historical losses for straight women everywhere. I’m sorry ladies: Big Bill was a Big Gay. But what was really great about him, is he wasn’t even shy about it. And it was the early 1900s where everyone was shy about everything. One could argue, however, that he was un-shy about it to a FAULT. And by that I mean that he may or may not have been arrested, convicted, and forced to SERVE 7 and a half years in prison for soliciting a 14 year old boy for sex, and then getting it on with him in a moving car.
Contrary to my usual writing style, this post is going to be short. Short, sweet, and French, like this guy. I’m not THAT interested in challenging myself, though. I got the idea for this one from some label information at a greatass museum. So much like a typical MRG post, it’s about an artist.
An artist who might have caught a social disease from his dad, HEYOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!1
Edouard Manet was a very well-known painter during the Belle Epoque, which is how you say “late-nineteenth century France” in Douchebagese (Pedantic dialect). He’s not Claude Monet, who worked in the same profession and lived in roughly the same place at roughly the same time using roughly the same letters. I know it’s confusing. Just think of it this way: Monet painted a lot of water and landscapes. Manet painted a lot of hookers and naked hookers.
But like, A LOT of naked hookers. His most famous painting is this one, Le dejeneur sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass):
If you ever spent time in an art history survey class, you’ve seen this before. If you haven’t, congratulations, you’ve already made better life choices than I have. Also I think I mentioned it in a prior post before, too. In any case, this little guy CHANGED THE MOTHERFUCKING GAME when it came to 2D representational art. Why? Because NAKED LADIES, CLOTHED DUDES. The entire subtext of this painting is “firecracker orgytime jamboree.” And Manet presented it in the salon, which was otherwise full of traditional portraits and landscapes, as though to say, “You’re welcome for the innovation, peasants,” thereby causing much pearl-clutching.
Now I’m sure you’ve ignored the little history lesson above (it was little, wasn’t it? I’m doing a really good job with this whole concision bag) (maybe the parenthetical bragging isn’t helping though) (WHATEVER, IMMA DO ME) and instead are thinking, “NAKED LADY. BOOBS. WHO IS THE NAKED LADY?”
Well I’m so glad you asked.
As per Manet’s general business plan, a cheap, naked hooker sat for this painting. But you know who else did? MRS. SUZANNE MANET.
Specifically, she sat for the face part. So Manet purposely put the head of his seemingly well-respected and virtuous wife on the body of a sexworker. And I think it’s safe to presume that Suzie was way into it, because it wouldn’t have been unusual for Ed to just use a whole hooker rather than a Franken-hooker. And also Suzie Manet was actually a slorebag.
It all started in 1851, when Suzanne Leenhoff, a musical prodigy, left her hometown of Delft with dreams of making it in the big city (and also hopefully with a knapsack full of urns from home, because that shit is PRECIOU$$$). Before she got very far with that whole “independent hopes and dreams” thing, though, the affluent Manet family hired her to teach their teenage sons (Ed and some other kid who is inconsequential for us right now) how to play piano.
Mommy Manet let this happen despite these sundry facts:
– Suzie was 22 and in the bloom of womanhood
– Suzie was Eastern European
– Suzie was hired help (and we all know how that goes)
– Ed was 19
– 19 year-old boys are horny
– 19 year-old FRENCH boys are the horniest
– Daddy (Auguste) Manet was a gross older French dude
– Gross older French dudes are assuredly, decidedly, definitely down to fuck
Remember how Suzie was hired in 1851? She gave birth to an illegitimate son in 1852. Attagirl.
Leon Leenhoff was definitely 1/2 Manet, but as Suzie routinely fucked both Auguste and Edward from the get go, she had no idea who little LL’s daddy was. Ed painted his maybe-son holding a giant weapon of war in this painting here, as one does.
And here’s the best part: Auguste Manet was hella syphlitic around this time. Ed Manet became moderately syphlitic soon after. Don’t have to be a mathematician to see that x + y = EW EW EW MANET GOT SYPHILIS FROM HIS DAD VIA THEIR MUTUAL SLAMPIECE EW.
Wait, here’s another good part: Suzie moved in with Ed and they lived in sin together not long after Lil LL Cool Manet™ was born, but she maybe probably continued to go to Funkytown with Auguste for like 10 more years.
Also, this is great: Ed finally married Suzie (which was kind of nice of him considering the typical fate of unwed mothers in this time) in 1863, only a year after Auguste’s death.
Suzie really ingratiated herself into the Belle Epoque art world, modeling for her husband and some of his painter friends (including Monet, which is CONFUSING. And did I mention Monet also painted a piece he called Le dejeneur sur l’herbe? Sort of makes you feel like they met at a cafe one afternoon, shared a mille-feuille, and drew up a plan to fuck with us, right?)
Anyways, Manet ended up being the most important figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism, probably because he was extremely sexually satisfied and therefore artistically motivated at all times. Here’s my favorite painting of his, because you asked:
So I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes a father and son have mutual interests like football, or the American Civil War, or building soapbox racers, or fucking 22 year-old ladies, and sometimes sharing those interests is okay? Sometimes its okay for a father and son to share things like a vagina or a kid’s DNA or a dick disease? Sometimes it’s okay to be your own grandpa? Sure, any one of those.
Artists: they’re just like us.
You know what, you guys were really good today. I know you’re tired of French painters and you barely complained about this one. I’ll treat you to another Franken-hooker. You deserve it: