FOR SHAMERS! I have not posted in a while, but that does not mean this blog isn’t perpetually smoldering in the dark, perverse corners of my mind. For example, only yesterday I was all over my Twitter feed like Woolf on Sackville when I came across this article about EROTIC POETRY published online by The Guardian.
Turns out it’s part of a series by Billy Mills that highlights specific topics in poetry and encourages readers to write their own. Previous topics include religion, chocolate, just about every month of the year, and Poverty. Why it took so long for Mr. Mills to land on EROTICA, I just cannot tell you.
My favorite poem that the article mentions is this anonymous excerpt written in Sanskrit probably sometime around 0 – 1000 AD (large range, I realize):
I like sleeping with somebody different often it's nicest when my husband is in a foreign country, and there's rain in the streets at night and wind and nobody
I could snap all day long to that bit of wisdom. But the article is full of little gems like that, so read away! If you’re in the office, you might want to pull the blinds.
And, if you’re so inclined, write an erotic poem yourself! Don’t be embarrassed. We all want to try. Here, I’ll go first:
You turn the lights off
I take my tights off
We both say let’s get off
And ooh, baby, ooh
We totally do
All right, all of you History Buffs (or History Lightweights, as I might call myself). You probably already know about Catherine the Great.
Tsarina CZARina of Russia, rebellion smiter, border-expander, general ass-tamer. She was one of what those History Weaklings might call THE ENLIGHTENED DESPOTS, a.k.a. monarchs who throw money at people like Voltaire and then ignore hordes of starving serfs.
BESIDES THE POINT. Catherine is known for more than taming the asses of rebellious Cossacks. She also tamed the asses of numerous (indeed, innumerable) Russian lovers.
Let’s get a few things straight. First of all, Catherine wasn’t even Russian. She was Prussian (/German). Frederick the Great made an alliance with the Czarina of Russia, Elizabeth, by wedding Catherine to her son Peter III, a deal that I reimagine going down in a series of text messages:
- Freddy: yo lizzie i got a sweet piece of german ass 4 ur boi. u down?
- Lizzie: omg ship that shit overnite pls. kisses~
Catherine visited Russia and completely transformed herself to win the Czarina’s favor. She changed her name (from Sophie to Ekaterina) and converted to Russian Orthodoxy. Czarina Elizabeth fell in LOVE with this girl, but her son (a.k.a. the guy who was supposed to marry her) was not digging her so much. But believe me, the feeling was mutual.
Catherine, predictably, ends up marrying Peter and living in Russia. Predictably, Peter proceeds to the throne as Czar when Elizabeth kicks the bucket. Perhaps predictably, he makes about as good of a king as he would a porn star. After only five months of rule, Peter III is removed from the throne and supposedly assassinated, a conspiracy which may have involved Catherine.
Either way, Catherine proceeds to the throne without so much as batting an eyelash. Her marriage produced one son, Paul, and sources aren’t even positive that he was a legitimate heir to the throne. (Seriously, BBC and Biography cannot agree on this topic. The History Channel basically admits they have no fucking clue.)
The reason people are hesitant to claim that Catherine’s offspring are legitimate is because she was the Russian court horse. Anybody that she deemed worthy took a ride. Although, contrary to the popular myth, Catherine DID NOT die attempting intercourse with a horse. Let’s just straighten this out here and now: Catherine was a decent woman. An extremely horny, but decent woman.
Catherine embraced her unwritten regal right to bang whoever she wanted whenever she wanted. She entertained two lovers before she was even crowned Czarina: military officer Sergei Soltykov and Stanislaus Poniatowski. These are the rest of her KNOWN lovers:
- Gregory Orlov – A military commander, he helped her to the throne and she promoted him to Count. Makes you wonder who was on top in the bedroom.
- Gregory Potemkin – A brutish military type, he continued to be friends with Catherine after their affair died out. He actually helped search for future lovers, who would sleep with Catherine’s ladies in waiting before receiving the stamp of approval to enter the Czarina’s boudoir.
- Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov – Keep your pants on; it’s not the composer. Their affair was short-lived. Catherine found out he was also banging one of her BFFs, so she had the two of them ousted from court. #sorrynotsorry
- Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov – I really think this guy’s face looks weird, but apparently he spoke French and that did the trick for Catherine. This guy fell in love with one of her chambermaids. I guess Catherine didn’t really give a shit this time around, and let the two of them get married.
- Vladimir Putin – JOKES ON JOKES.
- Alexander Lanskoy – He was 21 and Catherine 50 when they started their affair. Apparently he wasn’t interested in the titles or favors that Catherine often bestowed on her lovers. Finally, a man who only wants a woman for her body. Unfortunately, he died four years later of diphtheria.
- Ivan Shuvalov – Shuvalov was the Minister of Education at the time, and used his post-coital sweet talk wisely: Catherine helped him establish the first university in Russia, Moscow University, and an academy in St. Petersburg that was open to the children of peasants. Aw. I bet he liked spooning.
- Platon Zubov – He was only 22 when he got in the bag with Catherine, but he milked their relationship for all it was worth. When she died, he was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Russia.
I could go on to talk about her issues with the clergy, her alliances with Prussia and France, the splitting up of Poland… But instead I’m going to post this picture of a young Catherine with a unicorn for LHB.
С Новым годом!
Let’s be honest: Not all of us have good taste. But — thank God and natural selection — there are people that have fantastic taste who keep the world spinning round. And keep people like me from jumping off of a bridge.
One of those people was Misia Sert.
Imagine if Hilary Clinton were a sex-bomb who had several husbands, lovers, experimental friendships, and a drug addiction. And supreme sway over high culture, art, and aesthetic opinion.
That was Misia Sert. Or maybe she was more like Beyoncé with Anna Wintour, and a hint of Gaga.
Whatever. There is no combination that can add up to the biggest baddest slice o’ ass that was MISIA SERT.
Listen. This is how I spend my free time. I saw that the Musée d’Orsay was having a special exhibit on Misia Sert and I wanted to know why I didn’t know who Misia Sert was. Because I know everything about everyone.
Turns out I don’t know anyone and Misia Sert knew EVERYONE. She probably knew me before I was even born. Probably not, because she infamously only gave you the time of day if you were incredibly gifted. Aka, if you didn’t matter, she did not give a single fuck.
Let me give you an idea of the people Misia liked to chill with: Chanel, Debussy, Diagheliv, Stravinsky, Monet, Proust, Renoir, Redon, Mallarmé, Toulouse-Lautrec, the list goes on. (SPOILER ALERT: She most likely slept with about half of them. The other half fantasized.)
Misia was born on March 30, 1872. I just spent five minutes googling what the hell happened in 1872 only to decide the most important thing was probably that this bitch was brought into the world. Her mother died in childbirth (sad) and her Dad sent her away to live with relatives, and then sent her to a convent boarding school.
Sidenote: Misia’s mother was traveling to surprise her father when she found him living with his mistress, right before she died giving birth. What a dick. (I know, double standard, Misia is a bad-ass if she has extra-marital affairs and her dad is a douche. I don’t pretend to be unbiased here.)
Also, when she was living with her grandparents in Brussels, their close family friend was Liszt. Remember that guy? So now you understand the kind of bar that was set for Misia at a young age.
Skip ahead to Misia’s 21st year on the earth. She decides to marry her cousin (maybe after taking 21 shots? who knows). His name was Thadée Natanson. With this marriage she started a trend of, as this rather eloquent book review put it, taking husbands rather than lovers. Marriage is the new one-night stand. What a trendsetter.
Thadée ran La revue blanche with his brothers, which was more or less The Paris Review of the day. It also gave her an excuse to throw swanky parties and socialize with the who’s who – schmooze and talk about art, make multi-colored mixed drinks (bartended by Toulouse-Lautrec), experiment with drugs, and pass the fuck out. Misia once had a party in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Girl knew how to have a good time.
So shit got a little fucked, as shit is bound to do. Thadée needed some moolah to run his little literary operation, and Alfred Edwards — a big name in the paper biz — gave him the money under one condition: He got some one-on-one time with Miss Misia. GROSS. Reminds me of this last season of Mad Men, for all y’all who know what I’m sayin’.
Misia ends up MARRYING Edwards (VOMIT) but it’s okay because he’s filthy rich and she continues to be trendy, famous, and the adored subject of painting and poetry at the time. I guess Renoir was desperate to paint her topless, but she wouldn’t let him because her husband was in the next room. Respect.
SO Edwards ended up cheating on Misia (saw that one coming) and Misia doesn’t put up with dat kinda bullsheeeeet so she peaced and shortly after married the prominent Spanish painter José-Maria Sert. Although she was quoted saying that Sert was the only man to truly please her in the boudoir, their marriage was a bit of a mess (a tumultuous relationship with a Spaniard? stop it).
I will say that this specific tumult was kinda kinky. Sert was involved with a member of the Russian Mdivani family, Princess Isabelle Roussadana Mdivana, or “Roussy.” And we all know what rhymes with Roussy. Anyhow, Misia got a little pissy, and then — either out of a desire for revenge or out of sheer curiosity — she decides to take a ride on the Roussy wagon too. Before you know it (and we knew it), Roussy, Misia, and Sert had a little ménage á trois going on.
A little bit later (this is an abridged history, okay?) Misia strikes up a close friendship with none other than COCO FUCKING CHANEL. Supposedly they were only super good friends that shared their emotions and got drunk and fucked up, but who believes that really.
Maybe real historians, but I guess what I’m getting at is I’m not a real historian.
MORAL: Improve your social life. Fast. To feel better about yourself.
Let me tell you a story about a hot bitch who killed Nazis.
Enter Miss Nancy Augusta Wake (initials NAW, as in ‘NAW, man, I only chase my whiskey with the sweet whiff of French countryside littered with rotting Nazi corpses’). Nancy was born in New Zealand, aka birth place of this guy. She ran away from home at age 16 with
£200 in her pocket. To put that in perspective, that’s probably enough to buy 20 shots of tequila. Can you tell I’m writing this on a Saturday night with a Magic Hat in hand? You’re right, it’s Sunday morning. And it’s absinthe. (But actually it’s just Magic Hat.)
Not that Nancy had time to check out the club scenes in NYC or Paris (where she traveled, on her own, by the way) (16, remember) because she was training herself to be a journalist. This chick was fucking Lois Lane by the time she was 18, but not really because if she met Superman she probably would have told him to suck his own cock if he was so damn super.
ANYHOW. Nancy gets hitched. Boring. Whatever, he was an industrialist, it was probably only for political leverage.
Shit got real a year later when the French front fell re that whole WWII debacle. My girl Nancy was not pleased, and joined the French Resistance as a courier (aka a sneaky mothafucka). She worked the escape network, and used a flat as a hiding place, which she OSTENSIBLY used as a secret rendezvous for a lover.
So that idea had the Nazis a little distracted with wet dreams. She got the Gestapo’s panties in a bunch more than once, and they started to call her The White Mouse.
Three years later, she was the Gestapo’s most wanted (IN BED) person and there was a 5-million franc reward on her head. To put that in perspective, that’s probably enough to buy 2.5 million shots of tequila. Roughly. Inflation and all that economic shit makes it difficult to say for sure but you get the idea.
“A little powder and a little drink on the way, and I’d pass their (German) posts and wink and say, ‘Do you want to search me?’ God, what a flirtatious little bastard I was.”
She fucking said that. Girl WINKED at NAZIS.
So her husband is captured and killed (sad, I guess) but Nancy is resilient like a good pair of heels on a Saturday night and KEPT ON KEEPIN’ ON. She booked it on over to Britain where she joined the Special Operations Executive (can’t you just hear Judi Dench’s voice saying that? I can). The SOE trained her (didn’t last long before they realized she was a ninja fox) and then parachuted her into France. The following exchange was said to happen when she landed in a tree in Franzia (france, sorry, what):
French asshole: I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year.
Nancy: Don’t give me that French shit.
During her time in France, Nancy committed the following bad-asseries:
- Led attacks on the Gestapo headquarters.
- Killed a German sentry with her bare hands.
- Biked over 500 miles in under 72 hours to find a radio operator. To put that in perspective, that’s… much more than I could bike after five tequila shots.
- Killed a girl accused to be a German spy when none of her men would do it.
I’m sorry but that’s pretty damn impressive when I think about what I did in France, which was buy a cheap beret, eat profiteroles, and stare at statues of naked dudes in the Louvre.
Post-war, a bunch of kiss-ass suckers were throwin’ medals at her like dolla dolla bills and Nancy was like:
“I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts.“
Okay but WHY, you might ask, when so many French/British/Germans(probably) were clamoring to capture the white mouse (IN BED) did she not take advantage of some steamy post-battle sexy time???
“I was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements.”
She fucking said that.
“But you see, if I had accommodated one man, the word would have spread around, and I would have had to accommodate the whole damn lot!”
She was a BOMBSHELL SPY and did not have time for a little behind-the-barracks blowie?? Now that, my friends, is scandalous.
Friends, Americans, Countrymen, welcome to For Shame! Ruins Your Childhood: PART DEUX!
A quick preface: This is my first official blog post as the newest addition to the For Shame! historic and scandalous enterprise. I only pray to God & country that I can measure up to my marvelous colleagues. It was an honor to receive an invitation to join the team. What the fuck am I saying. When I found out I basically red, white, and BLUE myself. On that note…
JM Barrie, playwright of the beloved Peter Pan, may have touched the lives of millions of children, but he also may have actually touched children. There is no HARD evidence (get it?) to prove this. I will say that the name of Barrie’s imaginative realm Neverland was used by a certain suspected pedophile for his magical fortress of fondling and nap times.
I’m sorry, was that coming on too strong for you? Maybe you should toss some bourbon in your tea and man the fuck up because
THIS POST HAS JUST BEEN BOSTON TEA PARTY-ED.
That’s all there is to say about Mr. Barrie (except this) and since it is July 4th I’m pretty sure talking extensively about a Brit is considered blasphemy and my forefathers would look down upon me and shout FOR SHAME.
HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! So 236 years ago (and you are looking FOINE for your age) your mother dearest (aka MILF) was pushing you out of the womb with a Declaration of Independence. The labor was more or less painful than yours truly pushing this debut blog post out. The pressure!! Whatever. Like declaring independence was hard.
But you know what was hard? Childhood. You know what made childhood easier?
Wonder Balls Children’s books. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, ima let you finish, but you know what was the best children’s book of all time? GOODNIGHT MOON.
Margaret, or “Brownie” to her friends––who were generally cool and rich because she was a babe––grew up in a bit of an unhappy home. Mom and Pop were not happy bunny parents knitting on rocking chairs, but poor Brownie just wanted to be a little happy bunny baby eating porridge with bunny parents that read her bed time stories.
I just need to take a second and say that Brownie a) was considered a creative genius by her contemporaries and b) was so prolific that she had to write under various different pen names, including Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Kaintuck Brown and Timothy Hay, to keep from flooding the market. Amurica’s got talent.
So like the smart Brownie she was, she headed off to college to earn a BA in English. In college she was briefly engaged. You know, shit happens in college. One-night stands, frat-house-basement blowies, marriage proposals.
After that brief engagement turned out to be brief, she dated some unknown “good quiet man from Virginia” for a while. Brownie kept it classy and didn’t want the whole world to know who SHE was saying goodnight to in the bedroom. But with that description I think I have a pretty good idea of who Brownie was boning.
Since that relationship was a little overdone (brownie? baking? whatever) she quickly moved on to William Gaston, a fucking nobody because he WAS NOT the Gaston that no one’s slick as, quick as, fucks like, etc. Ditched that wannabe-French-ass-shit.
Brownie even jumped en el sack-o with THE PRINCE OF SPAIN (the now King Juan Carlos), and I’m sure our little American pastry was having some buenas noches, ifyaknowhatimean.
But I think the real scandal sets in when Brownie sneaks under the covers with Michael Strange, aka Blanche Oelrichs. HOLD UP. You may be asking: Michael or Blanche? Man or woman? That is such a good question to ask of your blog. Now let the blog ask one of you: Does it even matter?
Okay, yes, it does, because it was 1940 and lesbianism was SCANDALOUS and STEAMY. Blanche was a woman who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Strange, and was a poet/playwright/actress/”the most beautiful woman in America”. Other than Lady Liberty. Or Eleanor Roosevelt. Obvs.
Get the low-down on this ho(-down?). Blanche (can I just call her Blondie? Like the white version of a Brownie? okay thanks) first married Leonard Moorhead Thomas, the son of a prominent Philadelphia banker. Then had an affair with the actor John Barrymore, divorced Leonard, and married John. Then she divorced John. Then she married prominent NY attorney Harrison Tweed. And THEN she had an affair with Margaret Wise Brown. (Divorcing Harrison, of course, after the fact).
PHEW I feel like I just shotgunned an ice-cold can of American adultery! FROTHY.
Brownie and Blondie were just friends at first. They read one another’s shit and gave thoughtful constructive criticism while flashing a bit of cleave on the side. Did I mention that Blondie was 20 years Brownie’s senior? It would be suspect if all of America’s greatest couples weren’t separated by a decade (or two and a half).
The delectable couple moved in together in an apartment in NYC. Just two forward-thinking writer babes fornicating in the Big Apple. NO BIGGIE. But Blondie died in 1950, leaving Brownie all alone in such a big world with so many things to say goodnight to––what’s a girl to do!?!?
BONE A ROCKEFELLER, THAT’S WHAT’S UP. Brownie meets James Stillman ‘Pebble’ Rockefeller Jr. at some swanky party, and shortly after the two become engaged. Now isn’t that sweet as apple pie.
But things take a tragic turn, children. After an emergency surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, things all seemed yankee-friggin-doodle dandy for Brownie. She goes to the doctor for a check-up, does a can-can kick to demonstrate just how dandy she feels, and then dislodges a blood clot in her leg, which then travels to her heart. She dies at age 42.
That’s a bit of a downer. So instead of lingering on death and other entirely un-American thoughts, let us CELEBRATE the life of a fire-cracker of a gal who treated men and women equally and liberally, and had no problem with pursuing happiness in whatever form (American, Spanish, fake-French) it took. AND LOOK AT THIS CUTE PICTURE OF HER WITH A DOG.