If you read the State of the Bloggers LHB so eloquently delivered to our little Internet fiefdom earlier this week, you might remember that lately I’ve been “screwing up [her] Netflix algorithms by watching BBC costume dramas from 30 years ago.” This is only partly true, LHB. I know you’re referring to when I watched the lush and lustful 1985 A Room with a View three times in two days recently on our ‘Flix account. I say to you, LHB, that you are erroneous on TWO COUNTS:
1. I’m no scientist, but it seems to me that 2014 minus 1985 equals 29 years, not the 30 years you alleged. Hyperbole! J’ACCUSE!
2. That shit is 100% prime Merchant Ivory melodrama and you know it. BBC can’t even begin to think about touching this (especially after what ITV did to it in 2007 amiright).
I won! Let’s celebrate by learning about a closeted British dude, shall we?
So that aforementioned A+ period drama (which stars a pre-Longbottom Bellatrix Lestrange and a post-Emancipation Proclamation Abe Lincoln and the Dames Superior Maggie and Judi) is AMAZING AND YOU SHOULD WATCH IT. If you don’t believe me, maybe the words “full-frontal,” “hot,” “Brit dudes,” and “skinny-dipping” will change your tune (for the sake of clarity, there is a full-frontal skinny dipping scene featuring hot Brit dudes). Also it’s based on a book, or whatever.
Upon my third viewing, I decided to reread said whateverbook (which is artfully plotted and really very sumptuous and affecting and all that good shit) for the first time since I was like 15 and even more susceptible to novel-induced ladyboners than I am now. And I got to wondering about the mind behind the ladyboners. And then I did some Googling. And here we are.
A Room with a View was written in 1908 by a Welsh-Irish Brit-mutt by the name of Edward Morgan “E.M.” Forster, who was coincidentally GAYER than SLEIGH BELLS. A Room with A View is about conflict between the self and the environment, English primness and continental earthiness, the spiritual and the material. Mostly, though, it’s a big ol’ 200-page metaphor for doing it.
In need of a short, sweet summary? Happy to oblige: Our heroine Lucy Honeychurch (we can all agree this is one of the better fictional names of all time) meets a young, eccentric dish named George Emerson while Under the Tuscan Sun with a bunch of super old British people. George is muscular and blond and makes Lucy feel tingly in her bathing suit places. They spend a lot of time looking at each other meaningfully under the duress of heat and passion and pasta that is Italy. While on a side trip in the country, George very suddenly, assertively, ardently grabs and makes out with Lucy in a dense and verdant meadow. She’s hella confused, because while it felt great, it is also Something That Is Just Not Done. Her chaperone aborts the trip and Lucy returns to Surrey and her pedantic, aesthete boyfriend. George and his dad move in down the road in an-almost-unbelievable-but-not-totally-dealbreaking plot contrivance. Our little filly spends a lot of pages pretending she hates George because society. He spends a lot of time saying things like “I love you” and “Fuck the man.” Eventually she comes around and decides to fuck the man (like in the social expectations sense) and later, after their wedding, fuck the man (like in the George sense). And she lives happily ever after because she lets her own feelings, and not the feelings of the stuffy, boring people around her, decide her fate.
E.M. Forster did a great fucking job exposing how hollow a culture is that asks people to deny themselves any and all pleasure in this novel. He did not do as great of a job in allowing himself any of these pleasures. (So sorry I’m using the word “pleasure” so much). Raised by a difficult and demanding mother, Ed managed to get to Cambridge, where met the Bloomsbury Group and was presumably exposed to real life non-straight relationships for the first time, because pretty much everyone in there was fucking everyone else regardless of gender. Except Ed, that is — he remained celibate until he was 38, but we’ll get there in a second.
Ed (who went by Morgan but I prefer Ed and it’s my blog) went on to write a string of truly groundbreaking and now-canonical novels between 1905 and 1924. Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Passage to India, A Room with A View of A Hot Muscular Blond Guy Skinnydipping, Howard’s End, Maurice. All pretty great. All about the condition of being English and uncomfortably fitting into the changing definition of Englishness in the age of imperialism and the rising middle class. Good. Cool. Cool cool cool.
Except Maurice is about a homosexual affair and was published posthumously in 1971. And, along with the discovery of Ed’s diary, which had been locked in a cabinet in his Cambridge dorm, confirmed his homosexuality. Scholars actually call this the “sex diary,” which is coincidentally what my mom called The Carrie Diaries once when I asked what she was watching.
Anyway, did I mention that upon completing A Passage to India in 1924, Ed, who lived until 1970, never published another novel? Once the sexy sex diaries became available, a few Forsterites did some cross-referencing and realized that the start of his decline in work nicely coincided with his 38th year. The year in which he finally allowed himself to bone and be boned in return, if you’ll recall.
At the end of World War I, Ed was working for the Red Cross in Egypt. You know how it goes — a hot, young Egyptian soldier stumbles into your tent with a war wound, you press gauze into his golden flesh, you share a lingering look just as his eyes glaze over from the chloroform. Next thing you know, you’re doing it on a beach. Well, that’s what happened to Ed, anyway. In his sexy sex diary, he only refers to the event as “losing R,” with “R” meaning “respectability.” Sad.
But not too sad! Because after that, Ed had a few flings with dudes! And turns out Ed and I share a proclivity for men in uniform, as he preferred to get fancy with sailors and policemen. In one sexy sex diary entry, he even said “I want to love a strong young man of the lower classes and be loved by him and even hurt by him.” Can’t fault a man (or ladyblogger) for that, ya feel? In fact, Bob Buckingham, a London police officer, became the love of Ed’s life. Which I would be much more effusive about were it not for the fact that Bob was married and homosexuality was still illegal so dating the fuzz was kind of a risky business. Also Ed was 51 to Bob’s 28, which is fine but maybe not ideal from a relationship stability standpoint. Lots of fancy people suggest that Ed lost interest in writing because the marriage plot ceased to have any real truth or catharsis for Ed once he’d fully embraced his sexual identity. I mean why write shit you don’t care about, right? Right.
At any rate, Ed and Bob really beat the odds and lived happily together until Ed’s death in 1970. There was the problem of Bob’s wife and son, of course, but Ed fixed that right up by buying a nice county house in Coventry where they could all cohabitate in a living situation that I imagine some network somewhere is optioning into the world’s next shitty sitcom. By all accounts, Ed and the Buckinghams (the shitty sitcom will be called Buckingham’s Palace, obviously) got on famously, probably especially due to the fact that he paid all the bills and even put them in his will.
Though Ed’s story seems to end much, much more happily than it began, he was as acutely aware in life as he was in his novels that society’s expectations can really yuck your yum. When he was 84 and about to die, he wrote “How annoyed I am with society for wasting my time by making homosexuality criminal. The subterfuges, the self-consciousness that might have been avoided!” Nuts. Double nuts, when you consider how hard it must have been to write li’l Lucy’s sexual and social awakening so motherfucking well, knowing you’d never get to experience the same liberation yourself.
But he did get to write a deliciously homoerotic skinny-dipping scene and call it Literature, so glass half full, y’all!
*(Sorry about the wordplay in the title; I know it’s kind of Forst) (NAILED IT).
MRG here. WELCOME TO PART TWO OF SIBLINGS WEEK!!!!!!!!!1 Below you’ll find a post by my little sister AMG, who studies linguistics at a small East Coast liberal arts college and has been my parents’ favorite child for about the last 17 years or so but I Am Not Bitter About It. Ours is a relationship largely built on Harry Potter, Leslie Knope, and pizza, though, so naturally we’re ride or die bitches. We’ve got a lot in common, so I kind of can’t believe it took two and a half blogyears (that’s 18.5 in people years) for me to realize an AMG post would be a pretty great addition to the For Shame! canon. And thus, Sibling Week was born. And it was good. (Unless you don’t think she’s good in which case it wasn’t my idea it was LHB’s). Take it away, AMG! And don’t mess up my blog. Seriously. I’ll tell Mom.
“Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”
I know that title pun was weak, and I’m not proud, but in my defense, as soon as I started explaining Margaret Mead’s scandalous life story to my equally smart and sometimes slightly cooler older sister MRG she said “You should call the post Margaret Meat. It would be funny”, and, when I continued talking, she quietly repeated “Margaret Meat” and laughed a little at her own joke. With the best-case scenario pun gone, I didn’t have much to work with.
Margaret Mead is best known for Coming of Age in Samoa, the book made from her PhD research. Coincidentally, and I may be derailing a little here, this is only one letter off from my sitcom idea about a troop of college girls who are still involved in Scout life (Coming of Age in Samoas) which I had to scrap when Samoas were renamed ‘Caramel deLites’.
Anyway, I get why Coming of Age in Samoa is so important. It’s about a culture that’s pretty much the opposite of old-timey (and present-timey) USA, and it really delved into sexuality and the sturm und drang of adolescence and all that other stuff the kids are into. Also, a teen who was disappointed with a punishment or even just a rule from his or her parents could just move into a cool uncle’s house or something and no one would care, rendering my favorite courtroom drama completely obsolete. I get why that’s worth the attention and all, but I just think that Margaret Mead’s scandalous-for-the-1900s-book shouldn’t take away from her scandalous-for-the-1900s self.
Now, give me a second to set the stage for the beginning of Margaret Mead’s scandalous life. In 1923, M&M got married to her high school/college boy-next-door sweetheart Luther Cressman. Very quickly, I want you to remember that 1923 is three years after 1920, the year when Congress finally decided that our womanly hands are capable of gripping pens long enough to check off a ballot for voting.
Memory refreshed? Good. Because that will make it a lot more significant that she kept her own last name. Then again, this is the woman whose parents nicknamed her ‘Punk’.
Anyway, our girl Punk didn’t so much care for wifely duties, so she went off to Samoa to become one of, if I’m using the internet correctly, less than 15 female holders of anthro PhDs. Meanwhile, Cressman awkwardly sat at home until he eventually decided ‘screw it, I’m going to Hogwarts to reevaluate my decision to become a preacher’. (Fun fact: he eventually became ‘the father of Oregon anthropology’. Follow-up fun fact: Oregon anthropology is a thing). Already separated by the Atlantic Ocean, the couple decided to make it official and divorced in 1928. The split could probably be attributed to how Samoa ‘changed her’ or her inability to refuse to respect his space like a normal wife, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was maybe because of the prolonged affair she’d had with beautiful douchebag linguist Edward Sapir before she left to do her thesis?
I think it’s probably one of those, but my only real experience with ‘marriage’ and ‘relationships’ is reading Sister of the Bride in fifth grade. I mean, it could definitely be the affair thing, because I can see how your wife sleeping with her professor could be a bit damaging to one’s self-esteem. I can also see how it could be demeaning if that guy uses such eloquent language as “son-of-a-bitchiest” to describe the languages he studies for his job because he is a linguist who couldn’t think of a better descriptive word and also broke up with your wife by sending her a letter that pretty much just said ‘so now I’m married to a nice traditional woman who doesn’t make me think stuff UGH what a drag’. And it would also maybe be kind of bad if you heard that your wife, after reading the letter, calmly stood up, facing the scintillating, iridescent sunset bouncing off of Samoa’s beautiful waves, folded the letter over, and then calmly BURNED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT DEAR JOHN EPISTLE LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS, maybe you’d think to yourself, ‘Hm. Was she into that guy? Wait. Is that… bad for our marriage? Hmmmmmmmm.’
But really, who am I to speculate. Our girl Punk held that it was only natural that their union would fall apart, since they were married so young (She was married at 22. In 1923). She tended to refer to it as her ‘student marriage’ in a flippant, Daisy Buchanan-esque way. Cressman’s response to that moniker was to shout ‘You BITCH I LOVED YOU!’ while crying into the tub of ice cream he was eating in an attempt to make the pain go away, probably, maybe.
Margaret Mead waited the appropriate amount of time after divorce to get married again, which is to say she waited a Kardashian marriage‘s worth of time. The next lucky man who got to put a ring on it was the absurdly named ‘Reo Fortune’. He was an intelligent, brooding anthropologist from the Canada of Australia, so I’m about 95% certain that he was actually the love interest in a craptastic YA novel about some mysterious supernatural creature that young girls should not want to date.
They got along pretty well for a while; they even did field research together (anthropology dates! 2cute2deal). Of course, then Reo Fortune (seriously this is a name that could only be bestowed by a truly terrible writer I can’t get over it) decided to be the worst. They were studying the Mountain Arapesh in New Guinea – yeah, I don’t know who they are either, just go with it – and Mead observed and presented that these people were very peaceful- almost war-free. Then, without saying anything to his smart, powerful wife, Reo Fortune decided to wait a year and then tell everyone that actually, his research said that there was war all up in the Mountain Arapesh’s lives. Margaret Mead’s response was probably the classic ‘Yeah? Well my research says you’re a little bitch’ and then bam, divorce. This particular marriage lasted six years – one more than the last time! But there was so little Punk for such high demand – it was Maggie’s God-given duty to keep her marriage game strong. So, not wanting to keep anyone waiting, she married the one and only Gregory Batesman a bit more than a year after brushing Reo’s salty attitude off her shoulder.
Like most fantasy boyfriends, Gregory Batesman was a British man with a dark past – both of his brothers were dead by the mid-20s, one from World War I and the other from public suicide. This meant that proclaimed geneticist William Bateson, Gregory’s father, got to put all of his hopes and ambitions that he was unable to fulfill himself onto one person. Whatever those dreams were, Gregory probably fulfilled them – he got a degree in biology, lectured on linguistics, and practiced anthropology and cybernetics. I don’t even know what cybernetics is, and I paid attention in science class. So let’s just do a quick recap: tortured past, a doctor, British, highly interested in the ways of other cultures, hella genius, travelling with a woman who’s a bit out of place for her time, and really weird fashion sense…
I’m not saying he’s the Doctor, but I’m not not saying he’s the Doctor.
Anyway, he was Margaret Mead’s favorite husband, hands-down. She openly acknowledged that she loved him the most, which makes sense because Time Lords have double the amount of heart to love with. They had a beautiful genius baby together –Mary Catherine – and stayed together for fourteen years. However, Batesman made the decision to separate from her, which I will attribute to the TARDIS calling her Doctor home and if you give me any evidence to the contrary I will hum the Doctor Who theme as loud as is humanly possible. Mead was heartbroken, and stayed friends with him despite the fact that she was still in love with him, which is really sad and hurts me right in my heart bone.
I know what you’re thinking. ‘This can’t be right! When you catch a beautiful peacock like that, you don’t let her fly away!’ Well, my friend, sometimes you have to let your exotic pets free into the wild. One of those times is when that beautiful peacock has been having lesbian sex with another peacock.
Ruth Benedict was another anthropology professor Mead had studied under at Columbia (Oh hey, if I add ‘if you know what I mean’ to the end of that, it’s a pun! What a novel discovery). Clearly, our Punk had a type, and that type was ‘anthropology’, proving that really her only mistress was science.
Of course, Ruth Benedict’s sexual relationship with Mead was more implied than anything, but it was implied by Mead’s own daughter in a memoir, which is more or less conclusive. Furthermore, this wasn’t her only implied relationship with a beautiful, cultured anthropological mistress. Five years after her final divorce, Mead moved in with Rhoda Metraux while they had a ‘professional collaboration’.
hint: it was sex. Sex was the collaboration. Margaret had found something other than just anthropology to fill the hole Gregory left behind, and that little something’s name was Rhoda. Oh, by the way, MRG, remember when I was four and you told me Rhoda wasn’t a real name? Because I remember it, no matter how much you tell me that’s not how it went down. Oh, I remember it. Give me a minute while I cut you a fifteen-year-old slice of humble pie.
Anyway, in letters published with permission from Mead’s daughter, a romantic relationship between the two is very clearly expressed, and when Mead was confronted with the rumor that they had a sexual relationship, she never denied it. Furthermore, while Mead never identified as bisexual, in several instances Mead theorized that one’s sexual orientation evolved with experience, much like a Pokemon.
There’s not much else to say about Margaret – she and Rhoda stayed close until she died in her sleep in 1978 as an adorable old lady at Rhoda’s side, did a ton of really great things for anthropology as a whole, and just generally stayed a badass bitch her whole life. I mean, while she was a professor she held a walking stick and wore – this is not a joke – her “trademark cape” at all times. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking of another certain M.M. right now.
Just some food for thought.
Happy Christmas in July, you guys! I have something nice for you. Because you’ve been so good.
MRG got you a bisexual, cross-dressing, opera-singing, nun-banging, murderous-ten-times-over BADASS BITCH. I know, I know. It’s what you’ve always wanted.
If that sounds like I just made this person up at some type of bespoke historical figure shoppe (million dollar idea, you’re welcome), I get it. It seemed too good to be true when my little sister, AMG, who is way smarter and funnier than I am (but it’s okay because I am just as special in other ways) and who might grace us all with a guest post in the near future, casually told me about her. But it wasn’t too good to be true. Instead, IT’S JUST TOO GODDAMN GOOD.
Julie d’Aubigny was and continues to be a next-level goddess of womanhood the likes of which have never appeared on this blog. I know I throw that g-word around a lot when a strong historical lady gets hers, but this time it’s serious. She was a pistol for the ages. She is to not-giving-a-sweet-fuck what Isis, Frejya, and Bhuvaneshvari are to their respective mythologies. She is the human manifestation of that #YOLO thing the kids do. She is everything.
And luckily, she was born (in 1670 in France) to one of those dads who maybe wanted a son real bad but instead of ignoring his girlchild he, like, still loved her. And he bestowed upon her the required education for both genders. Daddy, Gaston d’Aubigny, was the secretary to the Grand Squire of France under Louis XIV and therefore was partly responsible for the all the king’s stables, pages, and most importantly, the royal partay fund. And this is the goddamn Sun King — it’s not like he’s throwing a low-key potluck just for the girls once every couple years. Thusly, Julie’s dad was pretty well connected and had a measure of power. As a hobby, he was also a master swordsman. Whereas my dad likes to do crossword puzzles and some light woodworking.
So by the time she blossoms into young womanhood, Julie can dance, she can sew, she can read multiple languages, and oh yeah, she can kill you real good with a rapier. And it’s not that she was good at swordplay for a lady — she was just fucking good. She also liked to dress up like a boy, accost and embarrass the shit out of another boy, and then reveal her ladyness. At a young age, Julie knew her way around a dagger. And around a dick.
In her teens, she seduced her dad’s boss, the Comte d’Armagnac (and because his name is hard and he was in charge of the king’s horses, he shall heretofore be known as The Mane Man). The Mane Man, though he was an adult fucking his employee’s 16-year-old daughter (think of the HR paperwork!), was also kind of a good dude in the beginning. He undoubtedly expanded her knowledge of military weapons and strategy and also her knowledge of how to do sex. Most importantly, he introduced her to the court of the Sun King.
If ever there was a diva in need of a venue, it was Julie d’Aubigny. Mane Man, soon sensing the potential error in bringing a gender-bending, sword-confident, underage hottie with a thing for embarrassing dudes at their own game to the most public and socially narrow place in the country, decided to marry Julie off and deflect attention. This was A Thing Men Could Do. Not long after her marriage to Monsieur Maupin (of whom little is known and few fucks are given), Julie and Mane Man called it quits. It’s probably likely that Mane Man was terrified of a) what Julie could to to his entrails and b) word getting out that he’d dated a woman with “talents” and “opinions,” so he invented a position in the French countryside for Maupin, assuming Julie would dutifully follow her new and uncharismatic husband. You know what they say about assuming. It’s a dumb fucking thing to do.
See, Mane Man’s plan really backfired on him. As a married woman, Julie really didn’t have to worry about the moral and social expectations that the court had for marriageable girls. And her husband, being a Toby Flenderson-type, was essentially powerless when it came to sexual politics. In the Maupin marriage, not only did Julie wear the pants, she had one of those giant MTV Cribs-style, apartment-sized closets full of pants. Pants on pants on pants. So naturally, when Mr. Maupin packed up the U-Haul and headed for the hills, Julie didn’t go with.
Instead, Julie. Went. WILD. Slapping shopkeepers? Check. Publicly taking the piss out of aristocrats? Check. Boning a fencing master wanted for murdering someone in an alley? CHECK.
Julie and her new slice, Serannes, Bonnie-and-Clyded their way through Paris, and when trouble found them, headed to Marseilles, where Serranes claimed he had the means to support them. He fucking lied. Rather than immediately impaling her lover, though, Julie, ever resourceful, essentially enslaved him as one half of a song-and-sword duo to pay the bills. Did I mention that our Jules was a fucking gifted contralto? She was. It was also around this time that Julie picked up that cross-dressing thing again, because the swordplay part of their act required ease of movement, and seven layers of petticoats are not so conducive to that sometimes/all the time. A cross dresser with the voice of an angel — maybe it’s a Julie thing.
Anyway, the pair were the talk of the town before long. The plebians ate that shit right up. And of course, because Julie was an Inigo Montoya-level swordist and wore pants, those same plebians thought she was a dude. Rumor has it that one night a crowd was so raucously convinced that she had a dick, Julie ripped open her shirt, showed them her tits, and said “Who’s the dick now?!” Or something like that.
Of course, a bold and beautiful ingenue of the stage and sword was going to be bored by her murderous, less-talented boyfriend. In fact, Julie was pretty bored by men altogether. She was just better than them at pretty much everything. But she still wanted to get hers — an Earth-goddess still needs to get her rocks off. And as we’ve established, our sweet JuJuBee gave zero fucks about social strictures or propriety. Julie looked around, noticed that women were a large group of people she hadn’t tried to seduce, and went for it. Bless her.
And here’s one of my favorite stories I’ve come across during this 2.5-year blogsperiment. Julie, somewhere in the middle of her lady-fucking rampage, fell in love with a cute blonde. Blondie’s parents, of course, were terrified of the Amazon who kept sending their daughter home flushed and extremely satisfied, so they decided the best course of action was to ship her off to a convent. That’s how Jules came to bone a nun. A self-proclaimed wife of Jesus. Yes. Of course, it became hard for them to meet, let alone plan liasons, so Julie took these Six Easy Steps to get her lover back:
1. She took Holy Orders herself.
2. She made sure she was assigned to the same convent as Blondie.
3. She waited for an elderly nun to die, then disinterred her.
4. She placed the body of said nun in Blondie’s bed.
5. She set the convent ON FIRE.
6. She and Blondie stole away into the night and never fucking looked back.
Turns out even that John McClane-like endeavor bored our Julie, and she broke up with her nunpiece a couple months later but stayed on the lam. Since body snatching and arson and kidnapping are crimes, Jules was tried in a Marseilles court in absentia and condemned to death by fire (eye for an eye, I guess). So Marseilles was no longer a great place for her to be, and she hopped from Paris to Orleans to Poitiers and back to Paris again, renewing her vaudeville-vagabond-crossdressing-disco-spectacular. Life’s a fucking hustle, man.
Along the way, Jules was doing her best Victor/Victoria in Villeperdue when a young roustabout in the audience realized she was a woman despite her pantaloons. Supposedly he accosted her by shouting, “Pretty bird, I’ve heard your chirping. Now let me see your plumage!” which is nothing if not a tightly constructed metaphor. Julie responded in the only way she knew how: by challenging him and his two best friends to a goddamned duel in the middle of the show. In the scuffle, Jules ended up putting her sword straight through the dude’s shoulder and out the other side, at which point he was like “Okay, ouch, sorry, geez.” Julie then dropped the mic and took a nap.
She still had a conscience, though. Hurting that defenseless manchild weighed on her, so the next day she asked the hotelier who she’d stabbed. Louis-Joseph d’Albert de Luynes, the son of a duke and therefore some kind of viscount. This made Julie feel bad but also made her see the glistening mountain of francs that could be hers if she played her cards right. When one of Lou’s squires visited Julie later that night to convey his master’s apologies for saying all that nasty shit to her, Julie was like, “I’ll deliver my response in person. With my vagina.” She boned him that night and many more nights. Extortion turned to love. They continued to bang for decades in like a friends-who-fuck-and-also-sort-of-love-each-other-but-keep-it-casual kind of way. Think about how much game you need to have to get a guy you RAN THROUGH WITH A MOTHERFUCKING SABER and HUMILIATED PUBLICLY to fuck you forever. This is real history.
And did I mention all of the above shit happened within four years? Yeah, on our timeline, Julie is 20. Really makes college feel like a waste.
Naturally, Julie’s career as a vaudevillian segued into the chance to sing in the Paris Opera. La Maupin, as she was called (going by her noodle of a husband’s name is probably the most heteronormative thing about her) was soon a bonafide opera star, and brought real-life badassness to notably badass roles like Athena, Dido, and Medea. It was like the opposite of method acting.
By now you’ve deduced that our Jules was also a bit of a wild card when it came to her temper, so it should be no surprise that she once whacked the shit out of a fellow actor in a dark alley with a wooden cane because he was creeping on one of her actress friends. When he showed up at work with two black eyes and a limp, he said he was beaten and robbed by four street youths. Julie, hearing this, said “HAHAHAHAA,” and handed the guy his pocket watch and empty wallet in front of everyone.
And of course, given that she and Lou had a loving and VERY open relationship, Julie fucked a lot of her co-workers. Both tenors and sopranos, if you catch my drift. Just once, Jules fancied a lady who gave her the ol’ I-just-wanna-be-friends, which led Julie to attempt suicide. She really only had one speed, our girl.
I know you’re all getting tired here, but I have just one more Julie story, I promise! Also, what the fuck guys, she’s amazing, I want to talk about her forever, you should want to know everything there is to know about her, etc. etc.
Okay, so Julie’s operatic fame led to her reintroduction to court life, which of course led to her being invited to a ball. And Julie just wanted to dance. Really get down. And she couldn’t twerk in a heavy dress, so she of course wore a full-on cavalier’s uniform. Much pearl-clutching ensued, because not only did she not hide the fact that she was a woman in manpants, she also openly danced and MADE OUT WITH the belle of the ball. In the middle of the Sun King’s dance floor. Je SCANDAL!
Belle-of-ball’s suitors were shocked and immediately directed a collective “Not cool, bro” Julie’s way in the form of a duel invite. Apparently talking things out was not a viable resolution method in seventeenth-century France. Julie had been outnumbered by a bunch of dudes before and was probably bored, so she agreed. They got a-fighting right there in the middle of a waltz and Julie defeated all of them handily. Mr. Sun King himself, pissed that Julie diverted the groveling masses away from him, reminded her that he’d recently instituted a law against dueling. Julie was sent away thinking that this might be the end of the road for her. You don’t piss off the Sun King. He could actually have you killed for sitting without his express permission. True fact. One would imagine that killing three dudes in the middle of his nice party might not fly.
UNLESS YOU’RE FUCKING JULIE D’AUBIGNY MAUPIN, WARRIOR PRINCESS.
The next day, after preparing to hear that she was going to die, Julie got a message from the King that essentially said, “You’re pretty that thing you did was funny I like seeing people die I guess my no-dueling law can just apply to men.”
And Julie celebrated by moving to Brussels and becoming mistress to a goddamn Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and opera-ing on the side until she died in 1707.
Except I’m pretty sure she’s not dead because goddesses are immortal.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young Hollywood starlet in possession of a lot of residual royalties checks must be in want of media attention. And then that starlet will go cuckoo banana crackers in a sad-but-engrossing kind of way.
I’ve been really worried about Amanda Bynes, you guys. She’s outpacing 2007 Britney when it comes to terrifyingly public emotional and physical descent. Shhh. I know. We are powerless to stop it. All I can do is put on the aesthetic nonpareil What a Girl Wants, watch that inspiring scene in which Daphne (Amanda, duh) and her dad (Colin Firth) bond while vintage shopping at a fictional London market (sort of in the way that romantic couples bond? It’s hella weird upon re-watch) in an exceptional early-2000s smash-cut montage AND TRY NOT TO CRY OVER WHAT ONCE WAS.
Okay, so I don’t actually love Amanda as much as it seems I do. I just really like What a Girl Wants because it’s the perfect balance of terrible and amazing and because Colin Firth. (Like remember Ian, Daphne’s gadabout jack-of-all-trades British kinda-boyfriend who makes out with her in a swan boat? Yes. Great.) It’s just that I, and I’m sure a lot of my generational cohorts, totally forgot about her until she started wearing that wig and talking about vagina murder. And I feel guilty about it, because I sort of feel like it’s our collective fault. We forgot about her, so she made us remember.
If an Amanda Bynes throws a bong from a significant height and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?
So anyway, I naturally got to thinking about other starlets and their inevitable public meltdowns. Britney, of course, and Lindsay Lohan. Poor Amy Winehouse in the “My Blake Incarcerated” days (RIP though forreal). Drew Barrymore was a hot mess in the 80s, before she went back to high school to write that article. And there are many more, going way back.
But who was the Ur-Hot Mess? Who made tabloids worth buying in those dark B.K. days (Before Kardashian)? This movement needs a standard-bearer, dammit. And I’ve decided that the face of this plague is Clara Bow, inspiration for Betty Boop, original It Girl, and possible fucker of domesticated animals.
After what seems like a pretty shitty childhood in Brooklyn during which her family lived at 14 (fourteen!) different addresses over 18 years and her mom died of epilepsy, Clara was discovered in what I can only assume was the pre-television ancestor of that America’s Idol Got Talent Voice show in 1921. The Simon Cowell of that production said that young Clara possessed a “genuine spark of divine fire” (which is sort of nice, so maybe it was the Paula who said it? I only ever watched one episode and it was in 2003 so forgive me). Armed with the spoils of victory and a lot of gumption, Clara went from audition to audition until she was finally cast in a few bit film roles, including a tomboyish part in Grit, which, interestingly, was penned by our sad alcoholic friend Scott (between rounds of wife-wrangling, no doubt).
Clara’s offers got bigger and more frequent, so she moved to Hollywood in 1923 where her career really took off. But like many of today’s starlets, she had daddy issues and wanted to bring her ol’ pops in from New York. Her producers didn’t want that to happen, which I didn’t understand until I read what Ms. Bow later said about their reunion: “I didn’t care a rap, for [what the mean producer guys thought], or my motion picture career, or Clara Bow, I just threw myself into his arms and kissed and kissed him, and we both cried like a couple of fool kids. Oh, it was wonderful.”
Remind you of some other couple we know? Maybe an Electra complex is a real accelerator in the starlet meltdown thing. Is there someone I can tell about this? I’m just genuinely worried about the Fanning sisters. They’re so blonde and wispy.
Anyway, by 1924, she’s a Certified Film Star. She had the all-important combo of earthiness, girlishness, and fuckability that is essential in any ingenue, but she was also one of the first actresses to have it. Remember when everyone was obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence a few months ago because she was so funny and pretty and talented at the same time? I imagine it was kinda like that, only amplified, because around this time, a full 50% of all Americans went to the movies at least once a week. That’s a goddamn lot. So when I say she was a star, I mean it — everyone knew who Clara was, and subsequently, everyone wanted to know EVERY MOTHERLOVING THING about her.
I should also mention that a piece on Clara around this time in Photoplay included this delightfully unsubtle sex allusion: “What is this quivering – pulsating – throbbing – beating – palpitating IT? Undeniably IT is a product of this decade. Indeed, you might say IT is a product of this hour. But what is IT?” So Clara’s production company slapped together a li’l movie called – you guessed it – It, and BOOM, Clara Bow is the world’s first “It Girl.” She was the girl everyone wanted to bone and befriend.
Clara-hunger among the plebians was at an all-time high. At the height of her fame, she was receiving 45,000 letters a month, which is probably the 1920s equivalent of 45 billion retweets. It was easy for the ‘bloids to talk about her supposedly “dreadful” manners and “bohemian” lifestyle and sell a few copies. But it was a hell of a lot easier when she started scandalizing so hard that every shitrag in town was calling her “Crisis-A-Day Clara.” Not as good as “Lindsanity,” but I’ll take it.
Now up through 1930, most Clara-related pearl-clutching had to do with this terrible thing she did called “dating,” wherein she was “seen” with “men” in “public.” Except for one time when she boned a married doctor and Mrs. Doctor subsequently named Clara as the reason for separation. But I mean what starlet worth her salt hasn’t broken up a marriage, right? Right.
In 1930, Clara and her BFF/hairstylist/secretary/ancilla Daisy DeVoe (whose name makes her sound like a cartoon villain and/or burlesque artist) got in a little tiff about cash, as so many stars and their human accessories do. Mo money mo problems, am I right? Things escalated, and while no one knows what really went down, by the end of it Daisy stole away into the night with a satchel full of Clara’s personal papers.
A lesser, clumsier slave-friend might have set Clara’s house on fire or permanently scarred her bankable face or something, but Daisy was no chump. Blackmail was her game. Clara, sensing this, called the fuzz instead of coming up with hush money. This ended up being a huge mistake.
For whatever reason, tabloid press were allowed in the courtroom during the subsequent trial. All those mags that were previously shocked by Clara’s man-dating WENT APESHIT with Daisy’s accusations. Clara Bow was a drunk. Clara Bow spent herself into destitution. Clara Bow did drugs. Clara Bow fucked a lot of men (later, an ambitious biographer would incorrectly say she fucked everyone on the USC football team). Clara Bow fucked a lot of women. Clara Bow had sex in public. Clara Bow participated in orgies. Clara Bow, when without a man, woman, tight end, or orgy, fucked dogs. Dogs, guys. Dogs.
This was actually printed in an actual publication that people actually read. And because she was the “It Girl,” because “it” was really “lots and lots of sexy sex,” because everyone knew who she was and wanted to be her and/or do her, people believed it. When someone’s nickname means “Sex Girl,” it’s pretty easy to believe that she has sex, and with lots of people. And dogs, I guess, though that seems morally and physically difficult.
The public, shitrags in hand, staged a massive campaign calling for her studio to fire her. Which happened. She made a couple more movies with different production companies, but by 1932, the Depression set in, and everything Clara represented — mirth, inhibition, pulchritude, champagne, sparkles — felt somehow inappropriate to people who didn’t have food to eat.
With her career irreparably fucked, she married a guy who became the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. They settled on a cattle ranch and had two kids. So not as bad as you expected, right? Maybe there’s hope for Amanda yet. I mean, sure, Clara checked into a sanitarium in 1949 because she was having hallucinations and belly aches, and yeah, her psychiatrist’s notes reference a mysterious “butcher knife incident of 1922,” and okay, she became severely agoraphobic until her death in 1965.
But Amanda, listen to me. Sister to sister. Take off that wig, pull out those terrifying dimple piercing/implant things. Take a bubble bath. Eat a kale salad. Get it together. Call Britney. She should be your spirit animal. She is a success story. Talk about the fame, and the fans, and the pressure. Listen. Learn.
And then maybe call Colin because I’ve been waiting for a What a Girl Wants sequel a longass time.
WELCOME, SCANDALITES, to the FIFTH edition of Search Term Referrals! We’ve been neglecting you, we know. So we thought it was only right to bring you what has become our pedigree: the fucking weirdass shit people type into Google that gets them to our humble blog.
a motswana pussy — And I motswana penis.
mulan sex scandal — Shut. Up. Mulan has never done anything wrong. Ever.
teen slut meme
picture of margaret campbell fellating a naked man — When you find that, send it to us.
la vita dolce schandaal
la dolce vita schandaal
schandaal la dolce vita — The Holy Trinity.
adriana ivancich not even pretty — I have this theory that if you cut off all her hair she’d look like a British man.
michael jordan today –Organizing a round robin charity classic with the Monstars, hopefully.
the most beautiful world is like a dungheap, rudely dumped — This person is a fucking poet.
it girl anal — I mean, if it’s in, it’s in, AMIRITE??
anal sex doing it wrong — Excuse you, we only trade in perfection on this blog. Just head on over to The Daily Mail, thank you very much.
for shame blog — This might have been LHB, Googling the blog at work.
preteen panties — No thanks, that’s not our size.
who did emperor lu zhi tortured — More like who didn’t she tortured! (Also, I think it’s “Empress.”)
dave chappelles fitted robin hood hat — This one?
slutty halloween girl — As though there’s another kind of Halloween girl.
clipart italy men — If they feature unironic mustaches, stained wifebeaters, and pizzas in mid-toss, then sure, we’re on board.
les orgie de Caligula — Tu es venu le correct blog.
sucking zb it brother fame sexy+18
http://www.sana bloch sexy scandles.com — Naturally this one has inspired us to start developing a line of “scandles” (candles molded into the shape of Anne Boelyn, obviously).
antinous ass sculpture — Everyone: treat yourself and google this term ASAP.
lucrezia borgia’s boobs — They’re not here. They’re on Showtime Sunday evenings at 10 PM EST.
let the hunger games begin gif
frederick douglass american badass — YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT HE WAS.
bone daddy’s restaurant — I want to go to there.
father hot son. she sex — Who’s doing whatnow?
the tudors henry vlll fucks charles — For some reason, the immediate imagine which jumped to my (JAF) mind was Jonathan Rhys Meyers getting it on with Charles Bukowski. Don’t ask me why. Please don’t.
helen pitts frederick douglass’s hair that mane — I think we all wanted this one to continue with “that fucking mane.”
jizz age — Yeah, from what I hear, Baz Lurhmann’s got a bit of a mess on his hands.
i love wearing tights and sword — Errol Flynn, did MRG’s post resurrect you?? If so, will you sleep with us even though we’re not underage????/?
carlton fresh prince sweater vest — You welcome.
very nice shames lisibian fucking — Is the shame very nice, or the lisibian fucking? Or just the nice lisibians? Or is it shame fucking? You have to give us more to go on, internet troll!
bert macklin and janet snakehole — A love story for the ages.
18th century lady seduced by maid epoch porn — *War and Peace
native indian women fucks shit out of horse — LITERALLY? Ew. Figuratively, turns out also EW.
feydeau bitch painter — As opposed to Feydeau’s first vocation of horse whisperer.
http://www.super big aunty fuck scandal low quality.com — I like this guy because he knows what he wants, but he’s not greedy.
flapper girls slut shaming — All those ankles and shoulders and collarbones showing, MY GOD.
levar burton sex scandal — We. Want. IN.
sex titanic — Best/Worst Cruise theme, 2013.
men fucking outdoors rugged — Yes, please. Where? Show us. Show us now.
1920s lesbian the ballerina — Ah, Lesbian the Ballerina. A legend of the stage. Pioneer of the flannel tutu.
taylor lautner topless — Enh, he’s no Dame Helen.
nudist preteens mrg — WOAH MRG HERE TOTALLY GROSSED OUT YIKES WOW YUCK BLERG
phillies and eddie fucking
anne boelyn strong women — Duh.
syphilisse sur penis — Oui, et dans la penis, et sous la penis, et partout la penis. Fair attention, mes amis. La Syhilisse va ruiner votre Penis.
woman fuck with giboon
medival way to publicly shame someone — Speaking with the knowledge born of a nearly-completed degree in The Medieval Times™, I, JAF, can safely say I have no idea. But the surest way, in my mind, to publicly shame yourself is to misspell “medieval.”
logo calzone — MRG’s ancient Italian family seal.
pirate sexy shit for woman — Let it go, Keira, let it go.
crown brand new fucking abuse movie — Hey, watch it. Don’t sully the proud brand of Crown (Royal). They give you a velvet pouch with every bottle. Think of all the stuff you can keep in there!
scandalous blow jobs — The BEST kind of blow job.
my illegitimate daughter is sexy — Oh for fuck’s sake.
ur a real bitch — Well, fuck you. Or “u,” apparently.
is jane seymour a real bitch? — No, she was like the nicest bitch ever, fuck you. Oh, do you mean that slut who judges Iron Chef all the time? In that case, yeah, probably.
charlie chaplin orgies — Obviously orgies in which everyone wears a Furher stache, brings a cane, and DOESN’T TALK.
anne borthwick took an axe — Close enough.
cute girl naked sketch titanic –I think you’ll find this is much more satisfying.
archer narnia — Not even Sterling could never survive in that danger zone.
i want her to enjoy ma corn in her pussy,to d extense dat she wil weep — Theres…just…so…much…here.
google.kiss sex you tobel
erotic costume dramas — You say that as though there are other film genres.
empress theodora leda and the swan explicit details — Swansplicit.
leda and the swan where did the goose eat the barley from — You’re not ready.
crazy and dirty things for money king sexy — Money King Sexy is our new rapper name.
hey, i liked it because i’m a quality blog so it’s not my type but you guys are really good tho & i like your hair and your friend’s sweater. i like your version better just saying #sorrynotsorry hahah — How did you find our super secret off-limitz blog diary (bliary)? We wrote that when we were just a mere teenblog, don’t judge us.
without full dress for boys and girls after mrg sexy video — MRG, GO, RUN, HIDE, WE’LL CALL HELP.
history of sex fucking photo graphic
define mare of flanders — She has a name, thank you! It’s Man of Cleves.
marie antoinette grass — The horticultural sensation that’s sweeping the heads off the nation.
is oskar kokoshka on hey arnold jewish — You had to ask the internet for that one?
family photos of teresa giudice — Try Bravo, tonight at All The Time.
mens wear tights — It’s 2013, get over it.
how to draw benjamin franklin cartoon — Step 1: draw an oval for the head. Step 2: draw a rhombus for the kite. Step 3: draw shame and regret for a lifetime of infidelity and venereal diseases.
ron,hermione si harry — Sure, senor.
ladyhamiltonmenageatrois — Tothepoint. Ilikeit,
hot shame panties — Ain’t no shame in a little undergarment.
robin wearing pantyhose — Scherbatsky’s a lady. She never leave home anything less than respectable.
did henry viii have a small penis — Can’t there be some mystery left in life? (but no, probably not)
apush exam is coming memes — LHB’s your woman on the front line for that one.
mercedes de acosta’s accident with eye wash — WHAT, NOPE, DON’T KNOW, DON’T WANT TO KNOW, EYES, NOPE, AAAAHHHHhhhhhhhhhh.
horze fuk lady — goozdnyght, frrndz.
LHB, MRG, KAB, JAF.
On this very day in 44 BC, Julius Caesar got shanked by a bunch of his friends, giving us a ton of filmic and literary references for centuries to come, the best of which is obviously the Weiners-George metaphor.
But just because it’s the Ides doesn’t mean I’m going to talk about good ol’ Julie Caesar. It’s been done. If you want that story, watch the Liz Taylor Cleopatra or the Jeremy Sisto Caesar (especially the Sisto, because ain’t no Sisto like Sisto in a metal breastplate).
I’ve got something better for you. He’s blonde, he’s crazy, and he’s fond of whimsy. He’s EMPEROR CALIGULAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!1
First, though, let’s acknowledge that in the metaphorical “sexually scandalous people that history remembers generation after generation throughout time despite the frailty of human memory” conversation (which occurs at dinner tables across this great nation every night, no doubt), Caligula is like THE first guy you mention. Accordingly, let’s acknowledge how restrained we at For Shame have been in not writing about Caligula at all during this two-year blogsperiment. I mean it’s not like we forgot he existed. We just sort of held him in the Scandal Pantheon (Scantheon, hollaaa) with the likes of Misters Jefferson and Kennedy.
But then JAF was like, “I’m a really smart classicist and we should do an Ides of March theme week about Roman emperors!” And I was like, “I watched I, Claudius in high school Latin class and Caligula did crazy shit on it and that’s all I know.” And then poor JAF got the stomach flu last night.
So here we are.
Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was born to second cousins (who were each in turn byproducts of many other cousin-marriages down the ancestral line, so maybe keep the genetics in mind as we go here) in Antium in 12 AD. He got the nickname “Caligula” when he was three and following his dad, Germanicus, on some military campaigns. He’d dress in a tiny replica soldier’s uniform. Caliga were soldiers’ boots. Caligula were little soldiers’ boots. Hence the adorable nickname. I’m just including this because it’s actually the only cute thing about our Cal that ever happened, ever.
I could use this space to talk about how and why Caligula got to be emperor, but who actually cares about that shit? You want the crazy. I want the crazy. Let’s get CRAYZAY.
So during the first six months of his reign, Cal is absolutely beloved by Romans in all corners of the empire. He’s granting bonuses and pardoning people right and left, there are lots of slaves and animals being killed in superfun gladitorial combat, Inspector Javert is inspirationally seeking revenge, you get it. The general mood is pretty high on all seven hills of Rome.
Until 37 AD, that is, when Mr. Cal Ligula (also the name of a Staten Island small claims lawyer?) fell seriously ill. You’d think that maybe recovering from a near-death illness might make one kinder and gentler, but lucky for us that DID NOT happen. Instead, Cal started murdering EVERYBODY! “You get an execution! You get an execution! Even my young cousin/adopted son gets an execution!”
Then he went all 2007-shaven-head-Britney and the next four years were straight up insanity. You know what? There’s a lot of CRAY coming your way, so let’s make a couple lists to facilitate.
GENERALLY CRAZY SHIT CALIGULA DID:
· Built and rode a horse across a custom-built two-mile pontoon bridge from Baiae to Puteoli because this soothsayer one time said he had a better chance of crossing the Bay of Baiae on horseback than becoming emperor. This project cost a massive amount of money, lots of men died during the construction, the project added to the growing discontent in the empire, and he HAD ALREADY BECOME EMPEROR when he set out to prove he COULD BECOME EMPEROR. But he sure showed that unimportant-and-probably-already-dead soothsayer.
· Built a pair of giant ships. One was a floating temple to Diana and the other was what I imagine to be the first-century version of that kickass party yacht in Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'” video. Except that this one had marble floors and as such weighed 7,400 tons. We all know how that goes.
· Tried to throw Britannia on the pile of Roman-conquered countries, but when his soldiers arrived at the English Channel, he ordered them to stop and collect seashells “as spoils of the sea,” then bring them back to Rome. Some historians think “seashells” was code for ships or something else of the military persuasion, but I think they’re neglecting the innate human desire to make shitty crafts.
· Started dressing as various gods and goddesses at public events, referring to himself as a god, and signing documents of state “Jupiter.” He also had a couple of temples rededicated to himself, which naturally involved removing the heads from sacred statues and replacing them with Caligula heads. And he decided the senators had to worship him as a god. Not the first boss with a god complex though, am I righttttttttttttt?
· Ordered guards to throw a few rows of spectators into an arena full of hungry lions during intermission at a gladitorial event because he was bored. Whereas when I’m bored during an intermission I go to the bathroom and maybe treat myself to a soft pretzel.
· Also enjoyed having prisoners thrown from high towers of the palace during his breakfast. The best part of wakin’ up is DEAD PEOPLE.
· Planned to make his favorite horse, Incitatus (from the aforementioned bridge ride), a consul. But he didn’t end up actually doing it. That’s a myth, you guys.
· Actually made Incitatus a priest. I’m sort of on board with this because I’d like to give a horse my confession. It would be a judgement-free zone and there would be some nice nuzzling at the end.
SEXUALLY CRAZY SHIT CALIGULA DID:
· After spending ALLLL the money left to him by his predecessor (we’re talking hella denarii – like $300+ billion today), opened a brothel in the palace to recoup. But of course he couldn’t have common skanks getting fancy all over the seat of the Roman empire. He needed a classier workforce, so instead he force-hired the wives of senators. But I think they got dental!
· Would inspect guests’ wives at banquets, and if he liked what he saw, have sex with said wives. If he REALLY liked what he saw, he would declare a couple’s divorce without their consent. (Insert “Take my wife” joke here).
· Would, after non-consensually fucking a married woman, discuss her performance with her husband.
· Held orgies, but obviously.
· Attended the marriage of a young officer named Proculus, and, pissed that they didn’t have an open bar, raped both Proculus and his new wife. Let the togae hit the floor.
· Boned a lot of dudes: Romans, prisoners of war, a court fool. He didn’t have a type, ya know?
· Boned all three of his sisters. So maybe actually his type was “similar genetic composition.”
· Maybe impregnated one of them. And according to I, Claudius (which, given the conflicting and crazy stories out there about this guy, is probably not the worst source) (plus Robert Graves was a certified dimepiece) he became obsessed with the idea that his son/nephew would overtake him, so he naturally CUT THE BABY OUT OF HER and ATE IT ohmygoddddddddisturbing.
I think maybe we should end here.
Obviously Cal wasn’t the most popular guy in the world after all of these shenanigans, so there were a lot of murder plots afoot. The one that succeeded — the Praetorian Guard, in an empty passageway, with
the candlestick lots of knives and swords — is notable because even his body guards, who swore a blood oath of loyalty, were over his bullshit.
Cal’s uncle Claudius, who had a stutter and club foot but was a sweet guy in a sour world, was made emperor, and the rest is this 1970s BBC miniseries I keep referencing (and if you aren’t intrigued already, Caligula is played by a young Mr. Ollivander). And there’s another Caligula movie in which you see Dame Helen Mirren’s royal boobs!
So maybe treat yourself on this Ides of March. To a little IDES CANDY. It’s what Caligua would have done (except there would probably be a few more naked corpses and horses around).
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.