I know what you’re probably thinking. “LHB, how do you even know about Dude week? You didn’t even write one of those hilarious intros. Poor KAB and MRG had to do all of them.” First of all, listen to yourself, you sound like a bitch. Second, I have a great excuse this time. And no, it’s not “finals are hard” or “I’m graduating.” This time, I moved. States. Coasts, actually. And you know what happens when you move? You ask your boyfriend to deal with Comcast and then he puts it off for three weeks and then you never have internet. It’s really fun. I’m being sarcastic. It fucking sucks. But it makes you really productive and good at, like, setting up your house. I also started reading a book but then we got cable so I was like, “Fuck that.”
Now, you may have read the title of this post and been a little suspicious. “Isadora?” You thought to yourself, “They’ve already written about this slut. I’m going to go read some other less funny blog.”
You know what I say to that? I’d say that you’re really sounding like a bitch today. But you would also be correct if not a little bit of a bitch. We have written about Isadora before. Twice, actually. Once in our first Lesbian post ever (we were so young!), and then once in KAB’s guest post before she came over to the dark side.
The thing is, Isadora’s so scandalous she deserves a post of her own. She didn’t have two children out of wedlock, numerous lesbian and non-lesbian affairs, and a death that English teachers could use to teach ninth graders the concept of irony to merit peripheral sentences in posts about other people. So today, Isadora Duncan, you’re going to get your own post. People only dream about this kind of publicity. You’re welcome.
Going into this post, I was trying to find a Californian in honor of my move. (For Shame! loves relevance.) I was shooting for sort of the Gold-Rush, frontier-era Californian, but I was having zero luck (if you have an idea, please suggest it.) But then MRG did some research on the “internet” and was all, “Isadora Duncan is from San Francisco.” And I was like, “REALLY? OK!” And now here we all are.
Isadora Duncan left northern California pretty early to become a slut in Chicago. I mean, a dancer. She joined a company in Chicago that eventually brought her to New York. But, in the big city, she felt limited and repressed. Americans just “didn’t get her.”* Eventually, the dancer Loie Fuller, who also was “misunderstood”* by Yankee bumpkins showed up at Duncan’s studio and was all, “Girlfriend, let’s get your ass to Paris.”
Fuller was a famous American dancer and actress, known for the way she used flowing silk costumes when she danced. But she spent most of her time in France because they didn’t hate fun as much as they did in the States. (Side note for theatre nerds: she was also a pioneer in stage lighting and held numerous patents for the “technology” and “science” behind making colored gels.) No doubt her love of billowy costumes rubbed off on Isadora, who is known for her use of long scarves in her choreography. (We’ll come back to that.)
But more importantly, IsaDORA did a lot of EXPLORING ifyaknowwhatimsayin’. She had a lot of sex with a lot of people is what I’m saying. Let’s start with the two baby-daddies, shall we? (DISCLAIMER: I should say that I don’t believe any of her affairs were particularly scandalous because she was in Paris and she was an artist and it was the early 20th century, so everyone was all, “Eh, whatever.”)
The father of Isadora’s first child, Dierdre, was famous English scenic designer Edward Gordon Craig. What? Never heard of him? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, fun fact: Baby-daddy numero uno was an illegitimate child himself! Runs in the family, I suppose. I might do a post on him at a later date, so that’s all I’ll divulge for now…
SO, they did it and had a kid. And then four years later, she did it with Paris Singer (yes, son of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer) and had a son named Patrick. Three years later, when Pat was three and Dierdre was seven, the kiddos (along with their nanny) were on their way back from meeting Mommy for lunch at some swank-ass Parisian cafe, when their driver stalled the car. (Driving was really hard then.) The driver got out to hand-crank the engine, but forgot to put the parking break on and the car, along with the Duncan kids and the nanny, rolled into the Seine! And they drowned!!
Shit just got real, didn’t it?
Duncan was still with Mr. Singer at this point, but after the accident she left him in order to recuperate on the Italian coast with one of Europe’s most famous bisexuals, Eleonora Duse. Isn’t that what you would do? Eleonora had just come out of a two-year lesbian relationship with THE famousest lesbian this side of the Atlantic, feminist writer Lina Poletti. So, when Eleonora and Isadora were sitting in a tree, everyone was like, “They must be K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
In 1922, a good long time after her post-drowning tryst with the Italian actress, Isadora met and married the Russian poet, Sergei Yessinin who was 18 years younger than her. Get what’s yours, girl. Unfortunately, she only got what was hers for like a year or so, before he was like, “I need to go write about my feelings,”* and went off to Moscow to commit suicide.
Isadora didn’t skip a beat before shacking up with our favorite Lesbian to the stars, the ex-lover of Greta Garbo, Mercedes de Acosta. They wrote each other really nice and kind of explicit letters for a number of years. Most of them involve nipples, but this one doesn’t:
Mercedes, lead me with your little strong hands and I will follow you—to the top of a mountain. To the end of the world. Wherever you wish. (1926)
A year later, in 1927, Benoit Falchetto, a hot mechanic picked Isadora up in his Amilcar to go for a ride, in more ways than one. The 50-year-old dancer turned to her friends before she left and said, “Je vais à l’amour,” which translated into English means something like, “I’m going to go have sex with this hot mechanic now.” On the drive, her scarf got tangled in the open spoke wheels of the early 20th century automobile and broke her neck! And then she died!
Wanna know why she was wearing a scarf? Probably you remember from earlier in the post when I was talking about flowy fabric but I’ll remind you: It was her thing. She practically trademarked scarves. She danced with them, she played with them, she wore them on car-rides. Bitch LOOOOVED scarves. And then they fucking killed her. Watch out, people. Your favorite clothing items will turn on you when you least expect it. It’s only a matter of time.
But here’s what’s really cool about Isadora Duncan. Aside from the fact that the woman could not have cared less what people thought about her (she had illegitimate babies and affairs with lesbians, and was a known communist, and wore that ridiculous tunic around all the time), she was also kind of the undisputed founder of modern dance. When she started dancing, dance was either ballet or, like, vaudeville showgirl type stuff. When expressionist theatre and art and modern literature all started to take off in the early 20th century, dance was about to be left behind. But her innovations in style and technique elevated dance to the status of art.
No small FEET. (Because in dancing you have to use your feet.)
*Indicates direct quote.
PRE-POST NOTE: MRG here. This here is the third installment of MAN, I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN, coming to you a smidge late because of various WordPress/life issues. DON’T BE MAD. This is a gem, mined, cut, and polished by LHB’s dear college pal and my on-again, off-again Facebook-official accomplice in complicated love, JRE. It’s complicated. But crazy adulterous composer heartthrob sex isn’t, so read on! Plus JRE fucking used Photoshop and made ORIGINAL graphics for your viewing pleasure, making us look shitty, so go fucking enjoy those, or whatever. JK LOVE YOU BOO.
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WELCOME TO THE NEXT EPISODE OF DUDE WEEK!!! We started you off telling you how togas are GREAT for easy access, and then we told you about how DUDES RULE AT BEING GAY, and now I’m going to tell you all about how MOUTHWATERINGLY STRAIGHT WE CAN BE (warning: each word will take you to a different region of THE RAINBOW OF LUST… the foil to the BeyonceBow).
Despite the latter half of the title, F**K Bach–this post is about FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)–a WELL off HUNGarian composer of the 19th century, and the very burning image of straightness. Well. It’s a toss-up between Liszt and Chick-Fil-A, but you get the point. As Dude Week should go, this is a feel-good tale, a man’s man‘s tale, the tale of a man who could chop(in) wood with his bare hand(els), soothe women with his piano fingerings, and cry strips of crispy bacon to feed the orphans.
In his prime, Liszt was on every honey’s bone-list. It went too far. Yes, in today’s world we all know about Bieber-Fever or Jonathan-Taylor-Thomas-Typhoid, but things take on a new flavor when women are willing to wear the sex-icon-in-question’s cigar stump as a locket (for a review of sex icons, see Figure 1). The man had so many demands for locks of hair that he had to shave a dog for proxy hair. I would do strange things for the attention of JTT, but that kind of sh*t will get you imprisoned these days. Suffice it to say, Liszt’s tunes could de-pants a lass or lad in under 5 measures. This is probably why snap pants became a necessary invention. People’s reactions went to the extreme of appearing sickly and feverish. A lady-physician of the day described its root as a combination of:
“…magnetism, galvanism, electricity, of the contagion of the close hall filled with countless wax lights and several hundred perfumed and prespiring human beings, of historical epilepsy, of the phenomenon of tickling, of musical cantherides, and other scabrous things, which, I believe have reference to the mysteries of the bona dea.”
Serious Hogwartz sh*t.
But he had humble beginnings. His early life was essentially the same as Eminem’s, but in Paris. And Liszt had some much weirder sh*t going on. For instance, he joined hipster Christian sects that rejected marriage as a crime against women, and never had a serious, long-term slampiece who wasn’t married. He was sort of the Robin Hood of monogamous sex. The weirdest thing was that the husbands dealt with this for YEARS. One woman he was with for 7 years, and the other–Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein (we’ll get to her in a minute)–for 14!!! Husbands were way chiller back then. If people were that dispassionate today, quality programming like the Maury show would suddenly disappear. I’m no economist, but I’m sure that would only serve to tear a whole through the last safe haven of America’s economy. Enter the GOPocalypse. Anyways! So Liszt was having sex with EVERYBODY. He was rolling around Paris with his baguette, teaching allll the honeys how to tickle the ivories (amongst other things), and he eventually picked up the 7-year-romance-husband-lady (Marie d’Agout). This was from 1833 to 1841. Liszt wasn’t that popular yet, so Marie was like the Brittany Murphy for our Eminem analogy. But unlike BM, Marie couldn’t deal with the rigors of her man touring, getting all famous. So they decided not to do LDR. As soon as Liszt dropped the baggage, he blew up. This is when the Lisztomania described above came into play.
Refer to Figure 2. At 1847, where it says “Meets Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein” on the Hisztogram, that’s when Liszt started boning the 14-year-romance-husband-lady. She was married to a Russian military officer, but even he couldn’t touch Liszt because of the whole cigar-necklace aura that surrounded him. Liszt really got into Wittgenstein, forgot his bachelor resolve, and tried to marry her. This did not work, however, for two reasons:
1) Her husband cock-blocked their annulment
2) the Princess found out that Liszt had been having an affair with a former mistress of PRINCE Wittgenstein, and, further, that he had been cheating on the Prince’s ex-mistress with the singer, Emilie Genast!!! THREE LAYERS OF AFFAIRS—-INCEPTION.
So, the Princess was a little skeezed out, and stopped putting out. Liszt understood. But they did stay in touch with Liszt, continually urging him to take up abstinence to get back into divine favor. They clearly weren’t right for each other. Liszt loved sex. By this point, however, Liszt was an old man, not getting any, and probably serving as a loving home for many sexually transmitted infections. So he just kind of taught music and watched SVU re-runs until he kicked the bucket.
So passes a great man. Let me conclude with some wise man-words from Zephram Cochrane: “Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make it’s own judgements.” History judged Liszt as f**king awesome. He was really popular and boned a lot of people. It’s kind of like the Bachelor. Liszt was the original Bachelor. They should make a staged-prequel for next season. No! But anyways, JUST BE A MAN. And remember–THE POWER IS YOURS!
JRE, signing off from the inside of a J. Roget bottle.
Apparently that title is a little wordplay on the battle cry from the Chronicles of Narnia (thanks, MRG). I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read or seen it. But that’s not going to stop me from shamelessly exploiting the dark and sexy secrets of its author.
Clive Staples Lewis, whom you know as C.S. Lewis, and whose friends called him Jack (weird story about that, read his Wiki page), was the beloved Irish author of every British kid’s third favorite fantasy/sci-fi children’s literature series, the Chronicles of Narnia. Now, I’ve never read the Chronicles of Narnia, probably because no one ever forced me to, and I thought reading was stupid until my dad read HP1 aloud to my sister and me, BUT Narnia holds a special place in my heart because after the movie came out (which I also neglected to see) a bunch of people came up to me and told me I looked like the older girl in it. And who doesn’t love being mistaken for a milky-skinned celebrity archer?! Since then I decided I love me some Lions, Bitches, and Closets or whatever.
But now that I know C.S. Lewis was a kinky motherfucker (LITERALLY) (not his mother, that would be gross), I like him even more. But not enough to watch those books.
So, Jack has an idyllic Irish childhood for about a decade. Goes without saying that he’s not Catholic. But then when he’s ten his mom dies of cancer, and his father becomes awkward and distant. Parent-issues, you know. Let’s fast forward a few years: there are some shamrocks, rainbows, gold, leprochans, he probably decides he loves reading, writing, making up stories, normal Irish writer’s childhood (Yeats shit right here) whatever, blah blah, then BAM 1914, War in Europe.
He waits three years before enlisting because he’s at Oxford and, you know, fragile. While he was training in 1917, he bunked with this guy named Edward Courtnay Francis “Paddy” Moore. The two pals made a pact that if either of them were killed in the war that other would take care of the dead guy’s family. Paddy died in 1918 on the front like right before the war ended, and C.S. Lewis kept his promise. He took care of Paddy’s family all right. He took care of them real good. And hard. He took care of Paddy’s mom particularly well. He fucked his mom is what I’m saying.
First, though, Jane Moore (no relation to Demi), TWENTY SIX YEARS HIS SENIOR, (although you’d think they were related based on their taste in the Ashtons of their perspective generations), the widowed mother of Paddy Moore, took care of Jack. But literally, I mean she took care of him. He was injured in April of 1918 by an ill-fired British shell and since his Dad was, like, weird and distant, Mama Moore came to visit him in the hospital where she would probably bring him cookies/handies.
After the war, the 21 year old stud set up house with the forty seven year old fox. In 1930, they eventually moved into The Kilns (the name for Jack’s house, because British people love naming houses). Jack would introduce her as his Mother (gross) to friends and told a buddy of his via a letter (what people used before iPhones) that he considered her one of the most important people in his life. Which I guess is really sweet or whatever. They lived there, “taking care of each other,” until the late 40s when Jane started to get sick from, you know, being really fucking old. She moved into a nursing home and suffered from dementia until her death in 1951. Jack visited her every single day. I mean, whatever, that’s sort of perfect and wonderful I guess. It’s Nicholas Sparks shit, for sure. MRG loves that.
For a while there was some wishy washy inconclusiveness among C.S. Lewis’s biographers regarding whether or not Jack was really truly sleepin’ with Mama Moore. But eventually everyone was kind of like, “Yeah, they were doing it.” George Sayer, who knew Lewis for a really long time, at first said that the relationship was just a loving one that came out of Jack’s need for a mother figure. But then a few chapters later, he was like, “Nevermind.” Actually, what he said was…
I have had to alter my opinion of Lewis’s relationship with Mrs. Moore. In chapter eight of this book I wrote that I was uncertain about whether they were lovers. Now after conversations with Mrs. Moore’s daughter, Maureen, and a consideration of the way in which their bedrooms were arranged at The Kilns, I am quite certain that they were.
Doesn’t that make it seem like they had some secret passageway between their rooms or something??? I LIKE IT.
After Jack’s “mom” (lover) (ew, I’m sorry I said that) died, he married this hot and smart divorcee with a couple of kids. She died pretty young and he ended up raising his step sons on his own. So, you know, he was really mean and ugly.
Now we come to the point in the post where we ASSess WHAT WE’VE LEARNED. First of all: I think I can safely say that CS Lewis was a solid dude. He spent his life taking care of people who needed him, first his mom/girlfriend, then his non-children children. And that’s, like, a really nice thing. Especially when during your downtime you’re busy creating our generation (and other generations’) most cherished fantasy series. After Twilight.
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.
We may not be posting quite as much as we were in our first month of blogging (we’re writing our theses right now, so deal with it), but we are mighty proud of how far we’ve cum. Although, clearly the puns haven’t gotten any better.
In honor of this milestone, we’re going to just do a little collection of scandalous titbits, I mean tidbits, that give us that special tingly feeling in our nether regions that we love so much. Because isn’t that what first birthdays are all about? Uh, Yeah.
This birthday extravaganza is coming to you in three separate posts. First, this little diddy from yours truly, next a special little sumthin’ from MRG, and next a steamy sexploit from JAF. If you like what you read, do share it with your scandal-loving buddies so that they, too, can feel the tingle.
Being Black is the Pitts? (Too much?): Be Quiet. I get it. Frederick Douglass, an American slave, was a badass who never did anything wrong. You know what I say to that? Who says scandals have to be wrong? ZING! Frederick Douglass, one of the most world-class ack-blays ever to fight for BOTH the abolition of slavery AND the rights of women (at the SAME TIME), sported the first afro in the history of United States.*
But that’s not even why he was so awesome. He ALSO was a quite the ladies man. You know what they say about big hair. Douglass (with two s’s, motherfucker) married his first wife, Anna in 1838 after he escaped from, you know, SLAVERY to be with her! They settled down in NYC and had five kids. Douglass went on to become besties with Lincoln, and help him solve all the country’s problems.
When he shot into the public eye, a lot of single ladies started to pay attention to him. Namely Julia Griffiths, the prominent English abolitionist, who Douglass hired to live with him and tutor his wife and his children. Hmmm. She eventually became his “administrative assistant.” One of her duties involved managing his schedule, which often involved the two of them being alone together until late at night. Also, she was white. People in Rochester, NY (where I may or may not live) grew accustomed to seeing the black man walking arm in arm with his best bud, the white lady. Also, I was lying before when I said she was single. She was married. Making that whole relationship all the more interesting.
Next, FDoug set his sights on Ottilie Davida Assing. Actually, the little German frau set her sights on him. She read his book, and was like, “I’ve got to bone, I mean meet, this guy.” So she jumped in her horse and carriage and hightailed it to Rochester where the two met and began a 25 year “friendship.”
Two years after wife #1 kicked it, Douglass fell in love. For real. The lucky bitch was the daughter of one of Douglass’ abolitionist colleagues. The couple endured a veritable shitstorm of controversy. For starters, she was white and he was black. She was also almost 20 years younger than him. Her family completely disowned her, and his children were super pissed because their mother was only two years dead. So, you know, probably exactly the same reaction if the same thing were to happen today.
But you know what Douglass said to people who were drinking the haterade? He said, “My first wife was the color of my mother, and my second wife was the color of my father.” So, he was pretty much just trying to even shit out, you know?
*This is probably untrue because I made it up.
Stay tuned for MRG’s forthcoming post, It’s Our Blogoversary and I’ll Post What I Want To, and JAF’s post which is TBD, but will undoubtedly be super hipster and all around badass. Just like our buddy Frederick.
[Before we get started, I’d like to say that the title of this post does not apply to either of my housemates who may be reading this.]
I’ve been cooking a lot lately. I’m on a little bit of a health kick right now. Trying to kick my Goldfish habit (it’s so hard I can’t do it anymore I hate it so much healthy food is stupid I love goldfish). But it turns out that I also really love to cook. And eat. I really love eating. So when I’m procrastinating on my thesis, or feeling guilty about the fact that I’m not writing a post for the blog, I’m looking up new recipes on my awesome Epicurious iPhone app, or pinning things to my “To Cook.” board on Pinterest (I know I’m a year late to the Pinterest parade, but I’m so fuckin into it, I’m like its number one baton twirler). And when I’m not doing all of that, I’m actually cooking. It’s kind of awesome. If you had told freshman LHB that in 3 years the highlight of her day would be coming home from a few hours at the library or rehearsal to cook dinner for her three male housemates, she would have spit out whatever boxed wine was in her mouth and laughed in your face until she peed a little in her pants (not enough to have to change, but like, you know, enough).
In my cooking frenzy of the past two weeks, I started to wonder, “Have there been any sexually scandalous chefs?” (Because even when not actively blogging I’m still thinking about our blog baby, ok? Blaby!) So I did some research. Turns out, no, not really. Same sort of thing as when I tried to find a scandalous mountaineer and all that showed up was that some asshole had an affair once and it wasn’t really a big deal. Except this time around, all I found was a helpful list of chefs from antiquity to the 20th century (thank you, Wiki) who were all apparently celibate. (A la Bobby Flay on account of his extreme douchery.) The problem is that very little is known about these historical chefs other than their contributions to cooking. (Although I did read about a guy who apparently committed suicide during a dinner for 2,000 people because the fish course was late. Gives a whole new meaning to “Please pack your knives and go,” doesn’t it?) But did you know that we, posterity that is, know who figured out that potatoes were edible for humans? And that there is a guy who is credited for making the first bisque?
True story. His name is Francois Pierre La Varenne and he was the first guy to write down and thus record the culinary innovations of 17th century France. Apparently French food in 16th century was cooked in the Italian tradition and used many heavy and exotic foreign spices that were popular in the Middle Ages. These zingy “ethnic” (uh oh) flavors were thrown out in favor of local herbs and vegetables. YUM! I think we all know who loves shit like that. Anyway, FPLV’s book Le Cuisinier standardized and codified French cooking for the next several hundred years. Kind of impressive. In this book, you can find the first recipe for bisque, the first instance of the concept of a reduction, the first time somebody suggested using a roux as the base for a sauce instead of breadcrumbs, and the idea that it might be better to use butter instead of lard for cooking things. DID YOU GUYS KNOW THAT SOMEBODY THOUGHT OF ALL OF THIS AND WROTE IT DOWN? I just thought that the magical kitchen gods somehow imparted that knowledge onto everyone at the Food Network who in turn told all of the world. What the fuck. Mind blown.
Unfortunately, not a lot is known about Francoise Pierre’s life. But if I were to guess, he definitely seduced and had hot kitchen sex with a princess or two while he was working in the kitchens at the court of Marie de Medici. He most likely did not waste his time trying to lay her highness because bitch was the second wife of Henry IV of France and you don’t want to mess with that shit. Even if you’re destined to write the most important cook book in history.
You guys deserve something juicier than the pear tart recipe that I’ll share with you at the end of this. (YES. IT’S COMING.) So, even though Frank Pierre didn’t engage in historio-sexual intrigue THAT WE KNOW OF, the hoity-toity people he cooked for definitely did, and we’ll talk about them for a minute so you can get your scandal fix for the week. I also feel that he’s inextricably linked with courtly scandal of the time because I like to think that some really inappropriate dining room table sex happened on or around food that he prepared.
Marie de Medici’s hubby, HIV (OH SHIT, not HIV as in positive…okay, I’ll have to write it out), Henry IV, was assassinated the day after her coronation. How convenient. She wound up acting as regent for her son Louis XIII for the next four years (convenient again). At the time of her husband’s assassination, they had already been married for 10 years . I don’t know why they do it that way. You know how the French are. And their marriage was rough, to say the least.
See, H.4 (not to be confused with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), already had a couple of mistresses from his previous marriage. If that makes any sense. The French, amiright?! And he had promised one of them, Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues, that he would marry her once his official numero uno mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrees, was dead. How French of him. But instead he married Marie de Medici (employer of Pierre, our little chef) and Catherine was not at all pleased.
In fact, she was pretty pissed off. So P-O-ed, in fact, that she was found complicit in a plot against the king that was foiled in 1606. She got off with a little slap on the wrist. “Hey, it’s bad to be involved in plots that involve killing the king/your lover (ew). Don’t let it happen again!” Catherine and Marie, mistress and wife, apparently had yelling matches in the halls of the palace where Marie was known to use “language that shocked French courtiers.” And if you’re shocking French courtiers, you know things are really saucy (food pun!). I mean, these people invented blowie jays for chrissake.
Catherine apparently didn’t listen to the little reprimand of 1606 because even though she had been taken back by the king as number one mistress, she seems to have been involved in the successful assassination plot of 1610, in which she may or may not have made a dealio with the Spanish to recognize her bastard son as King. Woopsies. Moral of the story: Kings, if you have a mistress who tried to kill you once, there’s a good chance she’ll try to do it again. Maybe banish her or something?
Because that’s exactly what mama Marie did as soon as she was named Regent. Seriously. Bitch got the crowned, signed the papers, and said “Get that whore out of France.” Then she turned to Francoise Pierre la Varenne and said, “Hey you, cook who wrote the book about the cooking. Bring me some cream puffs.” And he did.
ALSO: SHOUT-OUT TO MRG WHO TURNS 22 TODAY! (Making her the eldest and wisest scandalizer of us all.) Jason Segel, JAF and I all hope you have a great day! Happy Birthday!!
My grocery store has a sale on pears write now, so go out, buy some pears and make this:
Quick (Pear) Tart — Tart is a synonym for a loose woman and quick refers to the amount of time it takes someone to have sex. That’s why it’s funny. Explaining jokes is the worst.
- 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 2 (15 1/4-ounce) cans pear halves, keeping stem end attached, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon together. Lay puff pastry sheet on a work surface brush with melted butter and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar. Cut into 6 even pieces. Fan the pear slices over the puff pastry, using 1/2 a pear for each puff pastry square. Sprinkle tops of pear tarts with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until pastry is golden and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from tart from oven, sprinkle with cheese and bake until cheese melts, 5 minutes more.
[Insert usual apologies about absence here. It’s finals week. Get over it.]
I’m cuddled up in bed with the Michael Buble Holiday Pandora station set to an audible but not-too-loud volume, sipping some peppermint tea, thinking about writing the final paper for my European Novels class, and WHAT BETTER TIME THAN THAT to write a blog post, I always say!
I’m “writing” this paper on a little novel called Madame Bovary. Ever heard of it? Well I certainly hope so because PSYCH! this post is also going to be about that fabulously smutty novel and the elegantly mustachioed gentleman who wrote it. Mwahahaa PAPER RESEARCH TURNED BLOG POST. I’m efficient, motherfuckers. Get used to it.
For brevity’s sake (because it’s finals time, we get it, bitches, you gotta do whatchu gotta do) we’re going to skip over Gustave’s Flaubert’s childhood and life/career in general and just talk about the good stuff. He only had one major romantic relationship in his life, and that was with a poet-lady named Louise Colet. Colet was a righteous bitch who I just fell in love with after skimming her Wiki page. A couple years before she and Gustave started touching parts, she gave birth to a daughter, and neither her husband nor her lover (woops!) would say they were the baby-daddy. After all of her lovers (she had like four or five, not including Flaubert) kicked the bucket, she supported herself and her daughter by writing poetry. How cool is that?? Anyway, Flaubert and Colet were getting it on for, like 8 years, so it was a good chunk of time. Especially considering she was married and had an unclaimed love-baby for all of that time. After that extended tryst ended, Flaubert left Paris and moved back in with his mommy in Croisset near Rouen.
He apparently had a mistress or two before he died, but he never married and nothing with those bitches was every as serious as it was with Louise. He did, however, know (biblically speaking) probably hundreds of prostitutes. Male and Female. And he was really open about it. He wrote all about his sexploits with prostitutes from all over the world in his letters home – hopefully not to his mother, but who knows. According to such epistolary accounts, a young Turkish girl gave him a pesky cancher sore on his penis, he had anal sex with a male prostitute from Egypt who was “pock-marked” and wore a turban, and he contracted syphilis in Beirut. It was like the UN of STDs up in there.
The real scandalosity of Flaubert’s life came upon the publication of his greatest work (arguably), Madame Bovary. I would highly recommend not reading further if you have not read the book and you plan to do so at some point. Because you don’t want this shit ruined. It’s fucking juicy. Unless you don’t care, in which case, fuck it, we’ll do it live, amiright? But don’t blame me for spoiling the ending if you keep reading, MMKAY?
So, MB is published and people fucking love it. Women all over France are like, “This bitch is me! I’m Madame fucking Bovary!” And Flaubert is like, “Non non non non, Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” (He really did say that – I don’t make everything up, I swear.) But the authoritee, the man, the homme, if you will, is like, “Whooooah whooahh there, Gus, you can’t publish shit like this. Bitch has the loosest morals since, like, Eve, and she’s your heroine. Not cool.”
So the homme is like, “See you in court, son.” Because people said shit like that before SVU. And in 1856, before its extended publication, he was sued for having written the obscenity that was Madame Bovary. And guess what his defense was that allowed him to walk away and the book to become a bestseller and one of the most influential novels in history! “I killed the bitch!” How could Flaubert be condoning the character of Emma Bovary if he gave her the axe in the end? The scandal surrounding the trial made the novel’s release infinitely more popular than it would have been, probably. So joke’s on them!
If you stopped reading before because you didn’t want the book ruined, you can join us again.
Flaubert, I have come to grudgingly (since I didn’t like this class so much) realize, was a genius. I found out that he coined my favorite expression of all time, “God is in the details.” And when you read MB, you can really tell what he meant by that. The hyperdetail of MB creates a reality that is fucking holy, if you ask me. He was a perfectionist, not in his sexual health necessarily, but in his writing, and used to say “There is no such thing as a synonym, there is always a perfect word.”
Apparently I have wasted hours of my life trying to come up with synonyms for “boning.”