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.
Happy Memorial Day, scandal lovers! I hope you’re getting yourself prepped for what appears to be (at least on the eastern seaboard) an historically chilly final weekend in May, because, you know, spring, whatever. Light that grill, thaw those processed meat products, and head on down to your closest Norman Rockwell reallifepaintingtownplace and remember to forget that today is about veterans.
Ok, woah, #sorry, pause, no, I’m not making a blanket statement (though we here at for shame! love blanket statements) about how maybe kinda sorta the last Monday in May has become more of a balls-to-the-wall celebration of all things America, rather than a relatively somber occasion to honor those who died serving in our armed forces, despite numerous flag ceremonies, public addresses, and various local military parades and demonstrations. But let’s be real, when it’s nice outside, anything goes so long as it’s garbed in the red, white and blue. And while no parade is a true parade without the participation of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, this blog at least deals in “history” of “things,” such as the true meaning of Christmas Memorial Day. And we talk also about sex scandals. And this post elegantly combines both!!
So in honor of both the armed services of the United States of America, and our blog mantra (blantra)— re: the loving recitation of history, warts and all—I bring you a double-header of historical military sexploits.
*Also, disclaimer, I apologize that this post in particular is riddled with Arrested Development (Easter) eggs. I’m just so excited to look at fourth season, Michael.
TOM DOOLEY (I) PUTS THE SYPH IN SYPH-IL WAR (not our best, but it’s a holiday after all)
So first on the docket is a FUN FACT: Memorial Day was originally conceived in remembrance of the sacrifice of soldiers in the Civil War, with my very own alma mater spearheading the movement in the immediate aftermath of the war. Thus, truly, madly, topically, we come to our first Tom of the day (and I don’t know about the rest of you, but he sure ain’t gonna be the last ifyouknowwhatImsayinIthinkyoudouptopfordrunkbonfiresyesssssanyway).
Thomas C. Dula (pronounced “Dooley” in the local twang) was an impoverished Confederate solider from North Carolina with an early taste for tail—aided, I can only imagine, by his brand loyalty to Dapper Dan pomade. Though his age at the time is unknown, he was apparently nailing the literal girl-next-door, Ann Foster, when she was 14. He failed to put a ring on it, and Ann married a man named James Melton in 1859. Tom and James both fought in the war, and were both taken prisoner, both survived and probably got some sweet scars and sweeter prison tats, you know how it goes.
But as soon as Tom, dat rascal, got back home, he got right back to riding that
But, as Tom knew, one is never enough, so why not keep your dick in the family? Pretty soon he hopped on one Laura Foster’s poontrain, Ann’s cousin.
Laura started to grow some bellyfruit, which was probably Tom’s, and he promised to marry her. So she set off one morning in 1866, apparently to rendezvous for their elopement, but was never seen again. WoooOOOOoooOOOOO!!!! *flashlight waving*
While there are multiple folkloric suppositions as to who did what why, the simple fact remained that Laura was dead, her body dumped somewhere, and Tom probably did it because he had commitment issues, or Ann did it because she was jeal. It was as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.
See, Tom thought Laura had given him the syph while they were riding the bonercoaster, and that was just plain rude. He actually in fact may have caught it from ANOTHER Foster, Pauline, who was treated by the same doctor that testified both Tom and Ann had it, then passed it to Laura. But either way, Tom passed it on to Ann, then she to James, and this is how you get those terrifying charts they have in Health Centers were you just want some goddamn aspirin rather than a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that sure as shit isn’t your hangover. Jesus, kids these days.
Anywho, the novelty of a murder in a relatively small community, combined with all the Sex and the Appalachian Trail stuff going on, made the case supah famous. Tom fled to Tennessee, but was brought back for trial (represented by Zebulon Vance, who is the absolute tits, as far as living Faulkner characters go). Tom testified that Ann had nothing to do with it all (cause that’s love, guys), and though he maintained his innocence throughout, he was executed by the state after two years of imprisonment, in 1868.
Subsequently, a romanticized mythos grew up around the story, with poems and ballads composed even to this day. Because what’s more romantic than boning half the chicks in town, then killing the one you knocked up. America, amirite?
TOM DOOLEY (II) PUTS THE GAY IN MILITARY RE-GAY-LIA (again, cf ‘holiday.’ )
And on a brief, slightly more reverent note, our second Mr. Thomas Dooley was a humanitarian and author, and openly homosexual Navy physician.
According to those close to him, while his sexuality was never discussed, Dooley made little or no effort to conceal it, and openly carried on relationships with other men from adolescence onward, even exploiting his appeal to other gay officers in order to receive choice assignments after joining the Navy in 1944.
After med school, Dooley worked in refugee camps in Vietnam, and became a symbol of Asian-American cooperation and humanitarianism, despite having also been a CIA informant. In 1956 he wrote a book about his experiences in Laos in the 1950s, and while on press tour, he was investigated for homosexual activities and forced to resign from the military. He returned to Asia independently, then was forced back to the US by malignant melanoma, dying in 1961.
Openly flamboyant, and also openly and devoutly religious, he was even considered for canonization, received a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal, and JFK cited Dooley’s example when he launched the Peace Corps. I mean, there’s no two ways about it—you’re a good man, Tom Dooley.
So yes, we joke a lot, but this piece is dedicated with genuine honor and deepest gratitude to those who gave their lives so that I could live in country where I am both allowed the education which introduced me to history and humor, as well as the freedom to express my opinion without fear. I can never truly thank you.
Do you remember the days before women started to get all into suffrage and employment and shit? Good times, am I right? Those were the days of the 1910s Gibson Girl. The Gibson girl, with her long, curly locks plopped neatly atop her head, sporting her cover-all-but-still-sort-of-erotic-dress was, above all, a LADY. She enjoyed activities like sewing. And having unprotected, post-marital sex. And do you know how how the image of the Gibson Girl got off (ha!) the ground? I’ll tell you. A man named Charles Gibson drew a picture of a woman named Evelyn Nesbit (who ended up not being so into waiting ’til marriage, if you know what I mean) and called the picture “Gibson Girl.”
Yeah. Shit was that simple. He just drew this nice little picture of Evelyn, named it after himself, and a whole generation of women suddenly adopted this one image as the symbol of their collective, cultural identities. Pretty fucked up when you think about it. But then the 20s happened and shit got crazy and the Gibson Girl faded into obscurity. And then a really sad time happened called the 30s. Ah, the trajectories of history.
Yes, ok! We’ll get back to the scandal part because I know you’re just DYING to know what happens. Speaking of which, you know who was DYING to get into Gibson Girl #1, Evelyn Nesbit’s, lacy panties? Architect Stanford White of famed architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White is who. No, literally. He died. Because of getting into her panties. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Evelen Nesbit (sorry she’s not male, but at least she’s white, you racists) led a pretty unlady-like, un-gibson girlian life involving, as you may have gathered from the above teaser-paragraph, a sizable portion of scandalosity. When she was 16, in 1901, she and her mom moved into a tiny apartment on the Lower West Side. Since they were hurtin’ for squirtin’ (that means they needed money, right?), Evelyn convinced her mom to let her go into modeling to help pay the bills. She was really hot. Like really fucking hot. Like, I’m getting a tingling sensation all over just looking at these pictures of her. So, like a boss, she booked work straight away posing for artists and photographers. (She modeled in some of America’s first newspaper fashion advertisements and editorials!) When she first modeled for Charles Gibson, he did a drawing of her profile called “The Eternal Question.” It looks just like a question mark. He was really creative and not at all unoriginal with his titles.
So, right after she settles into modeling life, and starts performing as a chorus girl in big vaudeville shows. So big famous architect and womanizer Stanford White sees her in one of these acts and he’s like, “Evie, come play on my swing.” And she’s like, 16 and she doesn’t know what’s going on, so she’s like, “is that, like, a euphemism for something?” And he’s like, “no, really, check it out, it’s literally a red velvet swing that I like to push girls on while they’re not wearing many clothes slash totally naked. cool?” She was like, “I like swings (because I was a child just a few years ago) but I don’t think so, mister.” So they didn’t really do anything the first time she visited his creepy fucking apartment in a tower overlooking Manhattan, complete with (1) a red-velvet-draped room with a plush swing hanging from the ceiling and (2) a room that had mirrors for walls.
I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Long story short, they see each other for a while, and at the risk of using my least favorite word which starts with a V and ends in an IRGINITY, she loses it to him and later claims in her memoirs that he’s the only man she ever really loved. But they didn’t get married, they just did it a bunch. OH! Did I mention that when this was happening she was 16 and he was 47? Yeah. At least he was under 50, though. Am I right, ladies?!
It gets better still. She’s working as a chorus girl now, she’s like 17, and this major cutie, John Barrymore starts sending her flowers backstage. And he’s her age, so that’s an improvement, at least. But White (who’s creepily acting like a surrogate father) and her mother don’t like Barrymore so they are in cahoots now and send Evie off to a boarding school (run by Cecil B. DeMille’s mom. Weird.) Barrymore proposes but she declines his offer because…
Then she meets another fucking mensch of a man. A real winner if ever I saw one. That Evelyn could really could pick ’em. Henry Kendall Thaw was an abusive kabillionaire motherfucker who carried a pistol around (in case anyone looked at his main bitch the wrong way), was obsessive about the minutia of Evie’s relationship with White, and enjoyed jerking off while whipping women (like Evie) and the occasional pubescent teenage boy. WITH A WHIP. In case that wasn’t clear. Like I said, a great fucking dude. So she married him. Cuz why not?
I’m getting to WHY NOT, so keep your panties on.
So the adorable (disgusting) couple is out for a lovely evening at the Madison Square Garden roof theatre (which White designed, NBD) to see a performance of Mam’Zelle Champagne. During the song “I could love a million girls,” our prince of a man, Thaw pulls out his good ol’ pistol that he was always packing, and shoots White in the face 3 times, screaming either (1) “You’ve ruined my life” or the even more interesting (2) “You’ve ruined my WIFE.” No one knows for sure what he said, but the people who were there swear he said “wife.” This goes back to our Gibson Girl theme which is that bitch was supposed to be emBODYing a certain social ideal of femininity. Not bumpin’ and grinding her pre-marital, 16-year-old BODY all over a 47 year old, if ya know what i mean.
Thaw went to court, plead temporary insanity and got away with it because Evelyn was bribed by Thaw’s mommy to testify that White had raped her and that Thaw was merely avenging her honor. She did it, but never got any of the one million dollah that “Mother Thaw” had promised her. Thaw was incarcerated in a mental hospital in 1906 and then judged sane in 1915 and let go. Like, into the world. Into society. Where people live.
During Thaw’s comically limited time in the hospital, Evelyn had herself a baby. WOOPS! She went to her grave swearing the baby was her husband’s, but I’m going to go ahead and call Bull Shit on that one since he was sort of kind of locked up in a mental institution for the “criminally insane.”
Like many Gibson Girls, Evelyn adapted to the 20s poorly. She did get herself into the talkies performing in a few films alongside her little son (who later fucking won WWII, NBD). But she was never quite the hot little thing that she was during her Gibson Girl Golden Years. Her later life was marked with numerous suicide attempts, an addiction to morphine, and a whole lot of alcohol.
On the bright side, the woman had excellent choice in men, though. And by excellent I mean really horrible.
We want to give a shout-out to reader, sex-scandal-enthusiast, and our main bitch, Lauren for SUGGESTING THIS SCANDAL.
Listen up. It’s time for our last installment of what has been a comically unpopular Week of Diversity. Site views have been at an all time low throughout what we thought would be an enlightening 7 days of multicultural scandal. But it’s fine. We get it. You’re not into it. We’ll get back to writing about white men just as soon as this post is over. But if you would indulge us, do read these last few words…
Because for the first time, we’re headed to east Asia! To China! You know, the place where a lot of Jackie Chan movies are set and where Lo Mein was invented. And we’re going further into history than we have dared until this moment. We’re going BC, bitches! That’s right, 2nd century BC China was a land and time rife with sex, scandal, and a whole lot of murderous court plots that put my boyHenry VIII and his clan to shame.
So, we’ve set the scene. It’s China, it’s 180 years or so before Jesus (not to bring Him into it, but I know how much you guys love white guys), and shit’s going down in the empire. But before the Orient goes all awry, a minor official named Liu Bang marries a woman named Lu Zhi who seemed really nice and sweet at the time. They have two kids, and then fast forward a tiny bit, this little kerfuffle (okay, more like a war) happens, and it’s led by none other than our man, Bang. And it ends with the people in power getting ousted onto their royal patooties.
Bang manages to become the Emperor after winning a follow-up war with his former partner. Who ended up poetically committing suicide by a river. Which looks like a fucking dream compared to the shit that’s about to happen. So sit the fuck down and keep reading.
Bang settles down into Imperial life nicely. Names his DUMPLING of a wife, Lu, Empress, and names their son, Liu Ying, the Crown Prince. He starts pimpin, like the best emperors so aptly do, and starts adding some sexy bitches to his harem and they start making him some more babies.
Lu is sent to rule a far-away province with her son, and starts flexing her political muscles there. She becomes BFFs with her husbands officials who admire her for her ruthlessness. (I know what you’re thinking – “what ruthlessness? she seems so sweet, so kind, so motherly” – well, shhhh, just wait). Starting during her time ruling the outer provinces, she was involved in a number of elaborate plots to trick and murder her husband’s enemies. And by “involved in,” what I mean is, she was the fucking mastermind behind it all.
Meanwhile, Bang starts bangin’ a concubine named Qi, and she has a son named Ruyi. So Qi is like, “Ohh hey, Bang, ooohh, look at my boobies, oh and by the way, don’t you think my son Ruyi would make suuuuch a good crown prince?? Oooooh yeahhh,” and then she probably gave him a BlowJ. The emperor really did consider the idea, probably because of Qi’s world-class BJs, but also because his son and heir Liu Ying was sort of a pussy. Ultimately all of his top officials were too tight with (or afraid of) Empress Lu to support the idea, so he abandoned it and then shortly after died.
So now Empress Lu becomes the Empress Dowager (that means mommy of Emperor) and she writes a To Do list that probably looks something like this:
- Start affair with dead husband’s trusted friend and adviser.
- Fucking fuck up everyone who is a threat to my emperor/son.
It was a short list, but not one to waist time, she set to it straight away. Almost immediately after her husband’s death, she started an affair with one of her husband’s ministers. I like to imagine that they did a lot of BDSM stuff, cuz how could you not if you were banging the most blood-thirsty empress-mommy the world had ever known? But when she wasn’t busy shacking up with her man-toy, she was focusing on priority number two. And first on the list of people to fuck up were Consort Qi and her son Ruyi.
So, get this. She forces Qi to wear peasant clothes and perform hard labor, like milling rice. And then she’s like, “Yeah, do that for a while and I’ll deal with you later, bitch.” Then she’s like, “All right, how do I get to Ruyi?” So she invites him to court and is planning some sort of “accident” to occur on his journey there, but HER son, the EMPEROR is actually a good guy!! And he’s like, “Mom! Dad really loved Ruyi, I’m going to have him at court for a while and I really like him, he’s my half brother, so stop trying to kill him, will ya?!” She obviously didn’t listen to him, but decided to lay low for a while and wait til her son, the Emperor, wasn’t around to make her move. A few months after Ruyi arrived at court, the emperor was like, “Hey dude, come hunting with me, it’ll be sick.” And he was like, “Fuck, man, it’s really early. I’m just gonna chill in bed.” And then they did their secret handshake and the emperor went out on his hunting trip. Empress Lu was like, “Mwahahhahaaaa” and immediately sent her favorite assassin to force poisoned wine down the 12-year-old’s throat.
Then Lu was like, “Now what did I do with that whore? Oh right! She’s out in the rice fields.” So she grabs Qi and has her tortured. And by tortured, what I mean is she has her limbs cut off, blinds her and deafens her and throws her in a pig’s trough. The emperor walks in on this and promptly voms and then was sort of sick in the head for at least a year. He was never really the same at all after that, conveniently leaving our cunning little Empress Dowager to rule the empire as regent.
Those are, in my opinion, the highlights of her 16 years of ruthless, bloody, sexy, scandalous rule, but she did some other really fucked up shit. I’ll just quickly share a few of them since this post is starting to get lengthy.
- She forced her son to get married, and when they didn’t have any kids, she suggested the reasonable solution that they adopt 8 children and then have all 8 mothers executed.
- She had another of her husband’s sons starved to death for slighting his wife/her niece.
- She attempted to kill another of her husband’s sons by poisoning his glass of wine before a toast, but then HER SON figured that shit out, grabbed the cup, put it up to his lips and she sprung out her chair and knocked the glass from his hands. Awkward.
- When she was grand-Empress Dowager, she had one of the royal adoptive grandchildren imprisoned and declared ill and unfit after he badmouthed her in public and brought up the whole executed-mom debacle.
- She died of some sort of armpit cancer that she believed was given to her by a magic blue dog apparition.
We realize that Lu’s story does not involve one, big, cathartic sex scandal. And that is what we profess to do, so I apologize that this entry sort of strays from our mission. But she was too good to pass up. And, shall I mention that while she was getting her murder on, she was also getting it on adulterously for a long-ass time. So I think it should still count. She was having sex, killing people, and ruling an empire all at the same time. If you ask me, Bitch was one of history’s most talented multi-taskers.
We also want to just offer a quick apology about the lack of socioeconomic diversity that we have shown this week. Nearly every perpetrator of diversity week has been the member of some royal family or another, and for that we are sorry.
But, it’s just like, really hard to find poor minorities to talk about, you know?
Royal families are sort of known for producing unattractive (hideous) people, mostly due to inbreeding. But every once in a while, a king and his queen, a prince and his princess, a marquis and his marchioness get busy and nine months later a true hottie is born.
And Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria was a fine piece of historical ass.
Look at that fucking baby face. That sexy modern crew cut. That ruffly-ass high collar. Actually, he was sixteen when this photo was taken, sooo…that’s a little “problematic” to use a very pedological and meaningless word. But whatever, this hot sixteen-year-old grew into this fine specimen of Eastern European inbreeding:
YUM. But a historical figure, however ostensibly attractive, is only as sexy as his salacious life. Lucky for us, young Rudy was involved in a very fatal, very sexy scandal in 1889.
Rudolf was the son of Habsburg emperor Franz Josef I and the Elisabeth of Bavaria (who has her own fantastic and scandalous story, but unfortunately it was more sad than sexy). He grew up outside of Vienna, where he and his sister were raised by their granny, and where, like a true nerd, he cultivated an extensive collection of rocks and minerals. Next time you’re in Vienna, hit up the University for Agriculture and check those geologic wonders out. I know I will.
His sister, Gisela, was his best friend, and when she was married off to some Bavarian VIP shit got real emotional. To top things off, Rudy and Papa Franz had a strained relationship, because Rudy was a liberal go-getter and his dad was an old conservative stick-in-the-mud.
So you know, by the time Rudolf married Princess Stephanie (which is a name I didn’t think existed before the 1980s) of Belgium, whom he apparently really liked, trouble was a-brewing in the Hofburg palace. His mother didn’t make things any better when she called young Steph a “clumsy oaf.” Ouch.
Needless to say, Rudy had a lot on his plate. Apart from the family tension, he was being groomed to be an emperor. That’s a serious fucking job. So it might not be surprising that after a few years of marriage he did his duty and knocked Stephanie up with an heir (female…too bad), and then just sort of said, “Fuck it. I’m a royal hottie, I’m here, get used to it.” And by that I mean he drank a lot of booze and smoked a lot of opium and boned a lot of ladies.
One of those ladies was seventeen-year-old Mary Vetsera, who was a Baroness and a hottie in her own right. Her real name was Marie, but she Anglicized that shit right up to seem more fashionable. Her father’s status as a baron afforded her a great opportunity to work it at the Hofburg palace, and her mother pushed her to get her flirt on with Rudolf, who by this time was thirty years old, had contracted syphilis and was having seizures on the regular. What a catch!
Although the plan was for Mary to seduce Rudolf, she soon became infatuated by him, as most teenage girls would be. He was a tortured, sexy older man who was also going to rule the country. But whereas she loved and venerated him, he was just sort of looking for another girl to bone. And bone they did, sometime in January of 1889, and that’s when shit got real.
Rudy had recently bought a huge hunting lodge in Mayerling, Austria. He was getting a little cabin fever in the Hofburg, so he called my girl up and said, “Hey bitch, what’s good this weekend? Wanna hit up my tricked out lodge in Mayerling?” And she was like, “Omigod YAHH!” And they headed out into the countryside on a nice little getaway.
And then, on the morning of January 30, they were both found dead. Because there’s no better way to christen your brand new vacation house than with a double homicide!
There’s been a LOT of speculation as to what happened. The official report stated that Franz Josef had argued with his son earlier that week about his affair, and Rudolf killed Mary and himself at Mayerling in reaction. There wasn’t a gunshot wound on Mary’s body (but a gun was Rudolf’s weapon of choice) and a lot of people think that their deaths were the result of a suicide pact.
Rudolf was truly a tormented soul, and some historians think he had been looking for someone with whom he could form a suicide pact for a while, including a Viennese prostitute who politely declined. Reports have surfaced that suggest that Mary wrote several suicide notes in the weeks leading up to the Mayerling incident, and that the pact was long-standing. What really puzzles people is that the coroners easily determined that Mary died first, and Rudolf waited six to eight hours to kill himself after her death. Really. Just sat next to a dead person for six to eight hours. That’s a long-ass time.
However it happened, the Habsburgs had a serious PR situation on their hands. Mary’s body was smuggled out of the lodge and buried quietly at a nearby convent. Officials tried to spread the story that Rudolf died of a heart attack, but the Austrian people saw right through that shit and news of the suicide spread faster than you can say “Wiener schnitzel.” Ultimately, the family had to request a special dispensation citing Rudolf’s “mental imbalance” from the Pope so that they could bury him in the Imperial Crypt. Ahh, euphemisms.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Mayerling incident was scandalous in itself, but it also fucked up all kinds of shit in the Habsburg line of succession as well as in the royal family’s relationship. Rudolf’s mother, Elisabeth, grew incredibly distant from Franz Josef, and was randomly murdered nine years after Mayerling. And a few days after the incident, Rudolf’s brother Karl Ludwig, the heir presumptive, renounced the throne like a bitch, putting his son next in line. His son Franz Ferdinand. WHOOPSIES. I’m sure that LHB, First World War enthusiast that she is, would be glad to explain the enormous pile of shit that Europe found itself in as a result of Rudolf’s depression.
The story has been immortalized on the stage and in film, most famously by Omar Sharif, Catherine Denevue, and Ava Gardner in the 1968 film “Mayerling.” All-star cast, no-star title.
As with so many scandalous historical happenings, we’ll never know what exactly happened that fateful January evening. I mean, six to eight hours? Really? I like to think that Rudolf used that time to have a couple snacks, read some books, watch some Real Housewives. But we’ll just never know.
What we’ll always know is that despite the adultery, substance abuse, possible murderous and definite suicidal tendencies, Crown Prince Rudolf was one criminally hot Rhinelander.
Sam Cooke was murdered at the age of 33. Same age that Jesus was when he died. Coincidence? Probably. Or probably not?
But he did have the voice of a god. So fucking smooth. And soulful. Sam Cooke was a soulful-ass singer in the late 1950s and early 1960s, known for the old standards as well as some fucking great Civil Rights era, socially conscious songs that may or may not make me wish I wasn’t Caucasian sometimes. I LITERALLY cannot recommend enough that you go out to your nearest record store (because there are so many of those still in business these days) and purchase Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend IMMEDIATELY. Immediately. It’s really just sublime.
Obviously I have a soft spot for this man. Because in addition to melting the hearts of millions with his velvety-ass voice, he was also VERY attractive.
And Sam Cooke was the victim of a juicy and SEXY scandal.
Let’s set the scene. December 1964. The Hacienda Motel, Los Angeles. Sam checks in with a one Ms. Elisa Boyer, who may or may not have been a prostitute. Which is a teensy bit difficult, because Sam was married. Oops! Also when they met earlier in the evening, she claims that he maybe sort of forced her to go to the motel. Double oops! And that he threw her onto the bed and she was convinced he was going to rape her. But he didn’t! Instead he stepped into the bathroom (you know, to freshen up), and girlfriend grabbed her clothes and in her haste, Sam’s clothes, and got the hell out of dodge before he came back out. She then says that she ran to the locked manager’s office, but bitch took too long to answer, so she ran to a phone booth and called the police.
When Sam noticed that she wasn’t there, he was just a smidge upset. He was probably also a little pissed that all she left him was a sport coat and AN single shoe (seriously, look at the picture below).
So Sam, looking for his lady friend, headed downstairs to the manager’s office after putting on his remaining clothes. Said manager, Bertha Franklin, claims that Sam grabbed her violently demanding to know where Boyer went. There was some grappling, and in self defense, she went ahead and shot him in the torso. Fatally. Sam’s eloquent last words: “Lady, you shot me!” And then just to you know, make sure she was REALLY defending herself, she beat the shit out him with a broomstick.
So all this makes him seem like kind of a bad guy, right? And I, in turn, seem sort of fucking weird for finding him so hot. But here’s the thing. Elisa Boyer was a shady, shady bitch. Her testimony (outlined above) is the only account of what happened between she and Sam that night. There were major inconsistencies between her story and the reports of other witnesses. Sam had thousands of dollars in his pocket that went missing. She was arrested for prostitution soon after the incident. A lot of people (probably also maybe myself included) think that she went to the motel willingly, knowing he had lots of cash money because he was famous, and tried to rob him and slip out quietly like a bitch. And theft would explain why young Sam was so angry (and also probably embarrassed on account of being naked) when he got to the manager’s office.
Lots of people (and by that I mean his family and friends, but you know, lots) think that there was a major conspiracy surrounding his death. And interestingly, Etta James, equally vocally talented and one of the strongest strong black women in history, identified his body in the morgue, naturally. And she asserts that there’s absolutely no way a single woman could inflict the nasty nasty wounds that she saw. We’re talking near-decapatation.
So, there it is. And let’s review:
He was a voice for the downtrodden.
He was sort of the messiah of soul. I mean he pioneered it, so same thing.
He was tempted by sin.
He was with a prostitute.
It was Christmastime (Easter would have been better, but I’ll take it).
He was only wearing one piece of clothing.
He was 33.
One could feasibly say that he died a martyr’s death.
Did Bertha Franklin singlehandedly quash the Second Coming? I don’t know. But I do know that I just made up eight things that make him seem like a lot less of a bastard and a lot more like Jesus.
Long long ago in the fall of 2010, we bloggers met studying abroad in England. Our program was excellent, specifically in that it involved a lot of study trips to old houses and castles and shit, which stimulated our love of history and also enabled our shameless need to constantly be hilarious (whether other people think so or not). How are old houses funny, you ask? WELL I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.
See, every time we entered an eighteenth-century country house or a medieval castle, we’d ask blogger LHB something ridiculous, stifling giggles. As in, “Hey, LHB, could you please talk about the significance of electrical outlets like this one during the English Renaissance?” to which LHB would reply, “Well I’m glad you asked. Everyone knows that electricity was popularized in the 1560s by Queen Elizabeth’s court electrician…” and hilarity would ensue. LHB is such a wealth of knowledge that everything she told us was absolutely 100% factual. So factual that it was fucking hilarious.
Okay, maybe you don’t see the hilarity yet, but you will. Because we’ve decided that Well I’m Glad You Asked will be For Shame’s first feature!
So in an effort to be seasonally appropriate, the inaugural Well I’m Glad You Asked is transcribed from a Facebook message between JAF and myself:
MRG: i can’t wait. and it might or might not be st. patrick’s day when we go to [there], which means…well, you know.
JAF: wait, what is this “st patrick’s day?” I don’t understand.
MRG: well i’m so glad you asked…
st. patrick was the original name of the st. bernard dog breed, but st. bernard killed st. patrick (who was italian) over a game of bocce. i mean st. patrick was italian, so he was really, really good at bocce. so good that he could win while eating gelato and flirting with unwilling young women simultaneously, because that’s what italians do according to cultural stereotypes.
so st. bernard, being un-italian, had a significant handicap. and he practiced and practiced and practiced, but he still lost.
and so great was his anger that when st. patrick won, st. bernard killed him by pulverizing his head with a bocce ball. and then to rub salt in the wound, he went to the american kennel club (which absolutely existed in this unspecified time) and got the name of the st. patrick breed changed to st. bernard. and because the dogs had been so loyal to st. patrick when he was alive, st. bernard punished his newly-eponymous pups by sending them into the alps, where he ruthlessly forced them to carry heavy barrels full of bourbon or whiskey around their necks through the snow, just to be a huge douche.
so that’s why we have st. patrick’s day. it’s a day of remembrance. for the dogs. and I guess also for st. patrick. and we drink a lot of alcohol on this day to metaphorically lighten the load of the poor st. patrick/st. bernard dogs up in the alps.
So there you have it, the first edition of Well I’m Glad You Asked. And shit’s so seasonal.