Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Many Mysteries of Hair-Dressing (part II)

It's time for more lovely random facts as I scour the libraries, archives, and internet for more information to use in my dissertation. I found the following particularly entertaining:

In his 1885 address to a medical convention, John Daniel Cunningham - speaking of the hair - related the following two anecdotes:
"According to Suidas, who lived in the tenth century, the Athenian ladies became very sensitive to their inferiority to man in this respect [not having facial hair], and tried hard to cultivate hair on the cheek and chin. In many cases they went so far as to wear false beards."
"In London, in 1858, a young woman of twenty had considerable difficulty in persuading a clergyman to perform the marriage ceremony in consequence of her possessing a bushy beard four inches long."

I ask myself here; who was the man willing to take this bearded beauty to the altar? I know I've mentioned Victorians and their "great big bushy beards", to put it as Inspector Frank Butterman did in Hot Fuzz, but still: I can't imagine any Victorian man with his belief that his facial hair confirmed his own virility wanting a wife whose stubbly growth could rival his! Perhaps if more suffragettes had sported sizeable soup-strainers, men would have assumed that women weren't so different after all as to not deserve the vote. Alas, the world will never know. The only use to which bearded women were put (aside from our above bushy bride-to-be who, presumably, cooked her husband a fine meal every night once she'd come back to the church with a close shave) was as a freak side-show act in circuses.

No comments:

Post a Comment