Merkins!

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Well, hello everyone. Nice to see you back (if you are back; just nice to see you if you’ve only just arrived).

Becca, who blogs at Lady or Not challenged me to write about merkins, so that is what I am going to do.

You’d think, from the name, that a merkin was an item of clothing, maybe something like a short jacket, or jerkin, possibly made of moleskin. (Oh, and by the way – moleskin isn’t necessarily made out of moleskin. It’s a cotton fabric with a short nap, and it’s now available in colours that I’m pretty sure actual moles never have been.)

Or maybe something to do with the current German Chancellor.

However, a Merkel in a jerkin does not equal a merkin.

A merkin is actually a pubic wig (yes, really) and can be worn for a variety of reasons. Merkins have been around since the middle of the 15th century, when they were used by prostitutes. A merkin was a useful item for those who had shaved their pubic hair to discourage lice, or for those whose venereal disease might have disfigured the relevant area. Of the two, I tend to prefer the first theory, since the existence of merkins would seem to predate the introduction of syphilis from the New World in 1492. Although there has been discussion about whether syphilis did exist in Europe prior to Christopher Columbus’ journey, the current balance of evidence seems to indicate that it did not.

More recently, merkins have been worn by actresses whose own pubic hair is not right for the role, either because of modern waxing or electrolysis or due to being the wrong colour. Merkins have also been worn by male actors, sometimes to aid in playing a female part. Stretching the definition a little, one might consider the fig leaves present on paintings and statues of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to represent the first merkins! Merkins are now also marketed as a way for a couple to spice up their sex life, similar to any other deliberately provocative item of intimate apparel. They can be fixed in place either with gum, or by the use of a transparent thong.

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