So let's move on to a general contemplation of humanity and its body hair:
It is hard in the West to recall that there was a brief moment when the ladygarden was left untended, and the female body celebrated and desired in its natural state. The actress Sienna Miller is now filming Hippy Hippy Shake, a movie about the Oz magazine trial, and photos have circulated of her naked, except for obligatory flowers in her hair. And yet for all the effortful re-creation of the Sixties, one glaring anachronism remains: the Hitler moustache of a Brazilian wax, which marks Miller out as a totally 21st-century girl. Perhaps Hair and Make-up couldn't manage a merkin.Oh, yeah, I remember those hippies. Remember:
Give me down to there hairWhat was the "there" there, if not... "the ladygarden"? It says everywhere. Could it be any plainer?
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy
Shining, gleaming,"Waxen" didn't mean you should be waxing your hair off. It meant it was fine for it to be waxy.
Streaming, flaxen, waxen
Here's the video for the song. You know, I remember when they were filming "Hair" in Central Park, and the call went out for people with a lot of hair to come out and be extras. I considered going — I looked like this around that time — but I was too busy or too aloof or — oh, who knows what I was thinking about in the mid-70s.
Back to the main article:
But then around the mid-90s some mysterious memo went out to twentysomething women that it was no longer sufficient to tidy the “bikini line” so it didn't cascade down the inner thigh like a spider plant.Oh, yeah, before the mid-90s, you could wear a bikini and reveal pubic hair growing all down your legs! [CORRECTION: Ha, ha. I misread that.]
Let's get the history straight. The bikini hair that caused a stir in the mid-90s was brimming over the top like this — on the cover of The Black Crowes album "Amorica." Even The Black Crowes didn't go for the down to there hair — and neither did anyone in the 70s. Not in a bathing suit anyway.
(Hmmm.... maybe you could in Britain.)
The gyms of Britain were suddenly full of women waxed into weeny welcome mats, with all the stubble, bruises, pimpled hair follicles and burst blood vessels that accompany this excruciating sexifying of the sex.Now, I'm thinking of this banned album cover. (More banned album covers here.)
Like a trend for comedy-size breast implants, inflatable lips, hair extensions, extreme nails and high street daywear revealing more tittage than a ten-quid hooker, waxing filtered down from the porn industry. Here defuzzing makes the action, as it were, easier to follow. And for male performers depilation adds the illusion of an extra inch. Maybe Hitchens had that in mind.
And don't you love Wikipedia? Check out the luxuriantly detailed article "Merkin." President Merkin Muffley — the (bald) President of the United States in "Dr. Strangelove" — came easily to mind for me. But there's so much more:
The narrator, Humbert Humbert, in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), recalls, "Although I told myself I was looking merely for a soothing presence, a glorified pot-au-feu, an animated merkin, what really attracted me to Valeria was the imitation she gave of a little girl."Lots more at the link.
Pynchon, in Gravity's Rainbow, says, "He wears a false cunt and merkin of sable both handcrafted...by the notorious Mme. Ophir."...
The 1969 film Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? written by and starring Anthony Newley, is a veritable cornucopia of dirty-joke names. In addition to the two in the title, there's a character (played by Joan Collins), named Polyester Poontang.
Pearl Jam and Neil Young released a two-song companion to Mirror Ball called Merkin Ball....
In an episode of Family Guy, an advertising agent offers Joe Swanson a car, his pants and a merkin so that he will sign up for an advertising contract....
On the 1967 Chess LP The Baroques by the Milwaukee band of the same name, the word "merkin" is heard in the song "Bicycle." The lyric is "...I'll take back the merkin I gave you for Christmas, and you'll be sorry when the wind gets cold, 'cause it'll be hanging from the aerial of my bicycle...."