fake fashions

Oh the things we do in the name of fashion

In the 18th century it was considered fashionable to wear fake eyebrows made from mouse skin! As mice were caught they were skinned and cleaned and shaped into eyebrows which the well-to-do and fashion plates of the times glued over their real brows. Unfortunately, the heat of the ballroom sometimes caused them to slip.

Rich women seeking rejuvenation for their fading beauty visited Madame Rachel of New Bond Street. She opened her salon in 1863 but was forced to close a few years later when she got in trouble with the law.

“She sold Magnetic Rock Dew Water of Sahara for removing Wrinkles, Disinfecting Powder of the choicest Arabian odours, Chinese Leaves for the cheeks and lips, Astringents and stimulants for rendering the hair Italian brown, Senses of Peace, Vinegars for the Sick Room, Souvenir de Marriage, Maiden’s Keepsake….  She professed in her advertisements to be able to do diverse incredible things

Madame Rachel came undone when she extracted £5,300 from a certain Mrs Borradaile “to make her beautiful forever”. Mrs M was left penniless after signing over everything she had to Madame Rachel and receiving very little in exchange

“On several occasions though, she gave me a cigar. I recollect her giving me one in February of this year.”

Good fake teeth were a prerequisite for any aspiring beauty in the 18th century who suffered from tooth decay but until Pierre Fauchard developed an effective method for attaching dentures many disasters were experienced at the dinner table.

One of his methods stated that artificial teeth could be held in place by tying them to the remaining solid teeth by pivots, using waxed thread or gold wire. He also invented spring loaded dentures which exerted a constant pressure in the mouth. Naturally some muscular effort was then needed to shut the mouth but at least top sets with these powerful stabilisers never fell.

An accidental malfunction of the springs could be worse than inconvenient. The Victorian lady hated to be caught without a second pair in her handbag and a booklet of instructions on how to avoid mishaps.

Then James Gardette made the first springless top set. They were hailed as a dental triumph and he became known as the discoverer of atmospheric pressure in dentistry. You can see an example below of this type of rubberised denture which I found at Black Market Antiques. I particularly like the advertising blurb that went with it.

This is a real set of used false teeth. The dentures are in very good condition, with the obvious damage to the left front tooth, which has been broken out of the plate entirely. These dentures came from an estate, where the former owner no longer need them, primarily due to their death.

These dentures would make a great addition to a dental collection….also can be used for a wide variety of other things.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 7:28 am  Comments (30)  
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stinging, biting and swelling for sex

Recently I read The Strangest Human Sex Ceremonies and Customs by Talalaj and Talalaj and I know you’re all keen to learn what I’ve discovered…..

On the Micronesian island of Ponape, a man will place a particular type of tiny stinging ant on the clitoris of his partner, as it is said to produce a short but acute tingling erotic sensation. Lovers also bite each other’s eyebrows during sex play.

A few centuries ago the Topinamba men of Brazil encouraged poisonous snakes to bite their penises. Even though the practice was dangerous and painful, they felt it was worth it for the monstrous swelling it produced.

A Trobriand girl demonstrates her interest in a boy by hurting him. She attacks her chosen mate with a sharp shell or bamboo knife and the boy accepts this as it is regarded as an invitation to sex.

A girl who attacks most vigorously is said to show she has the best temperament as a future lover. The beating and scratching by a girl is considered to be an expression of appreciation of a boy’s beauty. The boy’s ambition is to receive as many wounds as possible as they signify how sexy he is.

The young men of the West African Fulani tribes take part in a seven day beauty contest in the hope that a woman will choose him as a husband. He paints his lips dark red and decorates his head with a ram’s beard, chains, beads, rings and ostrich feathers. They stand in a line and sway gently while rolling their eyes and flashing their teeth.

As part of the contest the men choose a challenger to whip them. While he is being beaten, he expresses his virility and sexuality by submitting without flinching, holding his arms above his head or languidly fingering a necklace and gazing at his reflection in a mirror.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 6:58 am  Comments (39)  
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caring for your neovagina***

The decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery is not one to be taken lightly. This fascinating site tells you everything you need to know as well as dispensing dating advice for the postoperative new woman

Sydney’s Carlotta photographed by Rennie Ellis

“You must be sure to regularly dilate to at least 35mm in width in order to take in an average-sized male, and 38mm is even better. Remember, your vagina is not as elastic in diameter as a GG’s vagina. It will stretch out only to the maximum size you’ve dilated to, and will then go no further. If you are in doubt about someone’s size, be sure to carefully “feel the width” of your date before indicating a desire for intercourse. That way you can see if he’s likely to fit into you. If he’s definitely too wide, you can decide that you are “too tired” that night. Then find someone else to date.”

It’s interesting to note that many men who have undergone sex reassignment surgery are still capable of orgasm when they have become women.

Most postop women having healthy libidos begin to experience their first postop arousals within a month or two after surgery. After a initial period of low sensations and even numbness, they then experience “turning on” due to engorgement of remaining internal erectile tissue (corpora and spongiosum) that was left during SRS. The arousals produce a feeling of “erection”, but one that is different than for guys, since it is inside their bodies.

image of April Ashley found here

If done properly, the post-operative patient can have powerful feelings of sexual arousal (erection of the corpora stumps remaining inside her body) and can easily be orgasmic (the prostate is left intact, and can spasm during orgasm just as before SRS – while the nerve tissues throughout the corpora, the clitoris and the vulva spasm, throb and release at the same time, just as in any other woman).

You can read the story of beautiful French transsexual Bambi here

image found here

Her friend Coccinelle, who started out as a female impersonator before making the transition into a fully fledged woman, attracted world wide media attention by marrying not only once but three times.

read her story here

***I’m often asked where I find the stuff I post here. I found the original site (linked in the first paragraph) by googling “Did Aristotle Onassis sponsor sex change surgery?”

And, yes, he did

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 7:22 am  Comments (58)  
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everything that could be strapped, buckled or laced

No one does eccentricity as well as the British aristocracy.  Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquis of Anglesey did it better than most.

With his flowing peacock robes and jewelled highlights in his long, silky hair, Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey, adored attention.

Dressed in outlandish clothes, his willowy figure could be spotted walking along fashionable Piccadilly in central London with a snow white, pink-ribboned poodle under his arm.

NOT this ‘poodle’

He was so rich and self-indulgent that he had his motor cars modified to spout exhaust gases perfumed with patchouli and ‘l’eau d’Espagne.

In just a few years, the Dancing Marquess blew the equivalent of almost half a billion pounds on his eccentric lifestyle, acquiring gems by the fistful and a wardrobe of such opulence that it included 260 pairs of kidskin gloves, 200 gold scarf pins and 100 tailored dressing gowns.

NOT this dressing gown

He married his cousin Lilian Chetwynd in 1898, though the marriage was annulled two years later

image found here

Lily was beautiful with pale green eyes and red-gold Titian hair, as if she had just stepped out of a pre-Raphaelite painting. As a wedding present, he bought his new wife a galaxy of gems.

Then, on their honeymoon, when she stopped and gazed at a jeweller’s window display in Paris, he went inside and bought the whole lot for her.

He then made her wear them to the races, which embarrassed her. She did not like such public shows of opulence. In private, too, she was embarrassed. Her husband liked to view his emeralds, his rubies, his diamonds displayed on her naked body. But he didn’t lay a finger on her. There was no sex. He just stared.

Mata Hari NOT Lily

The moment he had come into his inheritance he had raised ready cash by mortgaging his estates. That gave him £250,000 (£125million in today’s terms). It was soon gone, but instead of stopping, he went on spending, piling up debts before, in 1904, tipping over into bankruptcy.

At the castle, trustees appointed by his creditors found treasure chests of pearls, gold cigarette cases studded with rubies and the world’s biggest collection of walking sticks.

walking stick handle found here

Among the more remarkable items that appeared in the sale were his walking sticks. Many of them had round handles so thickly encrusted with diamonds, rubies, amethysts and emeralds that the setting was almost invisible. when the auctioneer set in motion a beautifully modelled cockatoo’s head, which adorned the head of a stick, it lifted its crest of hackles, opened its mouth and blinked its eyes. By the same mechanical aid the yellow ivory head of a Chinaman leered and grinned most realistically, a donkey flapped its ears, and a duck opened and shut its bill.

The Marquess’s boots were laid out – leather ones, crocodile-skin, skating boots, suede shoes and silk tapestry slippers – “a complete collection of everything that could be strapped, buckled or laced upon the foot of man”, as a local newspaper put it.

Though most of the photographs of him that still exist show the Marquis in one of his fabulous costumes, he did have a slightly more sober side….

“I must apologise for not appearing before you in peacock-blue plush wearing a diamond and sapphire tiara, a turquoise dog-collar, ropes of pearls and slippers studded with Burma rubies; but I prefer, and always have preferred, Scotch tweed.”

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 7:39 am  Comments (29)  
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two or three gotch-toothed tarts

(Myra May) Belle Starr was born near Carthage, Missouri in 1848. Legend would have us believe she was a romantic beautiful Bandit Queen but this source tells us otherwise

“She has been described as ‘bony and flat chested with a mean mouth; hatchet faced; gotch-toothed tart.’ In her later years, she was a companion to known thieves and felons, but it is doubtful she ever did more than steal horses and provide a haven for fugitives.

image found here

Belle’s first husband and father of her two children, John Reed, was shot escaping arrest for murder and robbery. Her second (or possibly third) husband was a handsome three quarter Cherokee Indian named Sam Starr, son of the outlaw Tom Starr.

Tom Starr

The Starrs were attending a friend’s Christmas party on December 17, when Sam encountered an old enemy whom he shot him dead, but not before being fatally wounded himself.  Belle then took up with an adopted son of old Tom Starr, 24-year-old Bill July (alias Jim Starr), a Creek Indian. July moved in with Belle, her daughter Pearl and her son Eddie; he was her last husband.

image of Pearl Starr found here

Shortly afterwards, Bill July Starr was arrested, indicted and released on bail for horse stealing. Then in July 1888, young Eddie was charged with horse theft, giving him something in common with his stepfathers.

Belle Starr was shot dead in February 1889 as she returned home from a party. The suspects were many and included a neighbour she had quarreled with, her husband who had a secret younger mistress, her daughter whom she had tricked into giving up her fiancé and her son whom she had disciplined with a bullwhip. No one was ever convicted.

A totally different Belle, but one who still had Indian associations, was Silver Belle.

Silver Belle was the ‘spirit guide’ of the American medium, Ethel Post-Parrish. In 1953, 81 people believed they witnessed ectoplasm materializing out of Ethel’s body in a smoky white cloud to form the shape of a beautiful woman.

“The ectoplasm will retract back into the medium’s body, however, not all of it will return; leaving the medium very exhausted. This is why Joshua did not leave the tent in Exodus 33:11. Joshua was the medium for Jehovah to materialize and “speak with Moses face to face.

I have no idea what ectoplasmic Belle had in common with Joshua, Jehovah or Moses, but it’s a direct quote from the website and is possibly helps to explain why Ethel has such bad posture in all her photographs….

Our third Belle was a serial killer born in 1859.

It is estimated that she killed more than 40 people over several decades. Belle Gunness married a Norwegian man in Chicago and soon after they opened a confectionery store. The business venture was not a success and within a year the store had burnt down in mysterious circumstances. Insurance money was paid and the money was used to purchase a home in Austin. This was destroyed, again by a mysterious fire, in 1898; the couple collected insurance money and purchased yet another home. Within two years her husband had died, on July 30th 1900, the only day that two life insurance policies on him overlapped. She applied for insurance money of $8,500 dollars on the day after his funeral.

She used the money to buy a farm in Indiana and moved there with the couple’s three daughters, one of whom was adopted. It was later established that Gunness and Sorenson had four offspring together, but that two had died in infancy; suffice to say that those two children were also insured and that it is now believed that they too were poisoned.

Belle then met a Norwegian named Peter Gunness who lived in her village (it was then that she acquired her famous surname) and they married on April 1st 1902. By this stage she was working a lot quicker, within a week of the ceremony Peter’s infant daughter had died whilst in the house alone with Belle. By the end of the same year Peter had a “tragic accident”, this time a sausage grinding machine had fallen from a high shelf onto his head, killing him instantly.

Belle’s bridgework found here

In 1906 her adopted daughter Jennie fell out of sight, Gunness told curious villagers that Jennie had been sent to a finishing school in Los Angeles. Jennie had in fact been killed and her body was later to be found on Belle’s farm. At the same time Gunness placed an ad in the matrimonial columns of all Chicago daily newspapers and those of other cities, she stated that she was a widow who desired to make the acquaintance of a gentleman with equal wealth to join fortunes. The result was a train of suitors, armed with wallets full of cash and deeds to their properties. Each would never be seen again, whilst Belle would deposit regular large sums of money into her bank account……. read more about how the bodies were discovered here

image found here

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 7:48 am  Comments (34)  
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yellow rose of denver

Jennie Rogers ran a lavish, opulent bordello in Colorado for nearly 40 years.

“In 1884 she was arrested for vagrancy and for being a professional morphine taker. Probably Jennie had been too hoity toity  to some member of the police force and he had taken revenge.

There is another story, possibly apocryphal, that the town council ordered all the “soiled doves” to wear a yellow ribbon to indicate their occupation. Jennie and the other madams got together and ordered their girls to buy complete yellow outfits including yellow parasols. Plumed and beribboned they drove in buggies all over town until the town council retreated in dismay and rescinded the order.

parasol nipple tassles found here

Jennie’s friend Mattie Silks, was also a Colorado bordello owner whose name was often in the papers.

“At a party in 1877, Mattie and another madam, Kate Fulton, exchanged fisticuffs over Mattie’s lover, Cortez Thomson. Both Cortez and Kate’s beau, Sam Thatcher became embroiled in the fighting. Things escalated when someone shot at Cortez and Mattie called Kate out to a duel. Both women fired their pistols, missing each other, though Mattie manged to wound Cortez who was standing on the sidelines watching.

Laura Evans was yet another madam who led an interesting life

In 1896 she smuggled the payroll past striking miners to the ones who had stayed on the job. That same year she and one of her friends went tearing through town in a horse drawn sleigh, smashing into Leadville’s elaborate ice palace, destroying much of the $200,000 erection. ‘Miss Laura’ was known as a hoyden, specialising in pranks, wiles, peccadilloes and boisterous drunks. She died just before her 90th birthday, still rolling her own cigarettes and telling her profanity-laden stories of the good old days.”

Leadville Ice Palace found here

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 6:42 am  Comments (40)  
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