A good friend and I were smoking a joint the other day and talking about potential fashion trends for the forthcoming year, when he mentioned that he hopes the “merkin” makes a return. I laughed out loud, pretending I knew what that was, when in fact, I didn’t. I thought the word sounded funny, but outside of that, I knew nothing. I decided instead of being an ass, I would actually ask him, and he proceeded to tell me it is a pubic wig. Holy fuck, a pubic wig?! All this did was flood me with awe and even more questions than when I didn’t know what it was. Why? What context? How does it stay on? What does it look like? He then told me he never looked one up, he just knew about it. I then made it my responsibility to learn all I could about the merkin. You might want to put a plastic bag on the wall behind you, because your mind is about to be blown.
So to start this off, I will show you a merkin, mid-use.
To me, that just looks like a bejeweled vagina. I imagined them more like this:
You see, when someone uses the words “pubic” and “wig” next to each other, I tend to sort of see it like a, I don’t know, pubic wig? And if you google the term, you will see, people get very creative with their merkins. But the real question I, and I imagine, you, must have about this is WHY? Why would you need a wig for your private parts? Well, the truth of the matter is rather disgusting. You may not want to eat thirty minutes after reading the following fact.
Merkins were worn by old prostitutes as far back as 1450, so as to hide sores and lesions so they could keep working, and keep from the spreading of pubic lice, which was a massive epidemic in a time before showers.
Hold on while I vomit everything I have ever eaten since childhood. Arghhhh, I am back, and feeling much better.
So yes, merkins were invented as a way that the “working girls” could keep on working, even if they were nasty, disease incubators. Well, they may not have morals, but damn, that is a good work ethic. The truth is, the merkin has evolved since then. Why? I have no idea, but now people use them as erotic props, or to elicit a laugh, or some similar logic. I have never encountered a merkin in real life, though. Have you? Take to the comments and let me know, I need to know more about this, first hand.
I also found out they are used often during sex scenes for mainstream films, to hide the actors genitals. So if you see an actress with a large, cumbersome bush (I am looking at you, Gina Gershon from Killer Joe), that is NOT their bush. Cool side note, Kate Winslet refused to wear one for her role in The Reader. The bush in that film is all Winslet. Also, extra points if you know how “Merkin” ties in with Dr. Strangelove. Last random merkin point,, Merkin Ball was the name of a Pearl Jam EP that featured Neal Young. May be more of a play of “American” in that case, but still not sure.
This all leads me to my second question. How the f*ck does that thing stay on? Also, why do I sometimes censor fuck, and other times, not? I will answer the first question first. The merkin would stay on using whatever was available to them at the time. While now there is fancy genital adhesive (I just totally made that up, but I bet it is called Crotch Glue or something), back in the olden days, they would use belts if they had to, like seen in the above horrifying pic. Most often, though, they would just use string, as thin as they could find. So basically, if you wanted to know if the prostitute you were shagging had a disease, just swipe the hips. If you swipe the hips, and you find a string, you know she’s hiding something. Or he, I suppose. I don’t know enough about whoring to know if there were male whores. But males are, in general, whores, so I imagine there were. Also, I censor f*ck sometimes because I am made out of two people. Remy and Raymond. More on that later. Like, much, much later.
So where does this bring us now? Truth be told, it may bring us to a cultural stalemate. Because never have we been more far from the idea of a merkin as we are right now. Culturally speaking, every woman seems to be silently encouraged to have the vagina of a twelve-year-old, and I just don’t understand that. I shaved my balls ONCE. Once. And the sensation in my pants when that ball hair was growing in, was one of wild discomfort. Granted, I TRIM my ball hair, so as to not have three-inch ball hairs making me look like some bad seventies cliché, but in the same breath, I will NEVER shave my junk again. Smooth genitals are weird. Like a serial killer without a mask on. I know bald crotches are supposed to be sexy or something, but the question is, why? It just looks like Pac-Man, facing south with a closed mouth to me. So as I was saying, should we rock the merkin now. Not necessarily. I am simply stating that having unique pubic hair is sure to ingrain you into someone’s memory.
While I, myself, would never rock a merkin, I would also never condemn anyone who chooses to wear one. I may think you have something to hide, though, but that is just because that is what the merkin was originally for. “Crab hider” just wasn’t as memorable a name.
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