Because it seemed like a thing that might be useful.
The 18th century was a rowdy, rowdy time on a personal level. A huge amount of popular misconcepetions about the era come filtered to us through the Victorians, who spent a whole lot of time cataloguing - and in the process, rewriting and censoring - history. Even the Victorians were nowhere nearly as prudish as Victorian revisionism would have us believe.
Our man Ichabod came of age in the 1760s and 1770s in England, and we know he was a miitary man. So what sort of thing would he have been exposed to in his formative years?
Condoms, for one thing. Made of lambskin, linen or silk, reusable (hopefully after you washed it), and used with prostitutes to prevent the spread of syphilis. They were porous, so not much good at all at preventing pregnancy.
In order to actually prevent pregnancy, since no woman of good repute would ever use a condom with her husband, couples used withdrawal, the rhythm method, spermicides applied internally (including olive oil, cedar oil, or frankincense). The most common and most effective was an internal device called a pessary. An organic base (sometimes moss, sometimes other things - citrus rind was popular) was mixed with honey and sodium carbonate, and inserted like we would use a tampon today. This blocked the cervix to prevent conception.
They cursed, and not at all in the ‘vile son of a misbegotten goat’ sort of way we associate with Shakespeare. The word ‘fuck’ has been around since at least 1475, and used the same way we use it now. The first written record of the phrase ‘I’d not give a fuck’ is from 1790.
Prostitution of varying sorts was extremely common, from kept mistresses and exceptionally expensive courtesans, to bawdy houses, brothels and streetwalkers, women and men of all sorts plied the oldest trade.
"By the 1770s it was reported that the streets were ‘more thronged’ with prostitutes than every before. Attempts by Sir John Fielding, the Lord Mayor London, to suppress the trade came to nothing in the 1780s, but over the next 50 years concern began to emerge about morality, venereal diseases, public order and the kidnapping of virgin children to supply the ever-growing demand.
"Sir John Fielding, the magistrate, called Covent Garden ‘the great square of Venus’. He said, ‘One would imagine that all the prostitutes in the kingdom had picked upon the rendezvous’"
When a fellow had some extra cash and a fancied a bit of fun, he only had to look in his handy pocket guide to local prostitutes to see which girl might be best suited for what he wanted, who was any good, and what services he could afford. Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladieswas essentially Yelp for London Call Girls, published annually between 1757 -1795, and sold in the thousands.
Oh, and did you know there was a thriving gay community in London in the 18th century? Sodomy was still illegal, of course, but for the most part the men were left alone. There were famous drag queens, gay bars (called ‘molly houses’), same-sex couples participating in secret marriage ceremonies with each other, common cruising grounds, and culturally-specific slang terms of their own.
They liked buttsex without lube.
Since I have bugger’d human arse, I find
Pintle to Cunt is not so much inclin’d.
What tho the letchery be dry, ‘t is smart;
A Turkish arse I love with all my heart.
— King Bolloxinion in the Earl of Rochester’s play Sodom, or The Quintessence of Debauchery (1684)
In fact, just about the only thing that the 18th century English were dubious about was… oral sex.
Also called ‘gamahauching,’ oral (blow jobs and eating out alike) was taboo, and viewed as suspect and dirty. Think of how a lot of people view rimming today - some folks say “dude, you don’t know what you’re missing!” but the majority reaction is more along the lines of “you want me to put my tongue where??”
It was ‘well-known,’ in fact, that oral sex was a lewd practice and a foreign vice, that had only been brought across to England by those wild and sexually uncontrolled Americ…
Katrina, you vixen.
I think someone had a very exciting wedding night.
If you’re a woman and you don’t wear enough make-up, there’s about an 85% chance that the first person you see when you leave the house will ask if you’re tired or sick…
Conversely, if some dude’s inbuilt conceal-o-meter scans your eyeliner as a millimetre thicker than the Department of Warpaint’s cat eye regulations, you’re likely to be charged with five counts of Offences Against Natural Beauty…
Part of this phenomenon is that a lot of people, and almost all men, don’t understand how make-up works. Make-up was, and still is to a large extent, one of those private self-maintenance tasks ladies perform out of male view, because putting it on openly fucks with the illusion it’s supposed to create. Traditional make-up - and especially ‘no make-up make-up’ - is supposed to make your face look ‘naturally beautiful’…
Sponging on the foundation where dudes can see messes with men’s suspension of disbelief and can even cause anger, confusion or disgust. You tricked me!, he thinks. I thought you were a natural beauty! Now I see [it was] an illusion… “If I know she wears make-up,” muses the dude, “maybe she burps and farts as well. That’s not hot at all, and women are supposed to be hot…”
Wearing ‘too much’ make-up also renders the make-up itself visible, rather than contributing to the impression of a woman’s inbuilt, effortless fuckability. It’s often connected to unbecoming displays of overt sexuality: … ‘that heavy eye shadow makes you look like a whore’…
This does open up the enticing possibility of using make-up in rebellious ways, though - playing with colour and glitter or doing a hot pink lip can make you look fantastic and repel men who expect more subtlety in make-up practice. Or you could take a more direct approach, like writing IT’S NOT FOR YOU across your cheek in green shimmer eyeliner. You go girl.
shoutout to all the other ex-gifted & talented/honor student/straight a/senior editor/star student/99th percentile/once-creative burn-outs who have, since high school, realized they are truly miniscule fish in a giant, endless ocean, criticized themselves to the point of creative paralysis, and participated in so much self-sabotage they no longer see the point of doing anything at all because they’re just going to ruin it for themselves anyway
this one’s for you
"Stars die and reborn […] They get so hot that the nuclei of the atoms fuse together deep within them to make the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood. All was cooked in the fiery hearts of long vanished stars.”
A racist woman is not a feminist; she doesn’t care about helping women, just the women who look like her and can buy the same things she can. A transphobic woman is not a feminist; she is overly concerned with policing the bodies and expressions of others. A woman against reproductive rights — to use bell hook’s own example, and an issue close to your heart — is not a feminist; she prioritizes her dogma or her disgust over the bodies of others. An ableist woman is not a feminist; she holds some Platonic ideal of what a physically or mentally “whole” person should be and tries to force the world to fit inside it.
Surreal furniture by Lila Jang
The strange and surreal furniture designer and Korean artist Lila Jang, who in his last series likes to twist and distort the classic French furniture of the 18th century. Lila Jang studied design and Fine Arts in Paris in Seoul, and has already participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide.