March 13

1894

From the completion of that most holy place, the Second Temple in Jerusalem, just three days ago (but in the realm of the goddess, three days is a very significant number), to that other place of worship of the goddess, the Temple of the naked female form, for yea, verily, lo and behold, it was today, in Paris, in 1894, that the gods of prurience and pornography got together and invented what had never been known or performed on Earth before, not ever, not anywhere, the act known as the striptease. 

Or maybe just the name was new - though I would be prepared to have myself nailed to the mast and swear that Homer would have known it (and maybe a Christian theologian would like to place a comment in the box below, on what exactly was taking place in Mark 6:21-29, especially verse 22).

And while I am presuming that this was either the Moulin Rouge or the Folies Bergère, I know that "presume" is insufficient if one wishes to have the name "scholar" attached with "satis" and "smicha" or even mere "dip"; and so I have looked it up on the godweb and learned that no, it was neither - the Divan Fayouau is where it took place, and it involved "a young woman before a paying audience in a public theatre" who "acted out various events that required her to undress, such as taking a bath, being examined by a doctor, and finding a flea in her undergarments."

That research also led to two other fascinating pieces of information, without which the world would indubitably be a poorer place.

The first recorded striptease dance on a pole was performed in Mugwumps strip club, in Oregon, in 1968, by a lady who probably wasn't christened Belle Jangles.

Wentworth Court in Surbiton, Surrey, has a blue plaque attached to it by English Heritage, honouring the fact that here, in the 1930s, at Flat 15 to be precise, lived Phyllis Dixey, "burlesque dancer" - ah but we do love our euphemisms!

And now, to enable this page to go from what should have been amber to what is not truthfully yet green (which statement allows me to make a really bad joke about being in the red light zone), it requires an illustration? But where can I find one that wouldn't be blocked by the web-nannies? 

(The lady without a pole at the top of the page is Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus")

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