This week’s episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is all about the things we do for beauty. These are things in history and now, right?
Because this world is weirdly obsessed with looking hawt and has been for a long time.
From CITI/IO it says,
“In Hollywood films, it is practically a given that female spies will look stunning, and female nuclear scientists will be attractive blondes. In this world, beauty is considered to be a peoples’ defining feature.
“People love to worship celebrities and buy magazines that show their ‘perfect bodies’ and ‘perfect lives’. This feeds an unrealistic expectation of what life is really like. Not everyone is a male or female model with flawless skin. Actually, many magazine photos are touched up by photographers to remove blemishes and spots.”
They go on to say that attractive people can spend up to a third of their income maintaining their looks.
In a 2006 article, “Examining a society obsessed with appearance,” Kathryn Masterson writes,
“Last year, Americans spent $9.4 billion on cosmetic surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. More than 10 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2005, including 3.8 million Botox injections. Cosmetic surgery is so common it has branched over to entertainment: A host of plastic-surgery shows, including “Extreme Makeover,” “Dr. 90210” and “The Swan,” allow us to watch the unattractive (or those who simply feel that way) pursue an ideal of physical attractiveness.
So, let’s talk about some of the weirdness:
You know it’s weird that we try to change the color of our skin despite the whole skin-cancer issue.
And even before now and the time of spray tans (to avoid the sun-induced cancer) people would paint their legs too. During WWII especially when there wasn’t any pantyhose or nylon out there.
THE OPPOSITE OF TANNING
In Europe in those horrible Middle Ages, it was the thing to have pale skin because if you weren’t pale that meant you went outside and if you went outside? Well, that meant you were a peasant. Rich people did NOT work in the sun.
So to make that difference even more obvious, some would get some leaches and bleed out a bit to get that almost-dead look of vampires. Yay rich people? Using that money wisely.
Things haven’t changed much.
WHITE TEETH AND BLACK TEETH
In Japan for a bit, military commanders’ daughters would have their teeth blackened with a lacquer made from taking vinegar and dissolving iron in it.
Eventually, the practice expanded and it was the aristocrats. And then those of us commoners had it for special occasions. It eventually was banned, but I’m not sure why.
It wasn’t just Japan though. Queen Elizabeth of England’s past had nasty teeth, black and naturally so because she ate too much sugar and didn’t have Crest, I guess. So, all these other ladies blackened their teeth to look wealthy and pretend like they had eaten tons of expensive sugar products just like the queen.
THE COD PIECE
Because we all want to pretend like there’s a giant kielbasa down there.
THE TAPE WORM
Because being skinny is worth parasites, meningitis and epilepsy.
Once, someone hacked my Amazon account and ordered butt padding. Honestly, I could use this, but they weren’t sending it to my house.
Because who doesn’t want their legs bound together?
Everyone wanted lovely oval shapes back in the 1300s in Europe again. So they plucked a lot of their hair out at the top of their head. Then they got into it on their eyebrows. And then the church said, “STOP IT! WE ARE MAKING THIS A MORTAL SIN!”
Mortal sins are bad. You’re cutting off god’s sanctifying grace until you confess. But hey! You’re fashionable, right?
Well, not hair, but wigs. Back in Europe again, they wore some super massive wigs made out of wood frames. The paste on the frame? It was lard.
And that made some issues with rats.
Rats like lard.
So, when people took off their hair, rats would go on in and have brunch, or a late night snack and party down. So they invented wig cages and the term “rat’s nest.”
Apparently, some Ancient Romans would get their teeth white by making a mouth rinse with urine and it had to be from the Portuguese. We, allegedly had the strongest urine in the world. It was the ammonia, my friends. Or maybe the cod?
According to Bust. Com, Ancient Mayans drilled holes into their teeth so that they could have jeweled inlays. Snazzy.
THE GOAT HAIR UNIBROW, OR JUST THE UNIBROW
Untouched eyebrows? In Ancient Greece, it meant you were pure. If you were like Carrie and had scant eyebrows, then you filled it in.
A unibrow meant you were a beautiful smartypants.
And they’d go to great lengths to get that look. How great? Imagine making fake eyebrows out of goat hair and then sticking them on with tree resin.
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One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?
And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.
And Carrie has new books out! Yay!
You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!
It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.
And that one is called THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!