Category Archives: Jeff Sixwhotsitdorf

The pains of beauty

This post was prompted by the sight that met me one morning as I entered the bathroom and found the lovely Mrs Sixwotsitdorf desperately trying to tame her whiskers, a process that not only requires hot wax but also garden scissors, rope, a shovel and a fair amount of duct tape – the latter one being used to muffle her own screams as she pulls off the earlier mentioned wax which she applies with the shovel after first trimmed the unlikely amount of hair under her nose with the garden scissors (I´ve honestly never been clear on what the rope is for.)

In any event, watching this and feeling fairly certain that we can all agree on the fact that women really need to do this, I mean; where would we be if women were judged simply on their intellect and persona? Mayhem, starvation and general anarchy, that´s where. So I´ve put together this little guide of beauty care through the centuries for everyone to get their inspiration. You´re welcome.

We have for example the most beautiful of them all, and a constant role beauty1model for all women to live up to; Nefertiti. There are suggestions that beauty in her part of the world and time was even a part of Ma´at, the way one perceived the world.

And in all fairness, who wants to perceive the world through “ugly”? None of us do, just admit it.

This gave a spiritual dimension to putting on makeup which women of today is clearly lacking; instead of just mucking away with mascara, eyeliners, blushers and stuff, they put their heart and soul into it. The even considered beauty as something holy. But. Then there is another thing. What is beauty, who is beautiful and how do we, or someone else – I am clearly flawless – go about obtaining said beauty?

But the ancient Egyptians with their eyes, primarily, painted with crushed malakite stone, a copper based ore, and kohl, which apart from fat contained a number of metals, weren´t the only ones to have seen the importance of beauty. They would eventually suffer from the occasional pink eye, and insomnia. And mental disease. But that must be more important than looking plain. Mustn´t it? I´d rather be insane than ugly. (As tragedy, the old Greek kind, would have it, I have turned out to be both insane and ugly)

Lead has played an important part of history. I mean, why not add a highly poisonous substance to your body if the goal is to look better. The fact is, that you won´t die the first 100 times or so that you add it to your facial powder. The aim was to look pale, and we have to respect the fact that it at one point was high fashion to look as if you dived head first into a sack of flour, what could it possibly matter if it *eventually* affected your health? When your skin peeled away, you could always hide it with a thicker layer of makeup. Add a little arsenic and mercury to the mixture and you were set to go. Someone who had the correct attitude to her looks was Marie Gunning, the Countess of Coventry, and one of the first official victims of beauty, dead from lead poisoning at the age of 27 (which should put her up there with Janis, Jimi, Jim, Kurt and Amy as far as I´m concerned).

Then we have the corset. Take a cone formed contraption, have someone Catherine de Medici introduce it in France and soon you will have a serious breathing problem among women. But they looked like hourglasses and that was nice. We need the corset back, not least because the wives of the time didn´t have the air necessary to scream at their husbands in them.

o-CURVES-OF-YOUTH-570Another highlight in the history is the malady of double, or triple chins. There is a cure. Just strap a construction to your head and tighten those chins. It looks incredibly painful, and you can hardly wear the thing in public, as no makeup in the world would hide it, but there is no problem one can´t get around.

I could on. But I won´t. Point is: don´t whine about hot wax, garden scissors and rope.

Jeff Sixwotsitdorf (who uses makeup as soon as no one sees him)

Sources:

An empty mascara

Lot´s of lipstick

An ugly face (my own)

A bottle of wine

A cracked mirror

Dentistry in darker days

We have all been to the dentist. Sometimes it´s just a question of a swift examination andMandibularAnteriorCalculus we can happily be on our way, knowing that our teeth and economy are and will for time being stay without any larger cavity in your teeth or in your economy.

But while we may squirm and moan under the dental drill, we still can consider ourselves to be in a kind of dental heaven, we can go from cradle to grave with the appropriate amount of teeth, or lack thereof, at any given time.

It was entirely different for the people of old. You may read that they cleaned their teeth with little twigs, not rarely described not only as general twigs, but twigs that might lend a pleasant smell to the breath.

But here we do need to remember that twigs was subjected to, what should we call them, the forces of nature. And by forces of nature I mean the natural force to for example take a leak. These twigs could very well be covered with the anything from the leakage from an incontinent squirrel (if the twig had been placed high in the tree of brush) to the village alderman and his dog. One can but wonder what of those could possible lend a pleasant smell to the breath.

Cracked_toothThen, let´s contemplate that the twig did not quite do its job. The cavities would come. Imagine a time without anaesthetic, sterile instruments or for that matter, anything more than a very basic understanding for the human body, not least the mouth.

Having a cavity today can be, but isn´t necessarily a threat to life and limb. In the days of yonder it was a completely different story. A popular method to fix cavities was to fill them with stone pebbles, but this of course craved precision and perfection. You could not just shove down any kind of stone into an infected tooth but that´s just what happened in Scotland in the spring of 1652 giving rise to, even if not many people know this, the legend of the Giant Stone Eater as well as the expression “Being stoned out of one’s mind” (when you came out from whoever was in charge was of mending the tooth made you lose all the others) as the procedure was incredibly painful, not least if the pebble was not a pebble but more of a rock.

If the teeth did indeed fall out, either due to “dentists” shoving rocks into the mouth of thechattery-teeth suffering individual or for other reasons went missing, there were always the option of false teeth. Already the old Etruscans was in the habit of just like some modern day rap artist replacing their front teeth with golden fakes, maybe not for the same reasons but with much the same result. Obviously gold wouldn´t have been for everyone, not in Etruscan times and not later on in history either. So we´re back to pebbles.

(not stone teeth)

Through an extremely elaborate technique, for its time, people managed to fasten finely cut stones to leather strings which were fastened to the teeth at the far back of the mouth and then strapped against the against the palate, much the same way as braces would be attached today.  Members of mid-level society, not rich enough to afford gold but still wealthy enough to afford something more than ordinary gravel would invest in limestone which they let craftsmen shape into figures, maybe images of their children or a beloved pack of dogs.

As we all realise if we take a quick leap forward in time, past sweaty blacksmiths with aprons stained with the blood of countless victims of unbearable toothache, sedative which basically consisted of a swift punch in the face or simply a gallon of pure alcohol, we can all agree the next time when we sit there in the denstist´s chair that dentistry has evolved in the right direction.

 

Jeff Sixwhotsitdorf, dentes intacta

 

Sources:

The drunken ramblings of Alex Harvey

The dental experimentations through the ages – Dr. Dehimbje Dëmbi

The drunken ramblings of Shane MacGowan

Crafting in stone and gravel from the beginning of time – Prof. Klippies

My own drunken ramblings

The collected memories of tooth ache