Smurkin’ about merkins

I was reading along in somebody else’s historical romance prose–and good prose it was too–when I came across the word merkin. I’d forgotten this word, which is hard to believe when I give you the 1796 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue definition for it:

counterfeit hair for women’s privy parts

Huh? Yeah, a wig for use in an unlikely location. Seems professional ladies in days of yore (the word dates from about 1450) got in the habit of shaving certain areas the better to manage their hygiene (I’m being delicate here). They devised the merkin to accommodate those of their customers who preferred the unshorn version of their wares, but I have yet to find anybody who can tell me how these little doodads were kept in place.

On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

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3 comments on “Smurkin’ about merkins

  1. That was quite unexpected. lol I can’t think of why anyone would want to go through the torture of keeping fake hair there. Perhaps people used a type of glue? Sounds horrific nonetheless.

  2. PPPPPFFFFTTTSS!!! *wipes diet coke off kindle screen*

    LOL, now THAT was unexpected. And also hilarious. And you might have landed on the one word I cannot think of a way to incorporate into my vocabulary to enrich my communication skills.