I know it’s supposed to Focus-Free Friday Mini Post day. In fact, it is my last Focus-Free Friday until the end of the summer because our Monday-Thursday summer schedule starts next week. So I arrived at work (to find a completely silent campus, my boss on vacation, and a mountain of paperwork on my desk which I am still avoiding) and got started on my mini posts…but I’m just not feeling it today. Everything I wrote was not nearly as funny on-screen as it was in my head. The only funny thing I could come up with was this, but I realized it was too good to be just a mini post. It deserved a whole post to itself:
Today, I would like to share with you an old word which you probably never wanted to know in the first place (if you didn’t already), and a fun, new, completely inappropriate way you can use the term in your daily life:
That’s right, friends; I’m talking about pubic wigs used by prostitutes in the middle ages. See, back in the day ladies of the evening would often shave their nethers to combat nasty little critters like crabs and pubic lice. This was apparently long before the practice became a point of vanity like it is today, so to keep up appearances of a full bush, these companions (your random Firefly reference for the day) would wear tiny wigs made just for their hoo-hoos.
I’m not entirely sure where and when the obsession with the word merkin began amongst my friends. I believe it was sometime around when people started obsessing over everything moustache: moustache on a stick, moustache pens, temporary moustache finger tattoos (I actually have a friend with a permanent moustache tattoo on her finger; it just looks like an artful swirl design until she holds it over her lip). This is when I remember us first coming up with the idea for a merkin on a stick, though no one has ever actually created one. Random silly merkin references have gone on for several years now, but earlier this year something truly magical happened:
We found a way to (sort of) legitimately work the term into everyday conversation.
The credit goes to the mother of one of my friends. Her daughter, incredibly ridiculous person that she is, presented her mother a pile of freshly brushed-out dog hair. Why, we may never know. But the important thing is that her mother made probably the best response in the history of speaking. Upon being presented with said pile of dog hair, my friend’s mother exclaimed, “I don’t want that merkin!”
My friend proceeded to tell ALL of us this story, which led to much laughter and a renewed interest in the term. Less than a week later, one of us was cleaning the dance studio and picked up a dust bunny. Said dust bunny was then presented to another dancer, who shouted with glee masked by mock disdain, “I don’t want that merkin!”
Since then, any form of dust/hair that piles itself together is no longer a dust bunny. It is a merkin.
In researching this post (i.e., typing “merkin” in the the search on Wikipedia), I came across several other interesting facts about the merkin. Did you know that the term is popular slang for Americans or American English in the U.K., a saltwater fly fishing lure, and a character in Dr. Strangelove? To learn more about the term “merkin”, get off you lazy butt and google it yourself.