Last week we learned about Real Housewife of New York alum Cindy Barshop’s newest offering for nether region adornment: the “Foxy Bikini,” which is essentially a merkin made of fox fur and dyed an unnatural color. (PS: you’ll be happy to know that she’s switching to faux fox after PETA and others caused a ruckus.) Then at the Thom Browne menswear show a few weeks ago (left) we noticed some fur (a man-erkin?) peeking out of low cut trousers.
We had to learn more about the history of this colorful accessory. Consider this your Cliff’s Notes for merkins.
Before women were snatching their snatches bald for fashion’s sake, our early 1600’s counterparts were going bare down there for a totally different reason. Back then, prostitution was the common gal’s livelihood. Unfortunately peddling p*ssy wasn’t without the not-so-occasional occupational hazard, i.e. telltale syphilis sores and rampant pubic lice. Since successful cures weren’t readily available then, any working girl worth her weight in tricks would conceal her tainted “package” from paying John’s by donning a merkin, a.k.a. a vagina wig.
Fast forward 400+ years (and tremendous advancement in STD treatment options); these days merkins are generally worn just for kinky fun-slash-shock value, or by strippers and actresses on film (Rooney Mara had a specially made strawberry blonde one in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) so as to not be fully nude while working, and to comply with moral and health code regulations. All of which seems a bit weird in theory, because if you really wanted to shield your naughty bits, couldn’t you… just… grow your own?
But that’s neither here nor there. And going au natural wouldn’t be beneficial to modern day merkin makers. Rhonda Thaut, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for World of Wigs, the premier online retailer of merkins for the masses, shares a little insight on the business.
According to Thaut, today’s merkins are:
-Incredibly labor-intensive: “Merkins are made with a full lace base, and each hair is ventilated (attached) to the lace one hair at a time. This is why they’re so time consuming.”
-Surprisingly long-lasting: “Merkins are attached using a two-way medical-grade adhesive—it can stay attached for several days.” (Just be sure you’re freshly shaven!)
-Completely customizable: “Custom designed merkins are handmade with human or synthetic hair, and can be made in any shape, size, length, and color, from black to neon.” (Completion can take anywhere between 2-to-8 weeks!)
If you can’t wait two months for your very own twat toupee, World Of Wigs carries stock merkins as well. “They’re available in basic natural colors—black, brown, blonde—and come in one size, but can be cut to fit your desired shape.”
Seeing as how merkins have already gotten the MPAA’s (Motion Picture Association of America) stamp of approval, we can’t help but wonder—will they leap off of the screen and onto the sidewalk? (Or into the sack?)
Thankfully, Thaut doesn’t think merkin mania will ever strike the masses. “We’ve sold hundreds of merkins, however I don’t think they’ll ever go mainstream. We would’ve already witnessed this at some point in our 53 years in business.”
Is there any scenario in which you ever see yourself wearing a merkin? Do tell.