From Medieval Hookers to Lady Gaga: A Brief History of the Merkin

The curtains match the carpet and her armpits.
The curtains match the carpet and her armpits.

Ah, the merkin. It makes me nostalgic for the days of hair down there. When Lady Gaga sported a bluish-green merkin (with highlights!) last week at the Much Music Awards, she, once again, drew attention to the little wig that could.

The merkin, or pubic wig, was introduced as far back as the 1450's, when lice-infested pubes were all the rage and syphilitic prostitutes needed to keep on working. Fortunately these aren't the reasons why some of us still hop on the magical merkalicious bandwagon - these days merkins are used more frequently to cover up where hair once grew.

The wax factor - bikini or Brazilian, or man waxing too - has made it almost impossible for 70s shag to shimmer. And bringing pubic hair back, whether for work or play, may only be made possible with a merkin.

In Hollywood, you'll find merkins in scenes that require full frontal nudity, mainly so actors can maintain a level of modesty. Famed striptease artist Gypsy Lee Rose wore one whenever she performed.

It happens more than you think, or don't think, with the merkin.

  1. In "A Serious Man," the latest Coen brothers' movie, actress Amy Landecker called hers "Cousin It."
  2. From Medieval Hookers to Lady Gaga: A Brief History of the Merkin

  3. Kate Winslet wore one in "The Reader."
    From Medieval Hookers to Lady Gaga: A Brief History of the Merkin

  4. Sasha Grey, who has no problem going naked as evidenced by simply Googling the words Sasha Grey, sported a merkin in last season's "Entourage" (likely for the pubic hair shocker).
    From Medieval Hookers to Lady Gaga: A Brief History of the Merkin

  5. In "Sex and the City," actress Kim Cattrall sports a red one, à la Bozo the Clown, when she attempted to dye her pubes to hide the grays.
    From Medieval Hookers to Lady Gaga: A Brief History of the Merkin

(And yeah, they make pubic hair dye so that if you ever DO want blue or blond pubes, you won't need a merkin to cover up your botch job.)

And don't be surprised, you have been tricked by some of these ten famous merkins courtesy of TheFrisky.com.


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