Example: [Evening Standard, 1998]
There seems to be some misunderstanding about Liz Hurley's knickers. The spangly V visible beneath the sensational slashed-to-groin tangerine dream, as sported so unsportingly by Liz at some poor girl's wedding on Saturday, was, in fact, not knickers at all. An early pioneer in the breasts-in-space flotation programme, Liz has now moved on to the even more daring research area of pubic-hair extensions. Less plucky chicks might have opted for a simple Bo Derek-look. Not Liz. Braiding is soooo Seventies. Instead, the actress has endured hours of an eye-watering weaving technique whereby individual matt sequins are attached to the root of an estimated 36,000 follicles. The resulting look, which takes only three days to achieve, is totally Nineties and yet infused with a sense of the erogenous zone's long and prickly history. Observe the strong thrust of sexual independence combined with a hint of chivalric chainmail and an ironic wink at the chastity belt.
Inspired by Liz's example, it can't be long before we have all set aside our grey smalls to ravish the summer nights with our own playful hair on a
Origins: A British columnist discovered in mid-1998 that she had created a monster when an article she'd intended as a joke was received as gospel. The above-quoted item was meant as a humor piece, yet there were those who took it straight up.
The columnist herself explained it thusly:
Further to the misunderstanding about Liz Hurley's knickers, another grave misunderstanding appears to have arisen. Since writing in this column about the subtle, sequined pubic-hair extensions that our Liz wore recently to a friend's wedding, I have had a series of increasingly surreal conversations about town.
Here is one example:
Girl at book launch: Have you heard about Liz Hurley's pube extensions? It's absolutely amazing.
Me: No, I mean, yes, I have. I made it up. It's not true.
Girl: No it is. Honestly. It's just incredible. Apparently, it takes absolutely hours to get it done and you have about 39,000 individual hairs down there. I mean, can you imagine? Makes your eyes water. It was in the paper.
Me: I know it was in the paper. I put it there. It was a joke.
Girl: But I was talking to the girls at the gym and one of them said she knew someone who was going to have it done because Liz looked so fab. And you know, you can have them done to match your handbag, which would be really cool, or for the beach.
Me: Does the word irony mean anything to you? As in, ha-ha, very funny. Totally over the top. Nobody could take it seriously. When I wrote about that in my
Girl: Oh, are you a journalist? Great. What sort of thing — politics?
Me: No. Ludicrous and totally facetious items about famous women who have extensions to their pubic hair.
Girl: Oh, like Liz Hurley?
Finding yourself to be the author of an urban legend is a curious sensation. I feel helpless yet sneakily proud in an embarrassed kind of way. The whole thing is so thoroughly
If a minor fiction can so quickly establish itself as a celebrated truth, I'm not sure where that leaves history proper. So, for once and for all, I would like to make it absolutely crystal clear that
Last updated: 1 January 2005
Pearson, Allison. "St. Paul and the Church of Roam." The Evening Standard. 13 May 1998 (p. 13). Pearson, Allison. "Smart Geri Is Really an It Girl." The Evening Standard. 3 June 1998 (p. 13).