Posted by: cordy74 | March 30, 2010

A Wig By Any Other Name…

You know how when you were a kid, or if you have kids, there are some things that just seemed magical: Santa Claus, movie special effects, the Tooth Fairy….  When the magic was explained away from some of these you may have been somewhat disappointed.  Even though you may have suspected Santa and the Tooth Fairy didn’t really exist that revelation left its mark.  Most likely you want to make that magic last as long as possible for your own kids.  I know I do.  Remember that feeling you had when the magic of something was taken away from you. Take a moment.  Really remember it.  Okay.  If you keep reading this you will definitely NOT feel that way.  I’m not taking away any magic.  I’m not revealing anything fantastic. If anything you are in danger of losing a little of whatever innocence you have left. Maybe even just a little bit of your soul.  You’ve been warned.

Merkin. It’s a funny word. It may even be a word you’ve never heard before. Even if you have heard it before you probably don’t know what it means. It’s an old word; a word which first came into use in the early 1600s. Merkin. Give it a try. See how it just rolls off your tongue (that’ll be more funny here in just a second – keep reading).

From the research I have done I can give you a pretty good idea of what vacuum in our society the merkin fills (again, some good stuff here – you’ll get it in a minute). The merkin’s uses are manifold. Primarily, though, the merkin is a prosthetic hair device. Don’t make the mistake of calling it a wig. Or a toupee. It is not to be used on the head. Unless you want a mohawk, I guess.

The merkin is meant to be used as simulated pubic hair. According to my internet searches most merkins are marketed towards use by females. I guess there is quite the market for them in the film industry. By “film” I don’t mean “porno”. In an era when most of the women in the porno industry operate under the scorched earth doctrine there is no need for a merkin. The “legitimate” film industry, on the other hand, has great need of merkins due to those same waxing trends… And the MPAA rating system.

Current film ratings are somewhat dependent upon the amount of nudity shown in the released version of movies. It should go without saying that the less nudity in the film the more mild the rating and vice versa. In order to maintain a more mild rating the actresses who are performing fully nude (for artistic purposes, of course) are required to wear merkins. It seems the merkin suffices as enough of a cover that these scenes are not actually considered fully nude. This being said, merkins may be used on the set with women who may or may not have waxed but do not want their names associated with full nudity. Otherwise the merkin is used to preserve the temporal continuity of a film. For example, a film set in the sixties or seventies would most likely require the actresses to wear merkins.

Most recently Kate Winslet was quoted as saying the powers-that-be behind her film “The Reader” (set in the 1950s) were concerned about her ability to appear as if she belonged in that period after years of extreme landscaping and were at the ready with a merkin. Winslet then went on to surprise everyone with her “comeback” in that “area”, if you know what I mean. Kate Winslet brings me full circle on this topic since she is the reason I am even writing this. Today at work she was mentioned by one of my co-workers. It was at this point that I had to spread my knowledge of merkins and their part, or lack thereof, in her film “The Reader”.

Now is the time when I should probably say that I’m a big Kate Winslet fan. She’s a very attractive woman but she is also a very good actress. Forget “Titanic” (although I am intrigued since hearing that James Cameron is considering releasing a 3D version of it back into theaters…VERY intrigued). Watch her in “The Life of David Gale”. She’s great in that one and she doesn’t even get nekkid… I don’t think she does, anyway.  We’ve wandered off track. Back to merkins.

Another quick Google search revealed that you can buy merkins online for around $40. There wasn’t a big selection so I’m not sure what kind of quality you are getting for $40.  Caveat emptor.  A further search revealed several song names which included the word “merkin”.  I even found evidence of a garage band called “The Purple Merkins” who put out at least one CD which they named “Merkinmania”.  I’m still trying to track down at least an audio clip from the Merkins to see what kind of music they played.

I know this one kind of rambled on a bit but it seemed pretty funny to me earlier. Hopefully I’ve enlightened some of you (and not disgusted the rest). I am constantly amazed at how little I really know about the film industry. My research of the merkin brought to light at least one of the many intricacies of the rating system. Who knew that simulated pubic hair would allow a movie to maintain a rating that would be lower than if real pubic hair were revealed? Not me. Next time you’re watching a film with nudity in it just ask yourself, “Is that real, or is it a merkin?”

Until next time let me leave you with a couple of nuggets:

Don’t get your merkin in a bunch. (that’s gotta be worse than a wedgie)

Don’t leave your merkin twisting in the wind. (you’re gonna need to apply more glue)

Hang on to your merkin, it’s gonna be a rough ride. (… comment…)

Dammit, Jim! I’m a doctor not a merkin-fitter! (I wonder if there’s a merkin-fitter’s union – kinda like the pipefitter’s union?)

Do they sell these things on the merkin-tile exchange? (personal favorite. I’m quite proud of this one)

Do you know the Merkin Man, the Merkin Man, the Merkin Man? (children should not be exposed to this)


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