fleetinglogic (fleetinglogic) wrote in ontd_sassenach,

Anachronisms, DIY depilatories and Claire’s hot wax

When I watched episode 9, I’d just read the NYTimes film review (Source) of ‘Effie Gray’ (screenplay by Emma Thompson), who was infamously rejected by her husband (the erudite and perverse John Ruskin) their entire marriage (6 years!) ostensibly because on their wedding night he was shocked by her pubic hair.

So while the fireplace sex gave much to distract at the end of episode 9, for the first time I was wondering about Claire’s perfectly waxed legs (didn’t occur to me in The Wedding ep) and Jamie not noticing it. Which led to a fuzzy recall of book 2 [Spoiler warning]Didn't Claire wax her legs and Jamie was appalled?. Also they’d just returned from the road trip and she was furious with Jamie, so methinks shaving her legs would have been a low priority :-)

The NYTimes review mentioned this fascinating article (Source), about Renaissance women (and at least back to 3000 BC) removing their body hair. I thought of DG's research and Claire’s apothecary, especially when they mention depilatory recipes like ones made of pig lard or mustard and juniper or a distillation of swallows!! And cautions to wash the area first in cat dung and vinegar. (Come hither, Jamie!… er, uh… Come back, Jamie!)

Or this particularly hair-raising recipe from 1532:

How to Remove or Lose Hair from Anywhere on the Body
Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn’t come off.

This may be splitting hairs, but I wonder if they’ll ever explain how Claire got her legs that polished! That would be a fun flashback to their wedding day. Also fun — Claire throwing her hairy legs around Jamie at the end of a long road trip! #thingsneverseenontv

p.s. kudos to the show’s attention to detail, the lengths they go to convey the feel of 1700s Scotland and their own unique details, like the wonderful knits or the flakes of mica in Claire’s gorgeous wedding dress (mica flakes as ‘glitter’ apparently dates to prehistoric times). Wonder if they’ll address women’s grooming traditions!
Tags: book!dragonflyinamber, but i like ye fine, claire beauchamp randall fraser
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded