Tuesday, March 04, 2008

They not only exist but actually have a name

I was going to write a serious post, but then the lure of the merkin was just too strong.

I do occasionally, when I write about poo, or parasites, or other random and potentially distasteful topics, worry that readers will just be all, "Wtf, Lisa?" and give up on me. But then I figure, well, nothing to be done about it.

So the merkin. It's been a recurring conversational topic.

I first heard of a merkin on Halloween about ten years ago in San Diego. A friend of Maude's dressed as a gladiator. I think he had fashioned a skirt out of tin foil. Or he had a gladiator skirt and a codpiece out of tin foil. I don't precisely remember. But he had a lot of layers, which Maude found too enticing.

She lifted one to find another, and lifted the next to find a wig. Not a merkin, by definition. A wig one might put on their head. Which made it all the funnier. So anyway, she lifted that as well. To find, um, a lack of underwear.

"Why'd you lift my merkin?"

Merkin! A new vocabulary word! Plus a huge lesson learned. If you come across a merkin, don't lift it!

Somehow merkin came up the other night. Nick had never heard of one, and when I told him what it meant, I thought he was going to cry, he was laughing so hard.

Why, he wanted to know, would anyone have a pubic wig? Which is actually a really good question in the age of Brazilian waxing.

Immediately "Quit jerkin' my merkin!" became his new phrase.

Honestly. I went out with two friends the other night and he joined us. And at some point he turned to me and said, "Quit jerkin' my merkin!"

Fortunately these are women who are not easily fazed, and they found great humor in it. We left and I got a text from one that said, "Quit jerkin' my merkin!"

So the why of the merkin. As I understand it, they came into existence in the 1400s to cover up the fact that one had shaved pubic hair because of lice, or to disguise the fact that one had syphilis.

In other words, they were practical.

So back to merkin in conversation one night; the next day, I got a slew of merkin-related emails from Nick.

One of them had this link: Merkin (And just to let you all know, you probably don't want to open this at work.)

I clicked on it, and, well, it's a merkin.

"AAAAAGH! How can you send me that at work with no warning?!?"

"Lisa, the link is 'merkin' - how can you suggest that you didn't have any warning?"

Fair enough.

And then, not two days later, Kay walked in from lunch with several other people, and I caught a snatch of their conversation.

"...you know, kind of like a merkin."

Merkin? Did she just say merkin? I had to rush over. "What's kind of like a merkin!?"

She was referring to the fact that there are all these random things out there in the world that would never occur to you. You learn about them, and it turns out they not only exist, but they have names. Kind of like a merkin!



  1. The things I learn on this blog... I had never heard of a merkin!

  2. Until I'm fitted for a Merkin, I'm going to rely on the trusty comb-over.

  3. Until I'm fitted for a Merkin, I'm going to rely on the trusty comb-over.

  4. I never knew about this either, but now I'm intrigued and MUST find a way to sneak "merkin" into casual conversation.

  5. Beach Bum - Always happy to expand horizons! :)

    Kerrie - Ha ha ha ha! Quit jerkin' my merkin!

    Alexandra - Ohhhh, please, please do! And then let me know!

  6. Hahaha you said "snatch" :) Yep, it's that kind of day. Potty humor begets potty humor!

  7. What I want to know is if you've told Betty about merkins.

    MathMan taught me that word many years ago after a friend of his, a man many years our senior (think father figure, but Xrated), told him about the merkin.

    You know, I never did inquire why theywere discussing merkins in the first place.

    I love that people want to use merkin in casual conversation. I'm going to see if I can slip it into Board minutes next week. Bet no one even notices.....

  8. I see your Merkin (heh) and I raise you Coprolite

  9. garyq: I see your Coprolite and raise you Smegma... or Meconium...

    yummy... :-P

  10. You know, your high-end Merkins are made of human hair (http://www.wilshirewigs.com/Merkin-(Color:-Black)-pr-2514.html). It is advisable to spend the money up front (so to speak), as if you get the artificial ones, i.e., fiberglass weave, you may may end up regretting it. Moreover, like shoes Merkins make the man. People make immediate judgments based on Merkins, and you don't want people to think that you don't care enough to glue on the very best pubic wig possible.

  11. People get merkin and firkin (a cask containing 8 gallons of ale) muddled up and not wishing to show they unsure nod happily at the mention of the merkin. Of course anyone in the know chuckles quietly and smiles sweetly.

    Although the brunt of many jokes merkins are still available to buy online, what they are made from is another subject altogether.

    Nice article - made me giggle. ....


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