Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gentlemen prefer blondes

Dumb blondes . . . everyone knows the stereotype . . . heck everyone probably knows one!  Have you ever thought about how they got such a less than flattering distinction?  Well, it just so happens that there is a ground zero for the basis of the discrimination against ditzy fair ones. 

Catherine-Rosalie Gerard Duthé was a beautiful and much adored French courtesan in the times of Marie Antoinette.  She was self described as l’arc et le carquois de l'Amour  . . . the bow and quiver of love

Rosalie was born into a minor bourgeoisie household, her father held a trivial position in the King’s household.  At a young age she was instructed by a female relative her that it would be beneficial for her to take full advantage of her feminine gifts . . . pale skin, rosy cheeks, shapely bosom and full figure . . .  perhaps realizing that was all the poor girl would have to work with.

She escaped the hold of her family by going to work for the Paris Opera.  In case you didn’t know . . . opera literally translates from Italian to English as work.  Ladies of the opera were often working ladies . . . yeah, that kind of working lady.    Indeed they sang and danced and performed the plays of the day but the young ladies of high society did not go to the opera, so that should tell you something.  Rosalie was also not known for her acting abilities . . . that should also tell you something.    In fact, a satire was written about her called "Les curiosités de la Foire"  . . .  Curiosities of the Fair.  The play mocked her vacuous acting style . . . the long pauses, the silence; it was a huge success.

She was known to be sweet and have a pleasant tinkling laugh . . . she was said to be vivacious and charming . . . and also to be dumb as a rock.  When spoken to she would pause for uncomfortably long periods before responding . . . if at all . . . searching the vast emptiness for something . . . anything . . . sensible to say in reply?    

But gentlemen were not necessarily interested in Rosalie's conversational skills.  She was asked by the king to spend some time with his son . . . to teach him les faits de la vie . . . the facts of life. 

She was the companion to kings and nobility.  She enjoyed a lavish lifestyle by accepting the gifts these men bestowed upon her.  When Rosalie was seen in the royal carriage, other women were jealous. Typically, only the royal family was allowed to travel in the carriage . . . not a woman of her trade.   It was said she earned this privilege by means of her blond hair and that La Duthé a dû téter  . . .  La Duthé must have suckled royally.  Nice huh?

She was also sought after by many artists to pose for them . . . both fully clothed and completely naked.   In fact, there were many painting of her nude or partially naked. Paintings of her were commissioned for gentlemen to meditate upon . . . meditate . . . riiiiiiiiiiiight.  She may have also been the original pin-up girl.  

No comments:

Post a Comment