Think of what this simple notion - women locked inside the castle, waiting for sex - does to the male psyche. Mind you, since men acted the roles of women back then, the story was probably sexy in idea alone.But then - as we shall see - idea is the art of the tease.Alarm consumed America and laws were passed making it illegal to wear skirts more than seven-and-a-half inches off the floor (in Philadelphia) or three inches above the ankle (in Utah).
Of course, like all good teases, they take their act to the next level."We'll just be up here, together," I can hear them whispering into their husbands' ears before they climb the steps, swinging their hips carelessly...In Europe, people were allowed to drink to their heart's content, and women mostly kept their clothes on.In America, where alcohol and too much leg were both deemed illegal, they developed the art of the striptease. f I'm not talking merely about the blue-collar clientele.But her transformation occurred in more than just name.
She was not a beauty and so, as she herself said, "the rest had to be created. my legs [were called] 'the loveliest legs in the world', [an idea that] came out of my head." And she was convincing.
It may be true that she indulged in high-end affairs and accepted gifts, but who wouldn't?
Returning a gift to a prince is not equal to returning a sweater to a department store - one simply doesn't do it.
Henry James described the Paris of the late 19th century as "a massive flower of national decadence, the biggest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes ..." For while England and America were scandalised by tights, here it was the age of the cancan, the Folies Bergère and the Moulin Rouge - and a time when any girl, no matter her background, could transcend class by lighting up the stage.
The very best "dancers" consorted with kings, artists and writers.
Take Minstinguett, my favourite showgirl of the day, who was linked romantically with Alphonso XIII, the King of Spain, and the Russian Prince Orloff, while socialising with Jean Cocteau and Oscar Wilde.