So on Flag Day (June 14), I went to makeameme.org and typed certain factoids onto the old photo of Francis Bellamy, author of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. I posted the image on Reddit, with the heading, “Merkins, when you pledge allegiance to the flag, remember …”
The one and only commenter replied, “A merkin is a pubic wig worn originally by prostitutes to disguise the fact that they were shaved off to rid themselves of lice, not a nationality.”
Thanks for sucking all the humor out of the punchline, professor. Of course I knew what a merkin is — that’s the joke, man. A person who mindlessly recites a pledge to an animate piece of cloth and thinks himself a patriot is a phony. Americans who wield faux patriotism like a weapon (“love it or leave it”) are fake twats. To wit: Merkins.
I regret using the term “twat” in the service of pun-making. Specifically I regret employing any part of the female form as an insult. Women deserve better. I can do better!
But as long as we’re here, let’s see what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about “merkin.”
merkin (n.) “female pudenda,” 1530s, apparently a variant of malkin in its sense of “mop.” Meaning “artificial vagina or ‘counterfeit hair for a woman’s privy parts’ ” is attested from 1610s. According to “The Oxford Companion to the Body,” the custom of wearing merkins dates from mid-15c., was associated with prostitutes, and was to disguise a want of pubic hair, shaved off either to exterminate body lice or evidence of venereal disease.
Well, I did not realize merkin was kin to malkin. Makes sense!