- March 25, 2021
- Emilya Naymark
A week ago I had to have my eyes dilated and spent the evening unsure of where the furniture was, exactly. Or if it was furniture or a family member. The blurriness lasted the entire evening, and made me ruminate on the Victorian ladies who poisoned themselves on purpose, then spent their nights fashionably sexy-eyed, while bumping into walls.
Belladonna – poisonous beauty
Belladonna, common name: Deadly Nightshade, had been used for hundreds of years by women to give themselves “bedroom eyes.” It principally acts to inhibit the body’s ability to regulate involuntary activities. Drops in eyes caused the pupils to dilate. Taken internally it could make a gal hallucinate, but once you can’t tell your suitor from a hat-rack, what’s a bit of fantasy? Those who did this often enough went blind, but presumably they were safely married by then.
Get the Lead out – it’s time to partaaay!
From ancient Rome to, yes, still those Victorians, women used lead in facial cosmetics to create a pale, smooth complexion. Steady application poisoned them and made them wrinkly, gray-haired, and constipated. However, being thin and sickly was considered the height of femininity, so, you know, there was that. And this brings me to…
Arsenic! Because it’s never too early to start dying.
The Victorians REALLY wanted to be pale and sickly, and so they found nothing better to do than poison themselves slowly with arsenic wafers. It made them anemic, and therefore quite feminine and desirable. Sometimes it made them go bald. Sometimes it made them die. But, they died pretty.
Yes, yes, we can go on and on. Botox (okay, it’s botulism in a needle, but, you know, small dose and everything), surgery, who knows what in our hair products. Beauty is a dangerous game. But, hey, you only live once. Right?
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