Lola Montez was an Irish-born tart who passed for Spanish. She was a mediocre dancer and a whore of much renown, and she hastened the ousting of my Uncle Ludwig, who had the misfortune to, um, date her.
But all that aside, you have to admire her moxie.
Her legacy lives on, I’m somewhat amazed to report, in the following:
- A South African adult entertainment enterprise.
- A 1955 cult classic Max Ophuls film.
- As the subject in “sluts of all time” chronologies.
But of all the Homage du Lola, I am most supremely fascinated by the book penned in her own hand, namely, Arts of Beauty: Or Secrets of a Lady’s Toilet, With Hints to Gentlemen on the Art of Fascinating.
In this hundred-and-fifty-year-old how-to book, you’ll find all sorts of 19th century seductive secrets, including this one for getting rid of the gray:
Gather 10 grams of gallic acid, 1 ounce of acetic acid y 1 ounce of tincture of sesqui-chloride of iron. Dissolve the gallic acid in the tincture of sesqui-chloride of iron, and then add the acetic acid. Before using this preparation, the hair should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. The way to apply the compound is to dip the points of a fine tooth comb into it until the interstices are fill with the fluid, then gently draw the comb through the hair, commencing at the roots, till the dye has perceptibly taken effect. When the hair is entirely dry, oil and brushes (sic) it as usual.
The book contains, besides recipes and methods for all the aspects of the feminine beauty, some recommendations for gentlemen as well, but the real gem of her well-researched counsel lies in this passage:
Many women who can lay no claim to a beautiful face, have carried captive the hearts of plenty of men by the beauty of their form.
And by form, Lola means, naturally, T & A.
Ah. Well, it is the oldest profession, after all.