Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dirty jokes: The Pearl

Yeah, scraping the barrel. Been doing a lot of non-gay history reading lately.

The Pearl, a dirty Victorian magazine, ran between July 1879 and December 1880, when it was forced to shut down for obscenity. I found a 1968 edition that collected the issues, including all the poetry and jokes, and on my initial flip through I found a reference to Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, two young men who enjoyed traipsing around London in drag in the 1860s and 70s, and who were arrested and tried for 'attempt to commit sodomy' in 1870. There's quite a bit of info about them on the web, including news pieces (go a little ways down the page, or ctrl-f), their letters, and even the complete trial record. Here is a blog post with a good summary, complete with pictures. Anyways, that's background. This limerick is another sign of mass media, popular culture, and the love of a dirty joke, all alive and well in Victorian England:

There was an old person of Sark,
Who buggered a pig in the dark;
The swine, in surprise,
Murmured "God blast your eyes,
Do you take me for Boulton or Park?"

It's also interesting that the author/submitter would expect people to remember a non-celebrity scandal that occured almost ten years before, and the names involved. I haven't studied the progression of our modern short attention spans and quick-aging references.

The other joke I found while searching through the book for that. (I eventually resorted to Google Books, our new evil overlord.) It's not related, except in its reference to sodomy.

"An old and favoured servant of two maiden ladies had been frequently reprimanded by him for his free behavior with the female servants. Caught one day in flagrante delicto, he was summoned to their presence, and while the girl was sacked, he was told that if he did not do better and turn over a new leaf, much as they valued him- his next escapade would be the last. He promised amendment and matters went on very well for a time. One evening, he was not to be found when wanted, and on a search being made, was discovered in the beer-cellar, buggering the page boy.
"How now," he was asked, "is this your amendment? You promised to turn over a new leaf." "So I have,", said he, "only I have begun at the bottom of the page!"
History does not give the conclusion of the matter."

Amazon, if you're interested; it's cute and full of the old staples of erotic stories like fake lesbians and men named Mr. Loveshaft. One reviewer says there are stories with male homosexuality, but I haven't read it through.

No comments: