Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lady Godiva Revisited

The other day I saw an ad online for Lady Godiva Chocolate.   When I lived in Pittsburgh, there used to be a Lady Godiva Chocolatier at the local Mall and even though I've never been big into chocolate (I prefer a great cheese, salami and fresh bread myself).. it was spectacular to inhale deeply whenever I walked by the store.  

I noticed the Lady Godiva logo and realized there must be a story there.  A story which I was not familiar with.  A story which must, at the very least, be quite it's a woman with long flowing hair..riding a horse...naked!

When I was younger, I remember lazying around on the couch one Saturday afternoon.   Saturday mornings were cleaning day at our house and I was more or less done for the day and had switched on the TV to watch some cartoons.  My mom came walking through the Family Room and saw me "not doing anything" and asked me:  "Who do you think you are?  Lady Godiva?  Get up and do something".   As a result, I was always under the impression that Lady Godiva was some filthy rich woman who had nothing better to do all day than lie around and have people wait on her hand and foot. 

My mom used the Lady Godiva expression a lot.   If I was sitting at the kitchen table, and asked someone who was "up" already to grab me an extra fork from the drawer or a jar of mustard from the mom's response would be..."Who do you think you are?  Lady Godiva?  Get up and get it yourself".   

So, somehow, in the early 70's,  Lady Godiva moved from naked political activist to lazy woman who laid about and did nothing. 

I checked a variety of sources on the story of Lady Godiva.   It's a legend that took place in Coventry, England and each version has a slightly different take or spin.  

The gist of it is this:

Lady Godiva was a real person.  She was a noblewoman who lived during the late 11th Century and was married to the Earl of Mercia...Leofic.  He ruled England under the Danish King Canute.

We'll skip over all of the messy minutia and focus only on the fact that there seems to have been some sort of oppressive tax or tribute enacted by Leofic.  These were monies paid by the English to the invading Scandinavians and were called, the Heregeld.

Lady Godiva did not like this hefty tax placed upon the backs of the already struggling peasantry and so in the midst of a "discussion" with her husband, the Earl, he tells her he will repeal the tax if she will ride buck naked...on horseback (ouch!) through the main drag of Coventry on Market Day.  Nothing would be covering her 'cept for her long, flowing locks. 

Later versions of the story have Lady Godiva sending out an edict before her ride alerting the townspeople to close their shutters while she passes by.   One naughty man, Tom, looked anyway...and hence the legend of Peeping Tom was born.

Lady Godiva rode through the streets and the tax was eliminated.  Her husband did not think she'd take him up on his wager as she was known as being a very religious and pious woman.    Hatred of taxes which oppress have driven some people to incredible lengths to see them repealed....lengths which seem to go against their personality and character.   Such was the case with Lady Godiva.

Wouldn't that be great if that's all we had to do now?  Ride through the streets "...nekkid as a jay bird..." (to quote the Streak)...and get some intrusive law or tax repealed?   I'm game!  Why not?  Life's too short to not get in on a little tax-repealing-naked-horse-riding".  I sure like the idea better than running a 5 or 10k race to support a good cause...don't you?  *wink* *wink*

While pondering this idea the other day, I wondered if anyone would care or notice a woman or a group of women riding naked through the streets of a major city.    The naked female form is now everywhere.   There's a glut of nakedness on the market.  A glut of websites and magazines and strip clubs where men can go to have their visual needs met.  Why should they stand outside while some bouncing babes cantor by?'s a rhetorical question.

Would it really be so daring a move in the 21st Century to take to the saddle..."birthday suited up"? (thanks Barney).  I suppose nowadays the ante would have to be upped and we would have to ride en masse to get any sort of positive exposure (pun intended...ya'll are welcome!)  Maybe instead of one of those boring and generic Million Man Marches on Washington D.C., we can do A Billion Bare Naked Bouncing Babes Ride Horseback on D.C. for the repeal of one of the many (take your pick) onerous taxes churned out and exacted upon us by a House and Senate which more and more resemble not an elected group of representatives, but an elected group of greedy goons who tell us we need to tighten our belts while they buy themselves bigger pants to fit their ever burgeoning waistlines......(and she finally exhales).

Am I ranting?   ha...guess I am.   I'll stop now.

And even if the Billion Babe Ride doesn't bring in the desired results, all is not lost.   Some of us babes  might at least get some phone numbers or email addresses from some eligible bachelors...who will have already seen us naked in the light and so all of that awkward first-time-seeing-me-naked-crap...will be stripped away (two totally off the cuff naked puns in a row...the girl's got her mojo on today).  It's a win-win.  

We'll wait till Summer though, o.k.?   I'll just have to cross my fingers that there will still be onerous taxes and eligible bachelors to "ride" for (pun also intended...hey, when you've got it, you've got it!) come June (April, here in the South).

One more Godiva fact that I found in my research.  Did you know that Dr. Seuss (one of my very favorite authors) wrote a book back in 1939...(when he was writing for adults)...entitled:  Seven Lady Godivas:  The True Facts Concerning History's Barest Family.  It bombed out and if you put it in its historical context, one can probably find a myriad of reasons why it failed.  It was then reprinted in 1987.  I guess it was an attempt at adult writing and he considered it a great failure, but of course now the book is a curiosity for those of us who grew up cutting our teeth on Seuss and in turn raised our children on the writings of the good Dr.

I had to go to eBay and score myself a copy of the book.  I got one for less than $5.00 w/free shipping.   Not too shabby.  It's a 1987 model cause there's no way in hell I'm going to buy a 1939 First Edition...not with gas at $2.70-something a gallon!!! 

For those of you who've been following the blog, you know that each month I post a pose.    These poses will become the ones I will use when I take my Pinup pictures next April and those will then be assembled into a calendar.  I like the painting of Lady Godiva which I've posted above.   I have no idea where I'm going to get a horse or even a fake one for that matter, but I don't care, I want to recreate that pose of this pious woman who unleashes her inner wild side...for a good cause.