Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: The latest thing in the world of fashion, thanks to Elizabeth Hurley: sequinned pubic hair extensions!
Example: [Evening Standard, 1998]
Origins: A British columnist discovered in mid-1998 that she had created a monster when an article she'd intended as a joke was received as gospel. The above-quoted item was meant as a humor piece, yet there were those who took it straight up.
The columnist herself explained it thusly:
The lie that got out of controlBarbara "the tortoiseshell and the hair" Mikkelson
Further to the misunderstanding about Liz Hurley's knickers, another grave misunderstanding appears to have arisen. Since writing in this column about the subtle, sequined pubic-hair extensions that our Liz wore recently to a friend's wedding, I have had a series of increasingly surreal conversations about town.
Here is one example:
Girl at book launch: Have you heard about Liz Hurley's pube extensions? It's absolutely amazing.
Me: No, I mean, yes, I have. I made it up. It's not true.
Girl: No it is. Honestly. It's just incredible. Apparently, it takes absolutely hours to get it done and you have about 39,000 individual hairs down there. I mean, can you imagine? Makes your eyes water. It was in the paper.
Me: I know it was in the paper. I put it there. It was a joke.
Girl: But I was talking to the girls at the gym and one of them said she knew someone who was going to have it done because Liz looked so fab. And you know, you can have them done to match your handbag, which would be really cool, or for the beach.
Me: Does the word irony mean anything to you? As in, ha-ha, very funny. Totally over the top. Nobody could take it seriously. When I wrote about that in my
Girl: Oh, are you a journalist? Great. What sort of thing — politics?
Me: No. Ludicrous and totally facetious items about famous women who have extensions to their pubic hair.
Girl: Oh, like Liz Hurley?
Finding yourself to be the author of an urban legend is a curious sensation. I feel helpless yet sneakily proud in an embarrassed kind of way. The whole thing is so thoroughly
If a minor fiction can so quickly establish itself as a celebrated truth, I'm not sure where that leaves history proper. So, for once and for all, I would like to make it absolutely crystal clear that
Last updated: 1 January 2005
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