Gap-toothed women

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Gap-toothed women were once believed to be especially sensual.

The poet Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”:

 

Yes, I’m gap-toothed, it suits me well I feel

It is the point of Venus and her seal

So help me God, I was a lusty one

Fair, young and well-to-do and full of fun

And was unable to deny, in truth

My chamber of Venus to a likely youth

The mark of Mars is still upon my face

And also in another privy place

For as I may be saved by God above

I never used discretion when in love

 

Lauren Hutton:

images-4660

 

 

 

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by fuzziewuzziebear on May 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    While it is not my cup of tea, it does demonstrate something. Men see different features as adding or subtracting. This ensures that a greater number of women are seen to be attractive, enhancing the mating prospects for all women. It would not be good if all the men chased after the same women.

    Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on May 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      I don’t find it attractive in the top woman above. But my wife has this feature and it has never bothered me. It is one of those minor imperfections that can be ignored or may even be cute.

      Reply

      • Posted by fuzziewuzziebear on May 23, 2017 at 1:56 am

        I can see that. Features in someone you care about are simply accepted and become endearing. Still, that points to men being flexible.

  2. I wouldn’t necessarily interpret the Chaucer passage that way. It’s the Wife of Bath justifying herself rather than Chaucer stating a general principle. Possibly there’s a medieval comment there, maybe something like excessive sexual appetite having an effect on other parts of the body (the mouth and teeth being the instruments of appetite, this is where it is shown).

    The original isn’t so hard to decipher:

    Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel;
    I hadde the prente of seinte Venus seel.
    As help me God, I was a lusty oon,
    And faire, and riche, and yong, and wel bigon,
    And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
    I hadde the beste quoniam myghte be.
    For certes, I am al Venerien
    610 In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcien.
    Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse,
    And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardynesse;
    Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars therinne.
    Allas, allas! That evere love was synne!
    I folwed ay myn inclinacioun
    By vertu of my constellacioun;

    Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on May 23, 2017 at 2:04 am

      Here is some discussion:

      https://inpress.lib.uiowa.edu/feminae/DetailsPage.aspx?Feminae_ID=32397

      “The illustrator of the Ellesmere Chaucer chose not to portray the most sexually alluring elements (in the medieval understanding) of the Wife’s appearance, her gap teeth and red stockings.”

      It honestly didn’t occur to me until very recently that the gap between a woman’s teeth like that illustrated (which seems to be a common minor anomaly which actress Lauren Hutton has, as well as my wife!) might suggest an open vulva or the like. That would fit in with (mediaeval?) ideas of symbolism or sympathetic magic.

      One could say that it was a mediaeval analogue of the modern “thigh gap” of nubile girls.

      I have added a picture above of Lauren Hutton.

      Reply

    • Interesting, maybe it is like the joke about men with big feet having big willies.

      Reply

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