Pepys Day 6!

30 Dec

Samuel Pepys PlaqueThe liveliest of the diary entries yet! Pepys recorded a fat handful of juicy details on December 30, 1662, but the one I and my lowly mind entertained the most was a tidbit handed over during a heavy-drinking lunch by a couple of officers in the Dutch East India Company, who told Pepys about a method for increasing a man’s fertility used by the native peoples of the Cape of Good Hope. I had to read the annotations to discover what exactly this method entailed, because the editor of the edition used for this site had excised the details—too faint of heart. I don’t blame him. The method? “[W]hen they come to age, the men do cut off one of the stones of each other, which they hold doth help them to get children the better and to grow fat” (see 3rd annotation). I wasn’t likely to forget that but what stands out to me more than the mental images of gore and my horror at the pain these poor men endured is the realization by these people, so long ago, that a MAN could have something to do with fertility—an insight that escaped Westerners for quite some time. In any case, talk of “stones”—again, I wince for those men—was particularly good inspiration, apparently, because I’m very pleased with the day’s shorty.


Working Title: Good Girl
1st Sentence: He’d read somewhere, in one of those ridiculous pamphlets he picked up at that back-to-earth, commune outfit in the next county, no doubt, that walnuts enhance fertility.
Favorite Sentence: Should you want to spark a baby with a man who has left behind entirely the funny, sexy guy you married, to become this fretful, forehead-creased accountant of passing days, the keeper of the calendar logging everything that happens between your legs, the man-splainer who intones the word “menses,” when instructing you about your own goddamn cycle, who has forgotten entirely about your breasts but could write an epic poem about your ovaries?
Word Length: 628


Photo by Man vyi 12/2008. Inscription by “The Corporation of the City of London”: In a house on this site, Samuel Pepys, diarist, was born. 1632-1703.

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