Just a quick one today. One of my academic colleagues pointed out this hilarious and creepy story about nineteenth-century merchandising.
In 1894, George du Maurier wrote a novel called Trilby about artists living a bohemian lifestyle. I haven’t read it yet, so I couldn’t tell you if it’s any good. It was certainly extremely popular in its day.
All I know is this: in the novel, there is a beautiful bohemian woman (perhaps the protagonist Trilby herself, I don’t know) who constantly goes around in her bare feet. Because that’s what bohemians do, I guess. Du Maurier apparently has a crazy foot fetish going on, since he talks incessantly about how sexy this woman’s feet are.
The book became so popular that when people decided to capitalize on it, some genius New York caterer decided to make Trilby ice cream. In the shape of a foot. So you could get a chance to suckle upon this beautiful woman’s toes, and it wouldn’t be weird.
That’s a lie. It is extremely weird.
There were loads of other things named after Trilby, including the hat. There were swimsuits, cigars, restaurants, yachts, cocktails, jewelry, and even whole towns. But this weird, sexualized ice cream? That’s just a whole lotta nope.
If anyone can find a vintage advertisement for this (preferably with an illustration), I will love you forever.
UPDATE: According to one of my readers on the livejournal site, “I haven’t found an illustration yet, but apparently in addition to the ice cream, there were foot-shaped “Trilby Sausages”, which… I can’t tell if that’s worse or better.”
Sweet Jesus. I didn’t think there could be something creepier than foot-shaped ice cream. I was wrong.