There is no man who does not desire to appear well before the opposite sex; but the different methods men have of manifest-Other Practices ing this desire are, to say the least, confusing. Thus in Courtship a South Australian boy must have every hair pulled out around his penis, and the latter decorated with a garland of green leaves, before he can be presented to the sex as a fit candidate for their favor;1 while the Admiralty Islander covers his, or partially covers it, with a sea shell, the dazzling whiteness of which present? a startling contrast to the ebony blackness of the organ, which the brevity of the covering " half conceals half discloses." A fine study in black and white.1 The Tankhul-Naga puts a horn, or ivory, ring over the head of his penis when he wants to present an intensely fascinating appearance;* and in the South Sea Islands the penis is tattooed in the most brilliant and variegated colors, as a means of attracting that attention among the fair sex which its healthy size would alone be pretty apt to insure.* The tattoo marks would, however, at least compare favorably with the venereal necklaces of many of our young "sports" of today in soliciting female regard; while the custom among the Nagas, of slipping the ring over the penis, in preparing for a "fancy dress ball," reminds us that among the early Germans the engagement ring was thus worn, placed upon the young man's perns by the lady herself, with what peculiar feelings to the former I leave to the reader's imagination, and was only removed by the same fair fingers after marriage.
The Chinese lady considers her small feet to be her chief charm; to expose which is deemed exceedingly immodest, and to speak of which is regarded as highly improper on the part of men.* The Hindu woman hides her face, and wears at the same time a thin gauze dress which, while it displays every charm of her dusky person, cannot, as Mr. Man intimates, be regarded as other than an attempt to convey an arrière pensée.1
Ladies, in some portions of Asia, are not permitted to show the ends of their fingers, while a Caribbean belle considers herself very fully dressed with a guajuco, two inches wide, and a becoming smile. To go out of the hut without having the body stained with annatto—butter color—is to "transgress all rules of Caribbean decency;"1 and a Tahitian lady not tattooed would be as much reproached and shunned as a modern prostitute in the street.
1 Nor are some of the dances of civilization much I whin d these in point of indecency. One which I was privileged to see in 1892, in the Jar din de Paris, in the French capital, would make the ordinary houtchi-coutchi artiste look like a New England spinster in comparison.
A Tubori woman of Central Africa wears a narrow strap around her waist, from which a small twig is suspended behind, and feels as much confused and ashamed if the twig should fall off as a modern lady would if her "pantalettes" came down in the street. Women of the Sumatra and Celebes tribes have a similar modesty about exposing the knee;1 and the Samoan idea of shame seems to gather entirely around the navel.1
The idea of modesty, as I have stated, is entirely relative and conventional. People who tattoo themselves are ashamed when they are not tattooed. Those who conceal the bosom, the naval, the penis, the knee, the vulva, the foot, blush to reveal what custom has long concealed; and if we analyze the sentiment correctly, and carefully, I think we shall find that a feeling of shame does not prompt the covering, so much as the covering prompts the feeling of shame.