Maggie Robinson

Nov 19
Fur Real

The calendar may not yet mark winter, but I live in Maine, and I’m cold. It’s supposed to snow this week. Ugh. I’m in my red LL Bean 3-in-1 jacket, gloves in the pocket.

Years ago I had a silver fox fur jacket that I bought at a vintage clothing store in Greenwich Village, but I wouldn’t dream of buying a fur coat now—not only because of the money, but because of the ickiness of it all. Yes, I eat meat and wear leather shoes. But somehow the idea of wearing dead little woodland creatures has lost its appeal.

My husband tried to buy me a mink coat once. We lived in Connecticut, and every single woman in our circle of friends had one. He sat back in a plush chair in the store as a saleswoman brought out coat after coat. As glam as I felt in chocolate brown fur that matched my eyes (that’s the saleswoman talking), I couldn’t do it.

My mother had one of those hideous snapping mink stoles that scared the bejesus out of me when I was little. Full bodies. Beady little eyes. Jaws biting onto tails and paws. Shudder.

Yet I’ve dressed my historical heroines in fur-lined cloaks. They’ve had fur hats and tippets and muffs. There was no PETA then. Nobody was throwing buckets of red paint around in protest. Fur is fine in fiction. Historicals give you a little leeway in the political correctness department.

What have you run across reading that would be icky in real life but that’s just ducky to read about? How do you feel about fur?

No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink. ~Murray Banks

Book giveaway! The utterly fabulous, desperately delightful Eloisa James guest blogs tomorrow, November 20 on Vauxhall Vixens! Be sure to visit!

14 comments to “Fur Real”

  1. irisheyes
     · November 19th, 2008 at 2:35 pm · Link

    The first thing that came to mind Maggie was the big, strong, sweaty male just in from (choose one)… horsebackriding, working in the field, working on their motorcycle, chopping wood, hunting, fighting, etc… you get the idea.

    In the books it sounds really sexy, but in reality I think I’d like my man to go clean up a bit before we get down to business, so to speak!

  2. Elyssa Papa
     · November 19th, 2008 at 2:36 pm · Link

    I’m not a fan of fur whatsoever. I actually cringe when I see someone wearing it. All I can picture of the alive animals . . . maybe I watched 101 Dalmations too much as a kid, but fur is not for me.

  3. Stephanie J
     · November 19th, 2008 at 2:43 pm · Link

    While I don’t plan to buy a fur jacket I guess I’m one of those that’s not all that against it. I wear leather shoes, I would wear a leather jacket, and I have fur-lined leather gloves that I got as a Christmas present one year. I know there’s something having to do with trapping methods and whatnot but I also eat steak and I just can’t see how one is so much better or worse than another. Like I said, I still wouldn’t want a fur coat and I’m not advocating them but it’s just not something that I get bothered about.

    Anything hygiene-related in historical novels is just fine to read but when I think about being sick back in the day, the medicinal methods, and then general hygiene stuff like baths…ick. Just ick!

  4. Tiffany Chalmers
     · November 19th, 2008 at 7:17 pm · Link

    I have a vintage stole (mink) maggie! LOL–beady little eyes and all! I love fur. Wouldn’t wear a whole coat made of it, but do own fur.

    I’m with irish on the sweaty man, in reality, go wash up honey, in a book, give me man that smells like man. Weird.

  5. Maggie Robinson
     · November 19th, 2008 at 9:41 pm · Link

    Irish, when I think of how people must have smelled with rare bathing, pre-deoderant, I’m just so grateful to live nowadays. I must bathe/shower at least once a day or I can’t function.

    Ely, LOL on 101 Dalmations. I LOVED that movie. And you know my Ioan was in the sequel.

    Steph,I love the look of fur, and I guess you can get good fake stuff now. When my girls were little they had adorable gray faux fur jackets with hoods that made them look ready to go to Alaska.

    Oh, Tiff. I remeber my mom’s stole. It hung on the back of the cellar door. I was already afraid to go down into the cellar (old house, scary noisy furnace, dirt crawl space), and just getting past those beady little eyes was an achievement. No wonder I still hate to do laundry.:)

  6. Elyssa Papa
     · November 20th, 2008 at 1:15 am · Link

    You know, Maggie, before I didn’t really “get” Ioan Gruffurd’s attractiveness. But then I saw Horatio Hornblower and oh my, let’s say I see why you like him. *g*

  7. Maggie Robinson
     · November 20th, 2008 at 6:22 am · Link

    Ah, Horatio. from the first episode where he’s callow and seasick to when he makes that unfortunate marriage, he is SUCH a hero. He’s really not classically handsome but he’s got something…that I’m too old to want, LOL.

  8. Tiffany Chalmers
     · November 20th, 2008 at 7:39 am · Link

    Maggie, you can never be too old to want something like Ioan. Shows there’s plenty of life in you left.

  9. Maggie Robinson
     · November 20th, 2008 at 9:08 am · Link

    Let me put it this way, Tiff—I don’t want to throw my back out!I have my routine. How far away I’m getting from fur…unless we talk about manscaping, and that’s a whole other blog topic.

  10. BernardL
     · November 20th, 2008 at 10:55 am · Link

    In the times you write of, Maggie, they didn’t have synthetic materials to stay warm with. My aunt had one of those snapping furs when I was little. It was hideous.

  11. Kelly Krysten
     · November 20th, 2008 at 7:30 pm · Link

    I haven’t watched Horatio Horblower but I definitely have a thing for Ioan.

    And I’m not into fur, faux or otherwise. I think it would look strange on me. I also agree that fur works in historicals. It’s hard for PETA to get mad at something that happened so long ago…at least that’s what I tell myself.:)

    PS:Have you hammered out those last 8,000 words yet? I promise I didn’t try to steal them-thought about it but didn’t try.*g*

  12. Maggie Robinson
     · November 20th, 2008 at 7:37 pm · Link

    Excellent point, Bernard. I’ve also learned a bit about dyes for fabrics too—some colors just weren’t possible in the “good old days.”

    Kelly, I’m down to 6500, which will probably take me forever to write, LOL. And you can’t have ANY!!! You are an amazing inspiration.

  13. Linda Banche
     · November 21st, 2008 at 11:07 am · Link

    I’ve heard buying a secondhand fur coat called the ultimate recycling.

    I have a friend who ran a consignment shop and she received quite a few fur coats. Many were bequeathed to women from their mothers and grandmothers. These women wanted to sell them, because, really, you don’t just throw that kind of coat out. It would be like throwing jewelry out.

    Unfortunately, many were also almost new. Fur coats are still a sign of wealth and status. As long as they are, there will be new fur coats.

  14. Laura
     · November 25th, 2008 at 8:31 pm · Link

    I know a woman who is a vegetarian and owns many fur coats. She tells people, “You eat them, I wear them.”