Attending the University and studying sometimes obscure history, I never forgot a lecture by one very special professor. The class was, I believe, on the Middle Ages.
The question was: “ Why do we call dreadful men ‘pricks’?” Well, it’s not what you think, and the answer is going to surprise you.
During those “good old days” of religious fanaticism and witch hunts (I mean the real witch hunts), it seems there was one physical attribute that would identify a REAL witch: an “extra nipple.” This secondary nipple was, supposedly, the one that the woman used to suckle the devil. And, what was that nipple? Actually, it was a large “skin tag” on her breast.
The technique used to expose the witch was simple and barbaric. The woman was held down and tortured. Without her noticing, a man called a “prick” would jab the “extra nipple” (skin tag) with a sharp needle. If the woman didn’t feel the jab, that was proof positive that she was a witch. (As we all know, the skin tag has no nerves and therefore it was a sure thing she wouldn’t feel it.) Anyway, that’s where the term “prick” came from. (Don’t bother looking it up; it’s not there! Well, another definition is there; the wrong one.)
Furthermore, and most interesting, women became the first dermatologists! Female friends would get together in secret and peruse each other’s bodies to find any dreaded skin tags … and then cut them off. So we have the Middle Ages version of an esthetician. Next time your’re visiting your esthetician you might consider the historical roots of this institution.
Anyway, I never lost my love for history and am still an avid reader. I just thought you might enjoy this little story. I love quirky things like this … that’s probably why I love electrology.