Translators note: I did not translate the text word for word, I translated it trying to keep the core of the meaning intact. I apologise for heavy handed styling and any grammatical errors.
The text really says that 35000 belts were sold IN 1987. I have a hard time believing this, unless one counts all chastity belts (leather, novelty and otherwise). I would rather think SINCE 1987 is more realistic.
The first traceable chastity belts date back to the Middle Ages. As suspected, they are heavy, stiff, rustic. At the end of the XIVth century, appearing at Florence, the Bellifortis that Francois II de Carrare imposed upon his unfortunate wife. As of Henry II, a hardware man from Saint-Germain proposes a device to reign-in the female situation. Some scandalous rumours are being touted about Casanova's chastity belt and a chastity belt with nails from Jean Porat known as the torturing pharmacist. However, come the end of the XIXth century, the chastity belt is sold through catalogue.
Today this device, whether of chastity or perversity is up for debate (probably both), is , dare we say, of common usage: 35000 were sold in 1987. Hal Hegebottom makes the most elegant and practical models. From his right-city of Manchester (England) he answers Penthouse to an inquisition from inspector Dante Vacchi.
Penthouse: How did the idea to make chastity belts come to you?
Hal Higginbottom: This goes back almost 25 years. A gentleman who built precision instruments showed me a belt and asked me to copy it. It was the first time I ever saw one. I did not object to grant his request. Quite the opposite, I became interested in the subject. The more research I did, the further I was intrigued. However, I had much difficulty in meeting with customers. We then decided, with another colleague, to post an advertisement in a high circulation newspaper, and wait and see. We poured over the text meticulously, eliminating the term chastity belt to avoid shocking. We talked of high technology materials, luxurious and practical, to safeguard a married man's honour, fathers of nubile young women, fiancees inflicted with potentially ill-faithful tender halves. A few days after the advertisement, we received no less than six hundred requests for further information, and each day more letters. In addition to the simpler leather with steel brace model, we also built deluxe models aimed at the sex-shops. At first we copied ancient models, much like the ones found in museums. Naturally, ours were more practical, lighter and aesthetically pleasing. The orders never stopped and today I receive them from all over the world.
Penthouse: From where in particular?
Hal Higginbottom: The highest numbers are from France, the United-States and Belgium. But also from all over, for example the Middle-East where, I am told, they go through the embassies. They are carried in the diplomatic pouch. Generally speaking, France is my best customer. It is certain that the demand is great and would be greater if I had a factory. I do not really wish that. My maximum production in top-of-the-line belts is two or maybe three a week - but three is really the maximum. This makes for about one hundred belts a year. I do my work exclusively by hand. I produce high-precision work. I know that we are not the only ones on the market, but the belts that we produce are the best. Because they are aesthetically beautiful one can have them worn under a transparent evening dress and excite the party-goers without running the risk of seeing ones wife, daughter, mistress or gay boyfriend getting raped... or yielding under temptation.
[ Penthouse interview - Part 2 ]
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