If you intend to do any traveling in a time machine, you'd better invest a whole lot of money in costumes. After all, people in the past looked ridiculous. Why the hell did they, for instance, wear giant white wigs everywhere?
Actually if you look into it, you find some pretty interesting explanations for ...
6Those Ponytails Stuck on the Top of Samurais' Heads
The iconic image of a Japanese warrior (or today, sumo wrestler) comes complete with a weird hairstyle in which the front of the head is shaved while the remaining mullet is bound up in a bun or topknot. The origin of this bizarre haircut, called "chonmage," goes all the way back to the age of the samurai, as it helped to keep a samurai's helmet on his head.
"Nah, I'll stick with the chin strap. I don't want to look ridiculous."
Since the samurai class were wealthy and influential nobility, it didn't take long for the style to catch on among the Japanese public, who longed to be sword-slinging badasses. Over time, it became traditional for boys turning 13 to shave the front of their heads and adopt the samurai hairstyle to signal that they had become men. Hair neatness was so important in Japan that artists usually employed messy hair as shorthand to represent someone who had been in some way disgraced.
"I knew letting Tom Cruise into the country was a bad idea."
The fashion was pretty widespread until globalization forced the Japanese to realize that the rest of the world found their hairstyles absolutely ridiculous -- which is a ballsy claim, considering everyone in the West was wearing powdered wigs at the time (but more on that later).
"... the fuck is this?"
A story from 1863 recounts the adventures of two Japanese students who covered their chonmage hairstyles with hats while visiting Holland. When forced to remove the hats at the theater, they caused such an uproar of hilarity that the play had to be stopped, and the story made the national press the next day. It's just another example of a national pastime ruined by racism.
Unless your national pastime is racism, in which case, go wild.
These days, the legacy of chonmage remains almost solely with sumo wrestlers, who are too fat to be bothered with your criticism of their hairstyles.
5Tiny Penises on Greek Sculptures
You probably know at least two things about Ancient Greece -- it was the birthplace of Western culture, and if all those marble statues are to be believed, everyone had really tiny wangs. Given that most men habitually add around three inches to the real size of their packages in the relatively unlikely event that they're asked, we have to wonder why a washboard-chested warrior civilization decided to portray all their manliest heroes with a chronic case of shrinkage. Was it just really cold back then? How well did they expect that sad little thing to please a woman?
"At least I have my children. The ones who didn't die of typhoid."
Actually, pleasing women was about the last priority that any self-respecting Greek hero would have had back then, if you catch our drift.
Experts have actually exhaustively studied the role of dongs in Greek society and written entire books on the subject. Cecil Adams over at StraightDope.com neatly summarizes it: "Long, thick penises were considered -- at least in the highbrow view -- grotesque, comic or both ...". So in art, big dongs appeared on non-human creatures and barbarians, and the perfect penis in those days, "... was small, thin and covered with a long, tapered foreskin." Which is to say that the Greeks preferred their penises to look, uh ... younger.
"Putting a finger puppet on the end and doing a show" kind of young.
See, in Ancient Greek culture, one of the most common and socially acceptable relationships was between a man and a young boy. It was basically the exact society that fundamentalist Republicans imagine right before they shoot bolt upright, whimpering in a cold sweat. The ideal object of beauty and desire was not Jessica Alba in a hand bra but an athletic, clean-shaven male with the neat and unobtrusive genitalia of a boy just coming into puberty.
In the interests of context and open-mindedness -- ewwww.
So, rather than bragging about having a pork missile so huge that they could make a woman climax twice simultaneously, back then they would brag about having a dick so small that they could attract the wealthiest men in Greece by looking like a 12-year-old. We cannot stress enough how much of a different world this was.
As a result, as the ancient playwright Aristophanes put it, what was most sexy in Ancient Greece was "a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks and a little prick."
Actually, most people we know who look like this tend to be massive pricks.