Whether it takes the form of a somewhat historical film like Braveheart or an only slightly more fictionalized epic like Lord of the Rings, we do love watching some old-timey combat. Vikings, Samurai, Roman Centurions -- there's just something so much cooler about the way men fought back in the old days.
And, of course, we're about to tell you that almost everything you think about those old wars is completely wrong. In reality ...
5 Real Vikings Were a Bunch of Fussy Dandies
Quick, imagine a Viking. Even if you know your history enough to realize they didn't have horns on their helmets (which would be super inconvenient in battle), you're still imagining a hardened, filthy brute smelling of stale sweat and English corpses. These were the manliest of men, guys who fed on boiled lamb's head and treated their clothes in cow piss, for crying out loud. Vikings were grimy, gritty, poop-encrusted barbarians, and proud of it.
Well, yeah, if by "poop-encrusted barbarians" you mean "the most dedicated dandies of their time." With their carefully coiffed hair and trimmed beards, history's Vikings would have scoffed at Chris Hemsworth for looking like a Nordic hobo who spent a night in a dumpster.
"What woman would have me?"
It turns out, the only thing Vikings loved more than a fine day pillaging and slaughtering was the sort of personal grooming most of us modern people wouldn't dream of bothering with. Seriously, they were way, way into that shit: Pretty much every non-slave member of Viking society wore absurdly complex hair and beard styles they freely peacocked with to display their status in the community. Most owned elaborate grooming kits that included tweezers, razors, tiny scissors, and, presumably, the new album of that bone-horn player you've probably never heard about.
The humble comb alone was such an important part of Viking society that no warrior worth his mead left home without one. Women carried their elaborate combs in a special purse made solely for that purpose (yes, Vikings had purses), while the men kept theirs in special carrying cases slung from their belts (yes, Vikings had fanny packs). Those combs saw a lot of use, too. Vikings were the Dark Ages equivalent of greasers, constantly grooming their 'dos while somehow still managing to look badass.
"Rinsing with the blood of your enemies always gives you that extra bounce and volume."
Even their famous Nordic blonde hair wasn't always natural: Vikings were pioneers in seafaring, axe-murdering, and cosmetology alike, and their lightly colored manes and beards were often the product of bleaching. This practice also had a practical element: For several months of the year, everyone's bathtub was literally a block of ice, so bleaching one's hair and beard (and regularly combing them) kept lice and other unhygienic elements at bay. Don't think for a second there wasn't a beauty element involved, though. Vikings were totally all about lookin' fine: Even their most legendary kings were saddled with nicknames such as Harald the Fairhair instead of the more common but less awesome kingly monikers like "Great" or "Magnificent."
From the standpoint of a modern "Vikings were brutal barbarians" view, the end result of all this grooming, plaiting, and (presumably) nose-hair plucking was surprising: When they were not actively pillaging and raping, Vikings were actually quite a hit with the ladies all over the place, because they were just so goddamn fabulous.
Which makes everyone's Loki boners historically accurate boners.