The Congolese Bearded Lady

Posted on January 31, 2014


The thought of a bearded lady i’m sure you’ll agree conjures up images of freak shows at circuses but here in Congo apparently this is neither something to baulk at nor is it uncommon!!

Last night Tarzan and I hooked up for a curry with two scientists who work for the Wildlife Conservation Society – Dr Gorilla and Dr Chimp. The dinner conversation at a small local Indian restaurant called Ginger had me in stitches and howling with laughter.

The guys are all American and clearly share western taste in what constitutes an attractive women and that means no facial hair!! They swear to me that here in Congo there are beautiful looking women who have all the right assets but they also have extremely high levels of testosterone, which has a down-side. Not only are they are physically hairy around the chin area but they are also able to sport an afro in between their breasts and Congolese men are really into that!!! It’s considered to be the bees-knees.

At first I thought it was a wind up and I argued that perhaps these were trannies or even transexuals. Other than observation, none of the guys have actually got up close and personal with a bearded lady to be able to say for sure that they are genuine women and not men who sort of look like women. I suggested to Dr Gorilla as an unmarried man in the name of science he should “take one for the team” and go collect some data. Can you imagine if you were a man and had facial hair the act of snogging would be most unusual – a bit like two bits of velcro being stuck together and pulled apart. Weird!

There are a lot of very wealthy Congolese as I’ve already explained how phenomenally expensive it is here. I was told that the rich think nothing of hopping on a plane to Europe to get designer suits made that cost the same as a car. Money is no object. I argued therefore that perhaps a sex change is not such a far-fetched notion. But no, the guys insist that while displaying your wealth through image is considered the norm, changing your gender through dramatic surgery would be frowned upon.

Incidentally the name for the rich who are image obsessed and dress to embody the so-called “British dandy” is Sapeur. They pulled up an image from the net for me to look at and to be honest, in this heat, wearing a ridiculous suit, tie, shirt, gloves and a fedora there’s only one word for Sapeurs and that is tool! I’ve asked Tarzan to take me to an area where I might be able to meet a few dandies for a potential interview, it would be great to find one who is actually married to a bearded lady. Now that would make quite a story.