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30 October 2011

The Story of Hymen or Why Attending Will Never be the Same


Hymen was one curious god. Oh yes, the word “hymen” was derived from his name, and so was the English word “hymn.” Hymen was also called Hymenaeus.  He was a young beautiful man holding a burning torch and wearing a garland of flowers around his head. He was the Greek god of marriage and it was believed that he should be present during the wedding ceremony.  If he were not, the marriage would definitely fail.  In ancient Greece, people would sing a special lyrical song during the wedding, beckoning the god Hymen to attend. 



Top: Apollo, the constant gardener.
Middle: Hyacinth and Apollo
(Images part of public domain.)
Bottom: Cypress Tree (Taken from
Wikimedia Commons, click here)
There are many versions of his birth.  One version is heterosexual.  His parents were believed to be Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, and Aphrodite, the goddess of love.  This explains much, doesn’t it?  His father was a ruggedly handsome bad boy, an alcoholic and a playboy who had wanton sex with almost everyone at the party.  His mother was a former beauty queen who might have won the title by answering “Love is the only religion,” an answer Shamcey Supsup should have said. Then she ran the first legitimate escort service that gave women more power over their bodies.  Yes, it was an escort service owned and operated by women, no male pimps.  “I know you think I am like cattle and I have no rights; but if you want my body, pay for it because that’s all you’re going to get and my sisters are timing you.” In fact, the water clock was one of the inventions of Aphrodite’s followers. Aphrodite even turned her business into a religion and, you may not know this, her religion was said to have invented banks as well. If this was so, Aphrodite’s priestesses were business savvy clergy women.  And I am sure not a single school boy was harmed unlike in my all-male Catholic church.   

But I digress.

The other version of Hymen’s origin is queerer. Hymen was the son of Magnes, the first king of Magnesia. Perseus was his half brother.  Hymen grew up to be a very extraordinary beautiful man. When Apollo saw him, he fell in love and stayed in Magnes’ house and refused to leave Hymen. Now that last statement alone has multiple meanings.  I will leave all of them to your imagination. Now as you may know, Apollo was the Greek god of light, truth, medicine, poetry, music, other arts and many other disciplines. He’s versatile and quite intelligent and so he could have anyone he wanted.  But he had other male lovers before and like his father Zeus, Apollo preferred twinks. His first was Hyacinth who sadly died from a sporting accident. Apollo was so grieved that he used his dead lover’s blood and turned it into a flower, the hyacinth.  Now he had another male lover, Cyparissus, who also died, well actually he wanted to kill himself after accidentally killing the deer that Apollo gave as a gift and companion.  Cyparisuss was a big drama queen. In modern times, that is like committing suicide after accidentally crushing your chihuahua during pilates class.  Anyway, as a doting billionaire lover who spoiled his kept boys, Apollo let Cyparissus die and turned him into the Cypress tree, which always weeps.  What was it with Apollo?  Why did he turn all his dead lovers into plants? He must have had a great garden in his Greek villa.  I wonder if he had sampaguita flowers, just curious.

Apollo’s garden must have been the thorniest and most savage garden of all.  Apollo was pan-sexual. He fell in love and had sex with anyone, man or woman, just like his father Zeus.  Imagine all his past dead lovers in his garden bitching. 

“He turned me into a flower with beautiful petals while he turned you into an ugly tree with bad posture. I must have pleased Apollo so much.”
“Shut up! At least my leaves are evergreen. You would withered by September and no amount of Botox can save you from wrinkling. That means you were just flavor of the month.”
“Well, at least I am not like Androniki.”
“Oh yes. We’re still lucky.  Apollo turned her into a vine.”
“She must be clingy.”
“Hahahahaha.”
“We’re bad.”

George Rennie's "Cupid Rekindling
the Torch of Hymen." (19th Century)
Image taken from Wikimedia
Commons. Click Here
But I digress.

British sculptor George Rennie also made statues of Cupid and Hymen (1831) in a very suggestive posture.  The fire in Hymen’s torch was fading and Cupid rekindled the flame by, are you ready, blowing on it. What! I often wonder about those ancient Greeks.  Imagine if Greek mythology became the world’s religion. Would the world be a happier place?

Anyway, the most curious thing about Hymen, the Greek god of marriage, is his queer origin.  In fact, the entire history of marriage is more business-like than romantic. You may think it is all about love but love was just a small part of it.  Marriage was many things in the past: a business transaction, a political merger, a legal trafficking of women, legalized pedophilia, a common abduction practice, a Vatican order, a run-of-the-mill purchase of goods, in this case, women. 

It is funny how we refuse to accept gay marriage these days, when the god of marriage was so gay. In fact, the two of the hottest gods of the ancient world, the Sun God Apollo and the God of Love Cupid (not the baby Cupid but the adult one) were so busy blowing Hymen’s torch. 

There is another heterosexual version of Hymen’s story but that involved many kidnapped women and Hymen, the hero of the story, had to wear women’s clothing. Let’s forget it because it was so “Mulan,” but in that version he married a woman.

To conclude, the next time you attend a wedding and you see those lighted candles and everyone is hoping that the candle flame stay burning.  Just pray hard that Cupid or Apollo has the endurance to keep blowing on Hymen’s torch.  Believe me; it will spice up every wedding you will attend. 


(First published in “The Chair” Blog)

Update: February 23, 2014.
On a funny note, I was invited to light the wedding candle once. Luckily, the flame continued to burn the entire ceremony. Hymen must have been present, and thankfully, either Cupid or Apollo was busily blowing it. In a way, I was like in a threesome, spiritually of course. 

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