As seen on The Hair Hall of Fame
A merkin (first use 1617) is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia, and are nowadays used as decorative items or in film making. The term merkin is also applied to decorative – typically sequinned – patches commonly sold in sets with nipple tassels or "pasties", which are enjoying new popularity as part of the costume of new burlesque adult entertainment, and, according to NSOED, is also applied to fake vaginas. The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the pubic wig to 1450. Women would shave their pubic hair and wear a merkin to combat pubic lice, and prostitutes would wear them to cover up signs of disease, such as syphilis.