Pride & Joy Day 17: Itsy Bitsy Gold Bikini

[Today’s donation was made to Black Visions CollectiveClick here to see my Pride & Joy Project 2020 Daily Donations List.]

Some scientists believe that all the gold that’s native to Earth is down there in the planet’s core and that the gold closer to our surface originated from outer space. Gold was the result of the collision of stars, and gold dust was one of the materials responsible for the creation of the universe.

I remember flipping through an encyclopedia when I was a child and finding photographs of a pair of daggers found in an Egyptian tomb. The one made of steel was heavily corroded with patina all over. But the gold one stayed shiny. I couldn’t stop staring at the picture. Even then I recognized the value of gold.

Gold has driven so many people mad. Remember the story of King Midas? For his hospitality to Silenus, Dionysus’ companion and tutor, the wine god gave Midas the touch of gold. It’s no longer exciting after he mistakenly turns his daughter to gold and realizes he can’t eat because everything he touches turns to inedible gold.

The Gold Rush, one of the events that changed the California landscape and brought people from around the world, was detrimental to the Native American population. John Sutter from Switzerland (that same Sutter whose statue was recently taken down) was one of those immigrants. When he was 31, he fled his home country, leaving behind his wife and five children, because he didn’t want to pay his debt.

In California, Sutter manipulated, enslaved, raped, and killed the Native Americans when they refused his orders. But he was only one of many. By the end of the Gold Rush, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans were displaced, hundreds of thousands died from disease, and between 9,000 and 16,000 were killed.

Then there’s the Philosopher’s Stone, aka the ultimate alchemy challenge: turning lead or other materials into gold. Nobody has been successful.

Gold is still widely used to show off one’s wealth (“flexing” in current-speak). I don’t (think I) have gold, but I do have these gold undies from Pikante. I’ve had them for years but have never truly appreciated them until a few months ago. I love how the front drastically tapers off on the sides. I tried finding the same fabric in the same color but it remains elusive. In a way, these bikini briefs are my Philosopher’s Stone.

Photography by Yuska Lutfi Tuanakotta.