An upcoming memoir reveals another stain on the perceived wholesomeness of the “Brady Bunch” clan.
77-year-old actress Florence Henderson, who for years in the 1960’s and 70’s played the all-American mother, Carol Brady, tells all about an affair she had with a prominent politician that resulted in a bad case of the crabs.
I her book, “Life is Not a Stage”, Henderson tells all about a one-night-stand she had decades ago with then New York City Mayor, John Lindsay.
According to a Saturday Reuters report, she recalls Lindsey making moves on her at the Beverly Hills Hotel in which she succumbed to the politician’s advances.
She says she went home afterwards to wake to ever-disgusting “little black things” crawling over her bed and body.
A doctor diagnosed Henderson with pubic lice. The gentleman that he was, Lindsey apologized for the infestation with flowers and an apology.
What exactly did Carol Brady catch in the heat of passion at the Beverly Hills Hotel?
The pubic louse, Phthirus pubis, is typically found on pubic hair, but can also be found in armpit hair, eyebrows or mustaches and beards. It is strictly a human infection; you cannot get them from animals.
They get the nickname “crabs” from its appearance in the adult or nymph stage. They have six legs with the two front ones having the resemblance of pincher claws.
Pubic lice are tan to grayish white in color.
You may also see the nit stage. These are the lice eggs. They are oval, yellow to white in color and attached to the hair shaft. You may need a magnifying glass to see the details of the louse or nit.
They don’t transmit any infectious disease; however there may be allergic reaction and redness from the lice saliva. Itching that crabs cause can make a person scratch and secondary bacterial infection is possible.
In young children pubic lice may also be a cause of blepharitis (irritation or infection of the eyelids).
In most cases, pubic lice are transmitted sexually from the pubic hair of one person to another. But lice can be contracted in other ways, too — from infested clothing, towels and bedding.
Pubic lice, nymphs and adults must feed on blood to live. If it falls off the person, it’ll die in a day or two. A common misunderstanding is that pubic lice are spread easily by sitting on a toilet seat. This would be extremely rare because lice cannot live long away from a warm human body and they do not have feet designed to hold onto or walk on smooth surfaces such as toilet seats.
Crabs are diagnosed by finding a louse or a nit in the hair. If someone is diagnosed with crabs, other sexually transmitted infections should be investigated. If a child is diagnosed with pubic lice, sexual abuse should be considered.
How are crabs treated?There’s a lice-killing shampoo (also called a pediculicide) made of 1% permethrin or pyrethrin which is recommended to treat pubic lice. These products are available without a prescription at your local drug store. Medication is generally very effective; apply the medication exactly as directed on the bottle. A prescription medication, called Lindane (1%) is available through your health care provider. Lindane is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or for children less than 2 years old.
Now you know more about pubic lice, what can you do to prevent infestation?
Because the lice can sometimes be contracted from bedding and towels used by someone who is infested, it’s important to avoid contact with any item — including clothing — that the person has used.
More commonly, pubic lice infestation is spread through sexual contact, so the best way to prevent it is to abstain from having sex. Sexual contact with more than one partner or with someone who has more than one partner increases the risk of contracting any STD.
When properly and consistently used, condoms decrease the risk of STDs. However, because condoms don’t cover the area with pubic hair, they are not good protection against pubic lice.
Henderson got one thing correct when she said, “Guess I learned the hard way that crabs do not discriminate but cross over all socioeconomic strata.” How true.