That pose—simultaneously naive and manipulative, provocative and repellent, slutty and aloof—captures the essence of the skanky chick.

Think of it this way: for a long time, skanky simply meant nasty, unattractive. Before that, though, a skank was a prostitute. She may still have been nasty, but guys were lining up to pay her for it. These days, when guys talk about skanky chicks, it's not without a certain yearning. Skanky chicks may be unbeautiful, but they posess a potent sexual allure nonetheless.

Love, a homely, barely-recovered heroin addict with greasy hair, bad makeup, and far more emotional baggage than can comfortably fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you, is an indisputable rock and roll goddess. In movies, the hottest stars (and I mean the hottest, not the biggest) are Drew Barrymore, whose minimally acceptable acting skills are easily forgiven due to the sexual tension generated as we try to guess which tattoo we're going to see in any given scene, and Juliette Lewis, whose unacceptable acting skills are easily forgiven due to the sexual tension generated as wait for her to brush her fingers against her lips again.
Inherent attractiveness doesn't preclude skankiness, it's just not the skanky chick's most appealing quality. After all, Drew Barrymore would still be pretty without the tattoos, badly bleached hair, pre-teen coke binges, impromptu performances at lesbian strip joints, gas station-themed Playboy spreads, and three-day marriages to bartenders. But would she be hot? Juliette Lewis would still look lovely without the cracked voice, incomprehensible hair, chain-smoking, all-night club-hopping, and childish penchant for touching her mouth. But would she be sexy? Kate Moss would still look nice if she put on thirty pounds, washed out some of the grease that seems to be infused in her from her days as a fish fry-cook, dated a guy who didn't smash up hotel rooms, and pursued a career that didn't involve lying prostrate and naked on a bean-bag chair. But would you ever have heard of her? You know these stem sirens—and you want them—because they are skanky.

This may all seem very now, very hip, very post-grunge, but like I said, skanky chicks have been around throughout history: women who have defied standards of beauty, sexuality, and social grace—and drove everyone around them wild in the process.

As we've said, lustiness is only one quality of the skanky chick. Catherine the Great exhibited a more important one, an oddly sexual disregard for decorum. In her love letters to Gregory Potemkin, Catherine writes such romantic lines as "My beloved soul, precious and unique, I can find no words to express my love for you. Do not be upset because of your diarrhea—it will clean up your bowels well."
It's not too much of a stretch to say that the first skanky chick was the first woman. Eve strolled around naked, almost certainly didn't shave her armpits, and hung out with a snake (who no doubt would have enjoyed trashing hotel rooms had there been any.) Indeed, Eve's temptation of Adam with forbidden knowledge set the pattern for all skanky chicks to come. At the heart of skankiness is the sense that these girls know something that you and I don't. How else could they get away with the things they do? This taboo enlightenment, more than a quick boff over a bean-bag chair, is what guys who dig skanky chicks really crave.

The first true queen of skanky chicks was also the queen of Egypt. Cleopatra, an odd-looking yet enormously sexy young woman with a gaunt face and beak nose, seduced both Julius Ceaser and Marc Antony out of conquering her kingdom. In addition to her bawdy humor and flair for erotic spectacle, Cleopatra also formed an unhealthy relationship with a snake.

Perhaps the most famous skank royalty in history, however, is Catherine the Great. No, she didn't really die impaled on the business end of a horse, but a girl doesn't get a reputation like that out of nowhere. The horse legend probably grew out of Catherine's fondness for strapping young officers of her Imperial Horse Guard. She'd choose a promising one from a distance, then have one of her girlfriends test him out and report back to her, not unlike a rock star delegating to her roadies.

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