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From: John Bishop <jbishop@alexus.zko.dec.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: "berad", in Digest urth.v013.n001
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 10:21:56 

Woody Allen uses the term as well, in a context implying
that it's an old, old term, and not specifically gay.

In that film, Allen is a "beard" when he is the escort for
a mobster's mistress (thus allowing the mistress to have an
reason for being at a place where the mobster will be, without
appearing to be there with the mobster).

The practice is ancient; it was an old idea in Elizabethan
times, when kings would have their mistresses marry a presentable
non-entity.  The "husband" would be rewarded with lands, but
it was strictly hands-off (until the king tired of her...).
See the film "Restoration" for a plot based on this practice.


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