This pretty charmer is not, as it may be supposed, wielding a machete in the manner of someone about to stab an unlucky suitor to death because he has stolen her cheese. Instead, she is operating the lever on a machine that forces long nails into said cheese so that it may be perforated to receive the spores that will riddle its insides with the mold that will make it a Roquefort cheese.
Behold the glee with which this happy peasant performs her thankless task in the dank and rank cave where the cheese is made. Note her dark hair glistening with a feminine pomade, used, in most likelihood to keep stray hairs from falling into the vats of curds and whey. Today, such shiny tresses are kept at bay underneath the ubiquitous and gender non-specific plastic hairnet of the food service industry.
This saucy wench spends her days driving nails into great wheels of rotting cheese, but look — she’s wearing a wedding band on her dainty finger, so tonight she will go home to an appreciative husband and perhaps even children, to bestow upon them one of her beatific smiles as pictured here.
Maman, they will cry, trembling with excitement in a dusty corner, clutching each other for dear life, tell us once again of the years of hardship and misery your apprenticeship as a cheese-nailer entailed, for it fills our hearts with joy to be born of a woman such as you, whose very loins could crush bullets as they lay snug in the chambers of a gun, like bee larvae in their comb.
Regarde, she will tell them, her voice as shrill as the metal upon metal of her nailing machine, Learn to speak French you little bastards, like normal people, because I can’t understand a word you’re saying.
Completely Cheese, Anita May Pearl, 1979