This time, though, there's only one. It's for the Thong Throng—a mysterious faction that, when I first asked about it on FORKNI-L, got no reaction at all. However, a bit more research did bring up sufficient information to spark old neurons; and, after that, I was able to google to some purpose. (I should add that much here is owed to Nancy Braman, the FORKNI-L archivist; and Stephen Fellows, who supplied her with digests for a few months in 1996.)
If you look at The Forever Knight Faction List, you will be told that the Thong Throng is a joke faction "focused on... how can I put this delicately?... LaCroix's choice in under-garments". This is all true as far as it goes. However, there is more. Much much more. (Or less, given the construction of thongs.)
Once upon a time, there was a joke. Precisely who made the original joke is a matter of some dispute. However, the general consensus seems to be that Wicked Cousin Tippi had a lot to do with it. The following is excerpted from a series of quite enlightening posts:
On 12 June 1996, Amy D. (yes, yet another Amy!) quoted Nigel Bennett as saying to a fan at Syndi-Con, "I know about the grape flavored thong." To which someone apparently responded, "That was Cousin Tippi's idea."Suffice it to say that, over time, the joke evolved: the thong became purple silk, grape-flavoured, and apparently (at least at times) decorated with a feather. The joke evolved on list and at conventions; and Wicked Cousin Tippi contrived to work mention of the thong into several of her comic tales.
In a responding post made later the same day, Tippi expostulated at being outed to Nigel, adding, "But you've got it wrong! It wasn't my idea! Well, okay, the grape flavoring was my idea. What can I say? I was possessed when I wrote that E[ternal] C[hampions] story. But the whole Thong in General was started by someone else entirely! Oh but what short memories these listgoers doth possess!"
Gehirn Karies then stirred things up a bit more by delving into the past, and bringing up a post from 11 Feb 1996.Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 23:21:27 -0700
>From: [Name removed by request]
>Subject: Re: Saint Lacroix
>To: Multiple recipients of list FORKNI-L
>Cousin Tips quotes and responds:
>>>i'd take my chances 'cause i know, whatever he does, whatever his
>>>motivations, intent, discontent, whatever - it'll be exciting, in any case
>>>(to say the very least)!
>>Well we're in agreement there! ;) Through it all, we're still Cousins!
>****, yeah. No way did i just pick a faction out of the blue. i may have
>sounded really anti-LC lately (i am *not* happy with this season :) but
>i'm a Cousin, i'll always be a Cousin. He'll sicken me; he'll anger me; he'll
>dress up in a leather thong, do a lap dance and completely embarrass
>me but, deep down, i'll always love that wacky, wacky guy, LaCroix :)
>[Name removed by request]
These discoveries made some unexpected work for me.
You see, at the time when I was creating icons for subfactions of the Cousins, I had made one for the Thong Throng. However, when all this judicious googling revealed the true object of their adoration, the icon clearly needed to be redone. A black thong decorated with little red hearts simply wouldn't do. It had to be empurpled.
When I looked for pictures of thongs (male), I found it surprisingly difficult to find what I envisioned for the icon. It turned out that most of the images were of thongs that were already occupied, and, indeed, often accompanied by kinkier garments. Fortunately, I was able to find a Calvin Klein thong that did not come with beefcake.
As for the little gold heart: it was cut from some jewellery, and tweaked slightly for colour.