Female fans of Oscar Wilde are going to have to find a new way to pay their respects for the dead. The cult practice of leaving a red lipstick kiss on the Irish playwright's tomb will come to an end thanks to a new glass barrier.
The Importance of Being Earnest author is entombed in Paris's famed Pere Lachaise cemetery where he keeps good company -- Jim Morrison and Gertrude Stein for example. (Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes were seen wandering through it over the weekend.) Though he was buried in 1900, the practice of sealing one's visit with a kiss didn't originate until the 1990s. That practice has since been damaging Wilde's tomb, reports The Guardian.
"From a technical point of view, the tomb is close to being irreparably damaged. Each cleaning has rendered the stone more porous necessitating a yet more drastic cleaning," Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson, told the paper.
Even though there is actually a 9,000 Euro ($12,030) fine for kissing or writing messages on the monument, it's difficult to enforce.
Part of the funding to repair and preserve the monument came from Paris authorities, with the rest having been raised by Dublin's office of public works. The money went towards a "de-greasing" of the tomb and a protective glass barrier to encircle it.
Wilde's tomb as we know it, a work by sculptor Jacob Epstein, is a a flying naked angel inspired by the British Museum's Assyrian figures. It was unveiled in 1914.
His new and improved monument will be unveiled Wednesday, the 111th anniversary of his death.
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