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September 25, 2013

How to Win the Guy/Gal of Your Dreams...

Old School Edition. For men, it is important to be suave and debonair:

"... never fart when you are dancing; grit your teeth and compel your arse to hold back the fart... Do not have a dripping nose and do not dribble at the mouth. No woman desires a man with rabies. And refrain from spitting before the maidens, because that makes one sick and even revolts the stomach. If you spit or blow your nose or sneeze, remember to turn your head away after the spasm; and remember not to wipe your nose with your fingers; do it properly with a white handkerchief. Do not eat either leeks or onions because they leave an unpleasant odour in the mouth."

Antonius Arena, Leges dansandi (1530)

Personal hygiene issues do not play so prominent a role in the whiles of the distaff half of humanity, who need only cultivate what the Editorial Staff once saw described (hilariously, in a passage about Beagles) as "an earnest, gentle, and pleading expression" whilst surreptitiously focusing her psychic energies in the general direction of her beloved's ... err....:

"When you desire to make any one "love" you with whom you meet, although not personally acquainted with him, you can very readily reach him and make his acquaintance... Wherever or whenever you meet again, at the first opportunity grasp his hand in an earnest, sincere, and affectionate manner, observing at the same time the following important directions, viz.: As you take his bare hand in yours, press your thumb gently, though firmly, between the bones of the thumb and the forefinger of his hand, and at the very instant when you press thus on the blood vessels (which you can before ascertain to pulsate) look him earnestly and lovingly in the eyes, and send all your heart's, mind's, and soul's strength into his organization, and he will be your friend..."

The Ladies' Book of Useful Information (1896)

Apparently our illustrious forebears did not twerk. Thankfully, the art of Romance has progressed considerably since then.


Posted by Cassandra at September 25, 2013 05:05 PM

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Holy cow! There are actually have directions on how to shake hands? Seeing as how I'm pretty sure that not one single guy ever read the danged things, much less followed them, it's remarkable that shaking hands isn't the leading cause of death among men.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 25, 2013 06:41 PM

Here's Geoffroi de Charny's advice, which I always thought was excellent.

And the advice of these noble ladies is as follows: "Love loyally if you want to be loved." Thus you should love loyally and live joyfully and act honorably and in good hope, for these activities of love and arms should be engaged with the true and pure gaiety of heart which brings the will to achieve honor.

That's from about 1352.

Posted by: Grim at September 25, 2013 06:42 PM

By the way, if you're interested in dance lessons of a more practical sort, everything you need to perform the Carole is available. So are some sample song lyrics, so you can compare it to the contemporary dance music.

Posted by: Grim at September 25, 2013 07:33 PM

Cass' quotes are more funny.

I like Grim's version better.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at September 26, 2013 02:26 AM

Geoffroi de Charny was a real man. Died in combat at Poitiers with the battle-standard of France in his hand.

Posted by: Grim at September 26, 2013 10:42 AM