Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Befriending Phrynes

By now, it should not surprise you to know that many of my best friends are whores. I do not mean this in the figurative sense; they are women of easy virtue who exchange carnal delights for cash. In the past, when I have mentioned this fact to crude and vile men (and the rake may be many things, but he is never crude), they have responded with some vulgarism about "freebees." This entirely misses the mark. We do not need these priestesses of Venus for sex--we are constantly surrounded by willing companions who think naught of compensation, and indeed often find it in their hearts (and wallets) to bless us with some material token of their gratitude, as has been noted elsewhere. No, my reasons for palling around with painted ladies are quite different and of a higher order completely. Any young aspiring rake is urged to make some friends "down on Gropecunt Lane," as it were.

In most instances, "public women" are avid practitioners of the very same art forms to which the rake must dedicate his entire life: drinking, smoking, and amorous combat. Particularly so are those women who ensconce themselves in comfortably-appointed apartments just on the periphery of the more fashionable districts. For they cannot cater merely to one of man's vices: in private time bought dearly, away from prying eyes, even straight-laced men expect to cut loose a little bit. Thus, they are always quick to refill your drink and never go anywhere without a monogrammed lighter to spark your cigarette. Simple pleasures, perhaps, but of the utmost importance for the rake.

In fact, come to think of it, I am friends with hookers for many of the same reasons that I'm friends with Gaspard. Both work non-traditional jobs--Gaspard in that he does not have one. Both are willing to carouse at all hours of the day and night. Both have an encyclopaedic knowledge of how to treat venereal diseases--your garden variety claps and shivers, Siamese gout, St. Denis' Fire, Higinbotham's revenge, as well as the more baroque strains of which the chaste among you may never even have heard. But, even beyond all these admirable qualities, members of that disreputable sisterhood all possess one thing that most rakes cannot and do not. They say that to be a successful nightbird, the absolute most important skill is to be a great listener. Given how self-obsessed and narcissistic the rake is by nature, he cannot put a price on a sympathetic ear.

Be warned, however, that spending an inordinate amount of time among such women without taking advantage of their services may brand one as pink - therefore, it is our recommendation to become familiar with them as overtly as possible in the company of other Johns.* After all, let us not forget the ancient Chinese proverb that illustrates the advantage of such a friendship, and many of the rakes relationships in general: It is better to have a friend in the market than money in the purse.

So, young rake, what are you waiting for? Get on down to your local bus station or seaport and make some new acquaintances!

*Just because we said we don't need them, doesn't mean we don't use them.

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