Monday, July 19, 2010

The Miracle of Life

In G.'s most recent disquisition on fatherhood, much is made of how a young and mostly innocent boy may, either through calculation or mere inattention, find himself becoming a class-A rotter later in life. This brought back the memory of how I myself first strayed from the straight and narrow path out onto the wider, more comfortable roadways of the world. Suffice it to say that Gaspard's cautionary advice about employing young, attractive maids around sons is very prudent, if you wish to keep the boys in line.

My father was a widower; as some of you know, my dear mother died in childbirth. Though he was much given to the thrifty, industrious spirit of the Scottish Enlightenment, and was furthermore a dour skinflint like most of my countrymen, my mother's absence made the hiring of maids a necessary evil. For this purpose, he employed several Highlander women of various ages, who took care of all the housework. One of these was a rosy-cheeked, white-stockinged girl called Ailis. You may well imagine the type: milky skin glowing with a healthy blush, whistling a gay tune as she gathered together bouquets of begonias, dahlias and willowherb, which she picked in the countryside on her days off. Due to my constant proximity to her native sweetness, I soon developed quite an affection for this Ailis. When I was nine and she some fifteen, I began to importune her for private favors--although I scarcely knew of what I was speaking at the time. Admiring my fevered affection for her, and not unreasonably taking note of my striking conformation for such a young lad, she obliged. There are no words for the magnitude of this revelation for me--it has dictated all my actions ever since. And do you know what happened after that, my friends? I will tell you: Ailis became pregnant, and was dismissed from service immediately.

This was the only prudent thing to do. Then as now, I was not interested in the ballyhooed pleasures of home and family, and in truth (perhaps this will not surprise some of you) I am no more fit for paternal responsibility now than when my age numbered in the single digits. I was not to be like the Hindoo princeling who, married at three or four, sires his first child at seven and has an extensive brood by the time his voice breaks. No, I dodged the millstone of fatherhood as true rakes always do, and have done it dozens of times since. For those of you who feel heart palpitations or vomit uncontrollably at the mere sound of the phrase "I'm late," here is a brief set of rules concerning what to do when she starts to swell, no matter who she is:

1. If She Works For You, Or For Your Father or Grand-Uncle

This one is easy (see above). Fire her immediately. Offer to give her some extra severance pay if you must, but it is better if the break is clean. Note: as the rake almost never has a job, and rarely has enough money to get sufficiently drunk every day--much less hire domestics--it will be much more likely that she works for a friend or relative of yours. So much the better, as it is he who will be named in any civil action.

2. If Conception Occurs During a Chance Meeting, or One-Time Liaison

Another simple fix: you should never, ever be pursuing this type of rendezvous under any name or persona by which you can be legally identified. In choosing an alias, it helps if your fake profession might conceivably involve unexpected travel and/or untimely death. Somewhere in Switzerland, a once-comely ski instructor sips her schnapps in melancholy, and speaks proudly to her son or daughter of the courage and gallantry of her one-time lover: Fergus MacLeish, Capt., Scots Guards, who was called back to his regiment in the middle of the night, only to die in a firefight in the Second Falklands War.

3. If You Think She Is Faking, Or Is Having A Hysterical Pregnancy

Call her bluff. This bold play will most likely come from the rake's female equivalent, a woman of ample experience and loose morals. These are the ones, generally speaking, who will get a glimpse of your true libertinage. They will stand it for a while, but eventually they will seek to possess you solely, and will try any means to do it (see here). How to counter the gambit of the spurious seedling? Act as if you are overjoyed. Kiss her empty stomach, and ask her when you can move in to her rooms. Expecting reticence, she will be so put off and confused by your apparent pleasure (secretly, she had hoped you'd put up a fight) that she will usually drop the act right there, although it may take a few weeks further if she is stubborn.

4. If You Impregnate Your Fiancée, Who Is From a Wealthy and Respectable Family

Keep it. If you need further explanation--which you shouldn't--see here. There may be some huffiness from her parents, especially, but rather than provoke a scandal, they will have you at the altar double quick. Pre-nuptial agreements should be dealt with according to Gaspard's advice in the above-mentioned article. To diffuse any ill feeling, make sure that the baby will be named after your new father- or grandfather-in-law.

5. If You Impregnate a Fiancée or Long-Term Companion, Who Is From a Prudish and Penurious Family

This little bugger will do you no good in the long run. Fortunately for you, prigs such as these are dealt with quite easily. You needn't do anything special; merely stop covering up what you normally do. Drink heavily at family functions and then punctuate your rambling, esoteric discourse with wild jabs from your cigarette, knocking ash into Papa's morning coffee. Make indecent proposals to all female relatives, especially sisters. Even a brief glimpse at the chaotic hedonism that characterizes the Rakish Life will utterly deter the family from courting you further. Make the expectant mother realize what kind of father you would be, and she will gladly accept no father at all.

Gaspard and I have faced down or skillfully evaded many more imputations of paternity than are described here. But in the interest of brevity, I will rest my pen. If, however, you have a pregnancy-related dilemma not covered by the above, please write us, by post, email, or any of the other channels that this our modern age provides. And NB: it is not to men only that we may tender advice. Ladies, if you need help forcing a reluctant father to stick around, we know every trick in the book, and can help you beat them all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Fatherhood, pt. II

Today I would like to address a question posed to us by one of our fans, again via Facebook.

Mr. Nicolas Stevens writes:

"What is the policy on educating sons and daughters? Do we encourage them to follow our ways, or keep them innocent so that we may spend all our money on ourselves and they can support us in our declining years."

Well Mr. Stevens, perhaps you are a newcomer to our little forum, but I have addressed that exact question in another post I wrote a few months ago, which you can find here .

However, I am glad you asked - I have long wanted to elaborate, and you have kindly given me the opportunity.

In the past months it has occurred to me that not all of our readers are true rakes. This does not disappoint me - I have no interest in further competition. With "internet background checks," "DNA-based paternity tests, " and "compulsory alcohol educational programs" my hands are quite full indeed.

Therefore, this post is written for those who may not be rakes, but can admire the lifestyle and its trappings and want to learn a bit more about the relationship between rakes and parenthood. So, for those who have reached a certain age and have foolishly begun to seriously contemplate fatherhood, take heed.

First of all, daughters are your worst nightmare. Alisdair and I - as well as the more zealous of our readers - have spent the better part of our lives perfecting logical, moral, and emotional arguments tailored to young women, detailing just why they should throw caution to the wind and compromise their virtue by spending even an hour alone with either one of us (or both of us, if she has had enough to drink.) Short of a shackling her with a chastity belt, I can see no other way of preventing this. So, unless you want to become a grandfather in your mid-40s, take care to observe the following precautions to conceive a male heir:

1. Change your wife's diet to include an abundance of red meat and codfish, and cut out calcium rich foods like parsley and turnip-top.
2. Schedule your congress for odd-numbered days of the month.
3. Couple only at night, under a waning quarter-moon.
4. Climax before your partner. I know this tip is counter-intuitive to our Casanovas out there, but Soranus tells us that a male can be conceived only when the father's sperm is stronger and more vigorous than the sperm of the mother; giving your boys a head start is crucial.
5. For the reason (4) listed above, take care to marry a submissive woman. If, after 2 children, your wife has not produced a son, discard her and begin anew.

If all has gone to plan and you have a healthy baby boy, there are two paths available. If you wish to raise a son through whom you can live vicariously, simply direct him to this site when he is at a reading age and sit back and enjoy. Beware - this style of parenting may wreck you financially earn you the disapproval of your peers, but the stories your son will tell you will be well worth it. Besides, he may up marrying up, and you will be more than reimbursed for the gambling debts and legal fees that you will have faced.

If, on the other hand, you wish to raise your son in a wholesome manner, take care to avoid the mistakes of my own father and follow these directions:

1. Do not employ any domestic types who are remotely attractive - any young, supple body around a growing boy will provide distraction that can quite quickly turn into obsession.
2. Either keep no liquor in the house and forswear alcohol, or become such a raging drunk that your son will be turned off from booze entirely.*
3. Smoke constantly as a deterrent.
4. Send your child to public schools and discourage erudition; a dull mind will never crave the eccentric pleasures that arouse a learned one.

I hope this is informative. Please direct all further questions to our Facebook page or e-mail us at


*The latter is much more fun.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's in a name?

Today I'd like to answer a question posed to us through our Facebook fan site by a M. Tristan Sykes.

He writes:

Dear Rakish life,
Is it necessary to add vermouth to my martini?
Furthermore is it necessary to use a glass...?

Well, M. Sykes, that all depends on who you ask. Our friends over at the IBA define a Standard Martini as a a mixture of gin and vermouth in a 4:1 ratio, but I can tell you right now that most serious drinkers will scoff at anything mixed weaker than 15:1, and a true rake will spit out anything less than 30:1.*

Now, when drinking alone at home, pouring oneself a glass of gin and calling it a martini is perfectly acceptable. It is akin to washing one's face and hands and calling it a shower or eating a cracker or two and calling it supper - two things I do all the time.

When in public, however, ordering a glass of gin at the bar is frowned on in some circles - especially when striving for social prominence. Calling for a "dry martini" at the club lends an air of refinement that calling for a "Well-gin on the rocks" lacks. What's a rake to do? Call for a "Churchill Martini," made famous by the old PM who would pour a glass of cold gin and then glance sidelong at a bottle of vermouth. Now, according to our definition, this is not technically a Martini, but the mopes at the other end of the bar won't know this and you'll end up looking like a globe-trotting sophisticate instead of the simple, gin-swilling drunk you really are.

As far as a glass is concerned, it is unnecessary, but remember the advantage of the glass- to chill the martini to such a point that it will not reach room temperature for several hours. However, if temperature is not a priority, try out this recipe for a martini that requires neither vermouth nor a glass.

The Rakish Life Martini

1. Chew up a mouthful of ice (Optional, but a favorite move of Alisdair's)
2. Take a 3 count swig out of a bottle of gin
3. Fantasize about the beautiful woman in the above Vermouth advertisement
4. Shake your head back and forth, contemplating your loneliness and misery
5. Swallow and Enjoy!

*He won't actually spit it out - a serious transgression - but he will make a fuss about it and loudly complain to anyone who will listen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Jewel in the Lotus

Today, I'm going to try something a bit new - it seems the modern citizen, bereft of all taste and direction in a world saturated with cultural waste, 0ften needs guidance when it comes to the basics in life - what to eat, what to drink, what to watch, how to read, etc... This journal itself is dedicated to instructing its followers in the general behavioral traits needed in order to call oneself a Rake. However, the clueless mass of today needs "specifics."

People often ask me, Gaspard - how are you so knowledgeable in the rakish arts? Well, aside from a lifetime of raking semi-professionally, I have read literally thousands of books. My youth was spent alone - I am an only child you see. I also suffered, from an early age, with a terrible case of gout. I spent much of my time locked in my father's library, tending to my swollen foot, reading and rereading his old tomes, and committing the more arcane bits of knowledge to memory. These books were not to be found on any common store shelves - nay, most of them were rare editions published by obscure imprints or vanity pressings written by his bizarre group of friends and enemies. This trove has imparted on me a peculiar set of knowledge - one that I am sure you have noted. So today, I am going to review a book for you in the hopes that perhaps one day you will come across it at an estate sale, snap it up, and benefit from its teachings despite its antiquated approach. Here begins a long series of book reviews. I shall begin:

The Jewel in the Lotus: A Historical Survey of the Sexual Culture of the East

by Allen Edwardes, Published by The Julian Press in 1959*

Now, a recent study accuses the author of "more than a touch of prurience," and warns that "the guise of orientalist scholarship clearly gives Edwardes leeway to express a surfeit of subconscious homoerotic phantasy." Not to mention that throughout its 300 pages, one finds a plethora of uncontrolled generalizations concerning the sexual behavior of non-western populations. But therein lies its magnificence.

A chapter listing should give you an idea of what you can expect:

Introduction by noted Sexologist Albert Ellis

I. Woman: Passive Creature
1. Concept
2. Virginity and Marriage
3. Sexual Diversions
4. Creation

II. Genitalia: Symbolism and Reality
1. Female
2. Male
3. Aspiration

III. Circumcision: Blood Covenant
1. Male
2. Female

IV. Autoerotism: Sterile Pleasures
1. Demonkind
2. Masturbation

V. Female Prostitution: Luxurious Custom
1. Purple and Incense
2. The Moslems
3. The Hindoos
4. Anglo- India

VI. Eunchism: Honor in Dishonor
1. Bondage

VII. Sexual Perversion: Matter of Taste then (There is No accounting for Taste!)
1. Sodomy
2. Pederasty
3. Sapphism
4. Bestiality

VIII. Hygiene: Ritualistic Compulsion
1. Sacred Ablution
2. The Calls of Nature
3. Depilation
4. Flatulence

Brilliant stuff! A quick glance at the chapter list is enough to interest even the most amateur Orientalist.

Quotations like,

"By the keen influence of climate and foods and lethargic necessitarian environment, coupled with physical hyperesthesia and innate hysterical tendencies, nearly all Eastern races were naturally masochistic and morbidly sensual." (In reference to sodomy)


"Environment, hand in hand with distinct masochistic tendencies, led them to commit savage and hysterical acts of vengeful brutality. Hence, the moment she applied the knife to her paramours body, the moment her fingernails gouged his scrotum, the Persian female relished orgasm. Sexual congress became vapid and ungratifying in comparison to the joys of sheer sadism." ( In reference to Persian prostitution)

Tidbits like this characterize the work, and although I would like to share more, the rest is considerably more vulgar and is unfit to print on this site.**

Edwardes does not limit himself to sexual acts, here he illustrates the interesting Oriental take on Flatulence: a stance that, as I understand it, has not changed to this day. He writes, "Breaking wind (zirt , fart) like belching (itkerreh), was considered by Arab and Hindoo as an act of purification for it sought to drive evil spirits from the body. Zirteh, a loud discharge was highly civil and proper in the company of others; but the insidious fesweh (fizzle, creeper), with stench, was regarded as an insult. Many an Arab died because of it, especially when vented in the presence of royalty. Such an individual was termed Fezwaun (Fizzler) whereas his counterpart, a man of purity and esteem, was venerably entitled Eboo-ez-Zirteh, or Father of Farts. Simonjeh-el-Hewweh (Breaker of the Wind) was the appellation granted to an egyptian bean-eater who could break wind in tune, a favorite accomplishment of fellaheen boys.

Lastly, he makes his recomendations for a bride based on one's temperment - one of the most brief, but useful chapters in the book

"Verily, a woman should grant her lover all of which she is mistress: by way of excitement, and rare buckings and wrigglings, and passionate movements. Such a woman, the ideal wife or concubine, was called Loolooeh (pearl of union). So, he who desireth to take a female slave for this carnal enjoyment, let him take an Abyssinian; but if he need one for the sake of children, let him have a Persian; and whoso desireth one for service, let him choose a Hindoo."

Edwardes concludes by positing that to judge the Oriental on his habits would be unfair, as "The saint is not to say to the devil: 'I am blessed, thou art evil' For somewhere and at some time the saint is evil and the devil blessed."

This book is an integral part of my library and I encourage you to search out a copy and purchase it, regardless of cost. Where else would one find information on ritualistic masturbation presented in such a thinly-veiled homoerotic and racist manner? If you know, please tell me.

*A bit modern, yes, but as this man seems to have absolutely no touch with the world he lives in, I can therefore overlook the date.

**Suffice it to say his favorite verb is "To Futter" and his favorite noun either "Coynte" or "Prickle."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Let him drink, and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more."


As Thursday has again come to pass, I’m sure many of you are expecting some little shred of wisdom from Alisdair and me to alleviate the crushing boredom and cretinous ignorance that surely characterizes most of your lives. Now, I am usually not so deluded as to presume that there are hundreds of you out there marking the days on your calendar in anticipation of a new lesson from us. On second thought, maybe I am. Anyways, tonight I will satisfy your ravenous hunger for more knowledge -- if only to demonstrate my vast command of all matters rakish.

Summer, with all her charms and temptations, is again upon us. It is beautiful days like today – breezy, sun-drenched, 19º* -- that always enkindle in me only one sort of emotion: the blackest depression imaginable.

To the rake, such a fate is inescapable. Yes, Alisdair and I write often and freely of our jolly adventures among the well-heeled, but for the gentleman-scoundrel of leisure, life is not all wine and Roses.** For every story that we relate to you about a night on the town, there is the story of the next morning - a story that typically involves a pounding head, an empty wallet, and a heart bereft of any and all joy. Now, I can hear the head-scratching of the witless among you: "Gaspard, you live the life we all dream about living! What could possibly be the problem?"

You're right, I do. However, as we probably should have made clear when we founded this institution, the life of the rake is indescribably difficult. One must possess a stomach and liver that can withstand a lifetime of brutal alcoholism, a set of lungs capable of holding a bucket of tar, and a libido - and its physical embodiment - that will not fail to sate the most wanton of women (of which there are many). The slightest deficiency in any of these respects--one free drink refused, or one hussy claiming she took more out of you than vice-versa --and your reputation will be dashed on society's rocks. You will no longer merit the title of rake, but will instead be a third-rate pretender, a misbehaved child playing in adults' games.

But beyond that which is physically required of the rake, and perhaps even most importantly, his mind must be strong enough to weather the violent emotional storms that torment it night and day. For you see, just as the rake's lifestyle exposes him to physical ailments not suffered by the normal man, thoughts that no normal man could ever think constantly assail his booze-addled brain. As Steele tells us, the rake, most agreeable of all bad characters, "is a man always to be pitied; for his faults proceed not from choice or inclination but from strong passions and appetites, which are in youth too violent for the curb of reason, good sense, good manners, and good-nature: all which he must have by nature and education before he can allowed to be, or to have been of this order."

He continues, "Thus, with all the good intentions in the world...this creature sins on against heaven, himself, his friends, and his country. There is no being under the sun so miserable as this; he goes on in a pursuit he himself disapproves, and has no enjoyment but what is followed by remorse; no relief from remorse, but the repetition of his crime."

What a disturbingly accurate description! Am I really so two-dimensional that I can be described by a man who has been dead for 200 years? Apparently so. But my rakish fate is one to which I never aspired . No, I have been uncontrollably drawn to hedonism from an early age - spurred on by ungodly passions whose provenance I cannot place. Maybe it was the fact that my mother drank and smoked heavily while I was in utero, or perhaps it was all of the all-night masquerade balls my father forced her to attend. More likely, it was the hours I spent in my Oncle Alph's arms as he used me as a tool to seduce fawning women. Whatever the case, Je suis qui Je suis.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you are truly a rake, you will experience crippling pangs of regret and despair that can last anywhere from a few minutes to several years. Do not off yourself in some grisly bridge-jump or gallows-mimicry - losers we may be, but quitters -never! Also, do not dream of "going straight;" a glance at Steele's article will show how fruitless this will be.

Instead, draw the shutters, crank up the phonograph and play a bit of Brahms. Revel in your sadness. Drink a bottle of red wine. Glare at passersby in the street from your 5th floor window, hating them with every ounce of your being. Pick out the especially insipid, moralistic-looking among them, and imagine the intricate revenges you would perpetrate on them, if only you knew who they were. Drink another bottle of red wine, and then nap. When you wake up, shake yourself up a nice gimlet and prepare for a night on the town. Trust me. You will feel better.

Your fate as a rake, for better or worse, is inescapable. Embrace it and stay true to yourself.

* ºRé, of course. I find the subtleties Réaumur's thermometer pleasant. Alisdair, on the other hand, champions the system of his countryman, Rankine. To him, today would have been a balmy 535ºRa. (71ºF for all you philistines.)

** Rose's lime juice™.