Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How To Spot A Rake, Pt. 2: Know His Habitats

You may have already guessed that the rake's most natural habitat is the bar. Although an inveterate liar and emotionally incapable of true friendship, we are naturally quite garrulous, and are thus drawn to the affability and fun that bars engender. Also, they have tons of booze. The trick is to find the right bar at the right time. In our circles, rising before noon is considered undignified, which is fine, as even your worst gin mills don't open much before then. On a typical day, a rake will putter about his home drinking, reading Balzac novels, and listening to Puccini until at least three, at which point he will strike out for his first stop. This will normally be a restaurant or cafe of middling quality, for the following ingenious reason: at three, the lunch-time rush has subsided. The barmaids and waitresses are exhausted from their shift, and the bright-eyed evening crew has yet to arrive. Feet aching and having worked themselves into a state of tremendous resentment against their employers, the entire staff--particularly the females, though not exclusively--will be unusually susceptible to a smile and a little charm, and can easily be plied for free drinks. Moreover, even if they are unusually scrupulous or spiteful, you can easily duck out on your undoubtedly sizable tab during the confusion of the shift change.

In the evening, rakes tend to frequent bars and lounges where the dress code is semi-formal at least. If you require an explanation for this choice, you clearly have no idea how debonair we look in a tuxedo. Not to mention that, when one's sustenance is primarily gained through unsecured personal loans and lovers' largesse, it helps to seek out the wealthiest possible company. Of course, the stiffs that have the money to drink at such places are usually either in the bag or in bed by 1 AM at the latest. If by that time a rake has not secured an invitation to a lady companion's apartments, then he will wander gamely off into the night, eventually ensconcing himself in whatever rathole he may find, guzzling rotgut with the plebs until the sunlight peeks through the clapboard shutters.

Naturally, these venues are only a few of those in which you should be on the lookout for rakes. If you should happen to meet a hungover Errol Flynn look-alike while you walk your Yorkshire terrier in the park, beware. Similarly, any insouciant charmer that just happens to bump into you outside of an ATM or in your psychiatrist's waiting room should be regarded with suspicion.

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