Wednesday, August 29, 1711.
‘… Sed tu simul obligasti
Perfidum votis caput, enitescis
Pulchrior multo …’
I do not think any thing could make a pleasanter Entertainment, than the History of the reigning Favourites among the Women from Time to Time about this Town: In such an Account we ought to have a faithful Confession of each Lady for what she liked such and such a Man, and he ought to tell us by what particular Action or Dress he believed he should be most successful. As for my part, I have always made as easy a Judgment when a Man dresses for the Ladies, as when he is equipped for Hunting or Coursing. The Woman’s Man is a Person in his Air and Behaviour quite different from the rest of our Species: His Garb is more loose and negligent, his Manner more soft and indolent; that is to say, in both these Cases there is an apparent Endeavour to appear unconcerned and careless. In catching Birds the Fowlers have a Method of imitating their Voices to bring them to the Snare; and your Women’s Men have always a Similitude of the Creature they hope to betray, in their own Conversation. A Woman’s Man is very knowing in all that passes from one Family to another, has little pretty Officiousnesses, is not at a loss what is good for a Cold, and it is not amiss if he has a Bottle of Spirits in his Pocket in case of any sudden Indisposition.
Curiosity having been my prevailing Passion, and indeed the sole Entertainment of my Life, I have sometimes made it my business to examine the Course of Intreagues as well as the Manners and Accomplishments of such as have been most successful that Way. In all my Observation, I never knew a Man of good Understanding a general Favourite; some Singularity in his Behaviour, some Whim in his Way of Life, and what would have made him ridiculous among the Men, has recommended him to the other Sex. I should be very sorry to offend a People so fortunate as these of whom I am speaking; but let any one look over the old Beaux, and he will find the Man of Success was remarkable for quarrelling impertinently for their Sakes, for dressing unlike the rest of the World, or passing his Days in an insipid Assiduity about the Fair Sex, to gain the Figure he made amongst them. Add to this that he must have the Reputation of being well with other Women, to please any one Woman of Gallantry; for you are to know, that there is a mighty Ambition among the light Part of the Sex to gain Slaves from the Dominion of others. My Friend WILL. HONEYCOMB says it was a common Bite with him to lay Suspicions that he was favoured by a Lady’s Enemy, that is some rival Beauty, to be well with herself. A little Spite is natural to a great Beauty: and it is ordinary to snap up a disagreeable Fellow lest another should have him. That impudent Toad Bareface fares well among all the Ladies he converses with, for no other Reason in the World but that he has the Skill to keep them from Explanation one with another. Did they know there is not one who likes him in her Heart, each would declare her Scorn of him the next Moment; but he is well received by them because it is the Fashion, and Opposition to each other brings them insensibly into an Imitation of each other. What adds to him the greatest Grace is, the pleasant Thief, as they call him, is the most inconstant Creature living, has a wonderful deal of Wit and Humour, and never wants something to say; besides all which, he has a most spiteful dangerous Tongue if you should provoke him.