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The Scrivener: The Delight Of Her Friends

Should men and women be rivals in the race of virtue? Brian Barratt brings thoughts on relationships and love.

I've just found a website on relationships and love which offers help to women who wish men to desire them. You can have an E-mail advice session for only $39. More detailed personal help costs more. Their underlying principles are summarised as:
Be Real
Have Confidence
Dress Fashionably
Express Intellect
Be Sweet And Feminine
Tell Him What You Want
Stay Glamorous
Like Your Body.

On the other hand, you could ponder the advice given by a writer 235 years ago when men ruled the roost. This extract is from one of my family heirloom books, Sketches of the History of Man: Considerably Improved In A Second Edition, published in Edinburgh in 1778.
Gratitude to my female readers, if I shall be honoured with any, prompts me to conclude this sketch with a scene, that may afford them instruction, and cannot fail of being agreeable; which is, the figure a woman is fitted for making in the matrimonial state, where polygamy is excluded. Matrimony among savages, having no object but propagation and slavery, is a very humbling state for the female sex: but delicate organization, great sensibility, lively imagination, with sweetness of temper above all, qualify women for a more dignified society with men; which is, to be their companions and bosom-friends. In the common course of European education, young women are trained to make an agreeable figure, and to behave with decency and propriety; very little culture is bestow'd on the head; and still less in the heart, if it be not the art of hiding passion. Such education is far from seconding the purpose of nature, that of making women fit companions to men of sense. Due cultivation of the female mind would greatly add to the happiness of the males, and still more to that of the females. Time runs on; and when youth and beauty vanish, a fine lady, who never entertained a thought into which an admirer did not enter, surrenders herself now to discontent and peevishness. A woman, on the contrary, who has merit, improved by virtuous and refined education, retains in her decline an influence over the men, more flattering than even that of beauty; she is the delight of her friends, as formerly of her admirers.

Admirable would be the effects of such refined education, contributing no less to public good than to private happiness. A man, who at present must degrade himself into a fop or a coxcomb in order to please the women, would soon discover, that their favour is not to be gained but by exerting every manly talent in public and private life; and the two sexes, instead of corrupting each other, would be rivals in the race of virtue.
Rivals in the race of virtue? What an interesting thought. I wonder if it also involves being 'Sweet And Feminine'?

Copyright Brian Barratt 2013


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