My dear Lady B, don’t you think it’s time we played more Parlor Games? I have just the idea for today’s amusement.
Lady B raises an eyebrow. ”You have an idea, Miss Dare? I must admit to some trepidation.”
I have a wonderful idea! We should play “Do, Dump, or Marry.”
Lady B. sighs. ”My fears are confirmed.”
But it’s so much fun, you see. We choose three men, and then we all debate which of the three we’d Marry, which we’d Dump, and which one we’d tackle to the bed for a rousing–
Really, Miss Dare! ”Doing” a gentleman? Much less “dunking” one?
That would be “dumping.”
Even worse! This game of yours is unspeakably vulgar.
Well, then we can choose more polite-sounding words. How about we call the game, “Court, Consummate, or Cut Direct?”
Much better. When it comes to gentlemen, I suppose there is nothing a woman likes so much as having her choice.
Well, I’m not sure about that. I happen to be writing a book where the heroine has choice. It’s making her rather miserable, to tell the truth. She’s absolutely torn over which man to marry, and which to give the cut direct.
Albert squawks. <<Consummation!>>
Er… On the consummating score, my heroine has a clear preference.
Lady B clears her throat. ”Indeed, Miss Dare.”
But by all means, let us stick to the game. Fictional choices are far more entertaining.
Why don’t we start with these Regency notables?
George Gordon, Lord Byron
I mean, really. That portrait should just be captioned “Sigh.” There he is, the original Romantic hero. Dark, tortured (with a malformed right foot), expressive, and exquisitely handsome. He had a string of scandalous affairs, most notably with the married Lady Caroline Lamb, who coined the famous phrase “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
I know. In this portrait, he looks rather dough-faced and wreathed in meringue, but presumably he must have cut quite the dashing figure in real life. He was, after all, the leader of Regency fashion and secure enough in his social standing to cut the Prince Regent himself. Sure, he racked up lots of debt. But we can thank him for making daily baths, clean shirts, and toothbrushing the standard in personal hygiene. That alone bumps him up in the “consummate” category, I think.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
The whims of history fascinate me. There he sits, the strategical genius who defeated Napoleon. But young Arthur didn’t a military career at all. No, he wanted to play the violin. But when his marriage offer to Kitty Pakenham was declined on the basis of his “poor prospects”, he burned his violin and borrowed money to purchase the rank of major. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s just like The Social Network, isn’t it?
Moving on from the real Regency, how do we feel about these fictional heroes (and/or the men who play them)?
Fitzwilliam Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice (as played by Colin Firth)
Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights (as played by Tom Hardy)
Edward Rochester, from Jane Eyre (played here by Fassbender, who needs no other name)
What say you, ladies? In each group of three, which gentleman would you prefer to sweetly Court, who would inspire you to the more carnal Consummation, and whom would you give the Cut Direct? No cheating! Let me know your choices in the comments.
And feel free to create your own groups of three in the comments, too! Movie stars, perhaps, or your favorite romance heroes…? We will debate their relative merits.
Note: It has occurred to me that we might have guests whose tastes run to ladies rather than gentlemen. Shall we offer the fictional heroes’ counterparts? Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw, and Jane Eyre: Discuss. Or even better, suggest your own set!