If You Want to Get Laid, Let Us Work on Your Vocabulary


All penetration is through the ear, assures us one of the commentators on Don Juan (1). And for such a discourse, whose purposeful meandering happens to be seduction, the XVIII century French has reserved a very special noun marivaudage. Beautiful! Say it with me: ma-ri-vau-dage…. Yet let us not underestimate the importance of what Laclos so skillfully has shown to be the general sequence of events: if you remember, Vicomte Valmont in his sixth letter to Marquise de Merteuil describes the exact situation, “I have planned that walk in such a way that at some point our progress was barred by a ditch, and when jumping over it, she had to rely on my help….” Also Baron Sain-Jullien gives Fragonard precise instructions for the subject matter of The Swing, “I want you to paint Madam on the swing so that I would be able to see her beautiful legs and more….” The noun marivaudage covers all of these situations. I admit that for some time already the word has fallen into disuse. I suppose the XIX and XX centuries have grown rather impatient with marivaudage, tending to replace the process with that which is closer to the assembly line. Whatever the circumstances, there is always room for a bit of creative anachronism.

(1)The comment was made about El Convidado de la Piedra by Tirzo de Molina

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