25th June 2021

The facade seems calm, unmoved, an expression of composure, fascial muscles relaxed, mouth perhaps even showing the slightest hint of a smile, the very epitome of a gentleman at peace and rest, the illusion once complete, a perfect display of self-deception in practice. Construction of a fools chosen make up is a complicated process, not simply a matter of acquiring the necessary grease paint to pancake background and highlight features, real life does not allow such falsity, requires stoic control, an armor of inner steel to stop the terrible agony’s awash within spilling onto the visible surface.

The general consensus is that someone with a philandering approach to life does not really feel the all too apparent pains relating to romance and love, yet strangely such an assumption is extremely far from the truth, coquettishness itself is most likely a direct result of having suffered grievous emotional injury at some early stage of their   romantic history. Having been, in their eyes, punished for their gullibility to other people’s machinations they retreat into a well-fortified security cage, carefully constructed to be impregnable to further defiling.

Without doubt such dramatic language will seem absurd, unneeded, the simple supposition that the rake is created by circumstance rather than personal preference beyond easy acceptance. Yet such is often the case, the heart cleverly building obstructions to avoid repetitive grief, for the libertine is as much a psychological victim of any debauchment as the perpetrator, ‘tis an offence utterly without a winner.

The great masculine lovers of history are invariably miserable and solitary when not in the throes of their preferred pursuit, Giacomo Cassanova suffered adulthood long loneliness, Don Juan, more likely fictional than a real profligate, never once is his illustriously well documented career found any form of ongoing peace and satisfaction. Both idols of the prospective roué paid society handsomely for their unbridled passions and dissolute manners.

The antisocial pedigree of the supposed unsavory ne’er-do-well is well categorized in western culture through the historic offices of the Commedia dell’arte, pantomime, Punchinello, Punch and Judy,  the more recent  Comedic Light Opera, Hero and Villain fly sheets and silent moving pictures, to the current every day mass availability of the vagaries of televised and motion picture soap operas, every form of human entertainment from the high society operatic presentation to the backstreet  sketches and caricatures of vaudeville and carnival.

No assumption must be made that a libertine is necessarily unsophisticated, the likes of Cyrano de Bergerac prove quite satisfactorily that the right combination for the perfect cad can include a turn for the literary, a dueling nature, and a wit sharp as a razers edge. That all rakes are at core buffoons is undeniable, they are so easily captured and manipulated by the visible, whether virginal innocence or ribald forthrightness. The supposed propensity to violence is however wholly overstated, a gentle priest can as easy be a lecher as a strident pugilist.

Do treat such characters with care, they shatter as easy as plate glass, and have little resolve for repair once torn asunder.

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