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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Dandy (Part I)

"The Dandy appeals to the narcissism of each sex: to a woman they are psychologically female, to a man they are male. Dandies fascinate and seduce in large numbers. Use the power of the Dandy to create an ambiguous, alluring presence that stirs repressed desire"

I believe The Dandy might be the easiest role to play at this modern area although it has to do a lot also with physicality; an important fact is that a Dandy is not androgynous but ambiguous, you are either a man or a woman but there are traits of your persona that appeals to the other sex because it's similar to them, let's take a look of a few examples of a Dandy.

The Feminine Dandy:

"  Do not be one of those who believe that what is most seductive is being devastatingly masculine"

(Rudolph Valentino in the movie The Sheik)

One of the most famous dandies from this silent-film era is Rudolph Valentino. A born Italian he moved to America and conquered the hearts of many women without even saying a word (well he did they just couldn't listen to him). Valentino was what we would call now a "pretty boy" The man wasn't handsome, he was beautiful. He wasn't feminine but he had a very graceful and delicate manner that appeal to women all over. In his films he was like a "Latin lover", a tango dancer leading a woman, an Arab prince rescuing a lady, but there was something that added more to it: He had a hint of cruelty on his side which of course caused a frenzy among women. His malicious attitude with his pretty boy looks was more thrilling than threatening. An interesting point Robert Green mentions in The Art of Seduction is that Valentino wooed as a woman would woo if she were a man- slowly, attentively, paying attention to detail, setting rhythm- instead of hurrying to a conclusion.

The Masculine Dandy:

  (Portrait of Lou Andreas- Salomé) 
Of course if a feminine dandy is a man with feminine traits, a masculine dandy is the total opposite. Here we meet Ms. Lou Andreas- Salomé the Russian dandy that conquered the heart of one of the greatest man of this era -> Friedrich Nietzsche. Andreas- Salomé was beautiful, filtratious, and smart. What made her a Dandy was actually her intellectual and her (very modern) ways of seeing the female rights in that era. She didn't follow society conventional ways and this led her to neither believe in marriage nor to be very keen to monogamy, She had a hint of self-possession and independency that drove men crazy. She was well-read in religious and philosophical issues so men were desperate to keep her under their arms cause she was the ultimate beauty and brains. Of course to realize they couldn't have her only made them more attracted to her.

Another thing is that a Dandy never follows a current trend, whether it is social conventional views of gender roles, or a sense of style. Dandies are very careless of what people think of them and their ambiguous ideas. Is not only viewed in their manners and physical aspects but also in the way they dress, like Beau Brummel! The most famous Dandy of all time, who would spend hours in the bathroom styling the knot of his necktie for which he was famous throughout the early nineteenth-century in England. 
ah The Dandies...They are here! Not Queer! And believe it or not it works more than you think.

(Beau Brummel and his stylish bowtie)
Continue to Part II to see if this is the character I am... 

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