...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

March 02, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

The Roman poet Ovidius, who was Jesus' contemporary, knew a little bit about the ladies. As a public service for my male visitors, whether single and looking or happily married, i have selected the following excerpt from Ovid's The Art of Love. Ovid's poetry is always fun, despite the fact that he was a lawyer. It's amazing how timeless his advice can be.

Book I Part XIV

Don’t delight in curling your hair with tongs,
don’t smooth your legs with sharp pumice stone.
Leave that to those who celebrate Cybele the Mother,
howling wildly in the Phrygian manner.
Male beauty’s better for neglect: Theseus
carried off Ariadne, without a single pin in his hair.
Phaedra loved Hippolytus: he was unsophisticated:
Adonis was dear to the goddess, and fit for the woods.
Neatness pleases, a body tanned from exercise:
a well fitting and spotless toga’s good:
no stiff shoe-thongs, your buckles free of rust,
no sloppy feet for you, swimming in loose hide:
don’t mar your neat hair with an evil haircut:
let an expert hand trim your head and beard.
And no long nails, and make sure they’re dirt-free:
and no hairs please, sprouting from your nostrils.
No bad breath exhaled from unwholesome mouth:
don’t offend the nose like a herdsman or his flock.
Leave the rest for impudent women to do,
or whoever’s the sort of man who needs a man.

Translation by A. S. Kline, 2001.

In other words, don't stink, brush your teeth once in a while, keep yourself clean, but not too neat. Some muscles and a nice tan are always a plus. Chicks still dig a manly man, so please don't shave your legs and it's time to stop getting free haircuts from mom. Spend the money on a good stylist, but don't overdo it. You don't wanna look like a chick, and you definitely don't wanna look gay.

A lumberjack style plaid toga might have been a good choice when cruising the forum for babes, i would imagine.

Posted by annika, Mar. 2, 2005 |
Rubric: Poetry


Believe it or not, these rules will come in handy for the next toga party.

BTW, thanks for the advice! It was way more than I expected, and I'll be sure to put it to good use.

Posted by: Weezie on Mar. 2, 2005

Poor Ovid. I always feel sorry for him, knowing that he ends up banished by Augustus. I have sometimes read sections of the Ars Amoris aloud to my classes, and I've seen one or two fellows taking copious notes.

Posted by: Hugo on Mar. 3, 2005

Amazing that this can be so pertinent 2,000 years later..I'm feeling mildly neglectful already. ;-)

Posted by: JD on Mar. 3, 2005

Stylist? Stylist?! Real men use barbers, thanks! Preferably Korean barbers. (The really good ones give an awesome neck massage.) And a real man's haircut should involve a straight razor and, ideally, both hot lather and a very hot, damp towel. In my experience, the best haircut in the United States (for a man) can be had at Sukhe's barbershop in Lawton, Oklahoma, just outside the gate to Fort Sill. It was about $4 in 1994; it might be up to $5 or $6 now. I used to go there about once a week, even if I didn't really need the haircut.

Posted by: Matt on Mar. 3, 2005

"Male beauty’s better for neglect." Well, as long as you take the advice in moderation.

For those of us who weren't paying attention during lessons on the classics, who is Cybele the Mother?

Posted by: Ontario Emperor on Mar. 3, 2005

"Cybele: in ancient Asian religion, the Great Mother Goddess. The chief centers of her early worship were Phrygia and Lydia. In the 5th cent. B.C. her cult was introduced into Greece, where she was associated with Demeter and Rhea. The spread of her cult to Rome late in the 3d cent. B.C. was marked chiefly by her Palatine temple. Cybele was primarily a nature goddess, responsible for maintaining and reproducing the wild things of the earth. As guardian of cities and nations, however, she was also entrusted with the general welfare of the people. She was attended by the Corybantes and Dactyls, who honored her with wild music and dancing. At her annual spring festival, the death and resurrection of her beloved Attis were celebrated. She frequented mountains and woodland areas and was usually represented either riding a chariot drawn by lions or seated on a throne flanked by two lions. Cybele is frequently identified with various other mother goddesses, notably Agdistis."

Posted by: annika on Mar. 3, 2005

Yes, but did she swallow?

Posted by: Casca on Mar. 3, 2005


Posted by: JD on Mar. 4, 2005