Ninon de Lenclos

Ninon De Lenclos, On Her Last Birthday

So let me have the rouge again,
And comb my hair the curly way.
The poor young men, the dear young men
They'll all be here by noon today.

And I shall wear the blue, I think-      
They beg to touch its rippled lace;
Or do they love me best in pink,
So sweetly flattering the face?

And are you sure my eyes are bright,
And is it true my cheek is clear?
Young what's-his-name stayed half the night;
He vows to cut his throat, poor dear!

So bring my scarlet slippers, then,
And fetch the powder-puff to me.
The dear young men, the poor young men-
They think I'm only seventy!
Dorothy Parker

Ninon De Lenclos (1620 - 1705) did what she could and from time to time what she had to. In an era when women were judged by the position of the men who supported them, she made her own way. It was an age of many famous beauties, many sought-after courtesans. Ninon was famous for her wit and her charm. The word " glamour" originally meant an illusion of beauty. Ninon knew or learned early in life that he who is comfortable in your company, he who believes himself to be intelligent and amusing when you are present, will believe you to be beautiful.

She said
A woman's resistance to a man’s advances is not always a sign of virtue. 
Sometimes it’s just a sign of experience.
but she also said

If God had to give a woman wrinkles, He might at least have put them on the soles of her feet.

Ninon is most often quoted on the subject of, um, inter-personal relations, and I think the following are worth repeating:
Men lose more conquests by their own awkwardness than by any virtue in the woman.
Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion.
A man is given the choice between loving women and understanding them.
I cherish her joyful spirit and her love of life:

Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, 
everything seems to speak to me of my passion, 
everything invites me to cherish it.

No doubt, she enjoyed the company of men, but there is much, much more to her than that. She sparkled in dimly lit rooms, without the help of sequins. I hope you'll look into her life and her writings and find as much enjoyment as I have. Take another look at her "dates," above, what a long time to have lived in those times!

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