Advice to a Young Man on Choosing a Mistress - Benjamin Franklin
1. My dear Friend,
2. I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you
3. mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the
4. proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in
5. which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering
6. into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages
7. you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in
8. comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled.
9. It is the Man and Woman united that make the complete human Being.
10. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her
11. Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to
12. succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in
13. that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of
14. a Pair of Scissors. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your
15. Profession, with her good Economy will be a Fortune sufficient.
16. But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with
17. the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours
18. you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a
19. Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:
20. --1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are
21. better stored with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and
22. more lastingly agreeable.
23. – 2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To
24. maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by
25. an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great
26. and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus,
27. they continue amiable. And hence, there is hardly such a thing to be found as
28. an old Woman who is not a good Woman.
29. – 3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produced may
30. be attended with much Inconvenience.
31. – 4. Because thro' more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in
32. conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is
33. therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if
34. the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather
35. inclined to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man,
36. form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health
37. and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.
38. – 5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids
39. that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank
40. and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts
41. continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a
42. Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two
43. Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey,
44. the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and
45. frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.
46. – 6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and
47. make her for Life unhappy.
48. – 7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl
49. miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of
50. which can attend the making an old Woman happy.
51. 8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!! Thus much for my
52. Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your
53. affectionate Friend.
What does the narrator imply about the behavior and views of men?