Love lecture

In Competition No. 2425 you were invited to do as Ovid did: give poetic advice as to how to pick up, seduce and keep a lover of either sex.

Here’s one of Ovid’s shrewd pieces of advice to girls (my translation, The Modern Library, New York, rush out and buy it):

Steer clear of the young professor
Of elegance, the too good-looking snappy dresser
Who’s always arranging his hair — he’ll tell you a stale,
Thousand-times-told tale,
But his heart’s a gipsy, it camps, it moves.
What can a woman do when the man she loves
Is smoother than she is and, for all she can tell,
Has more men than she does as well?

Not many of you successfully caught ‘the sweet witty soul of Ovid’, in the happy phrase of a contemporary of Shakespeare. The bludgeon was more in evidence than the rapier. The prizewinners, printed below, get £25 each, and Alanna Blake has the bonus fiver.

First choose your fellow: patronise the clubs,
The party circuit, matches, dating game;
But, as wise Ovid says, avoid the pubs —
A woman, drunk, is any man’s to claim.

Tempt him with glances, smile, then look away
And don’t be forward when he comes across.
A man must be allowed to make his play
And not suspect the woman is the boss.

When he invites you, shrug, then join the throng
Of dancers, concert-goers, football fans;
Or if he’s shy, just let him string along,
But take his number for your future plans.

If under 35, you’ll know the drill
To tame or bed him on the second date.
For others, get in quick and make your kill
In any way you can — you’ve left it late!
Alanna Blake

To pull a bird, you imitate a bird,
Outdo the peacock with your courtship plan.
One signal’s better than a thousand words:
A wad of fifties spread out like a fan
Will mark you as an alpha-nubile man.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in