A friend from Canyon Country reminded me the other night that those of us who do prefer Young Companions, those of us who style ourselves as roués, do have a certain responsibility for what we do. He reminded me that whatever we do now will be part of the stories Young Companions will tell in a few years. We're their stories of their Misspent Youth. We're the raw material for the stories they'll construct to tell friends at thirty or thirty-five. So we do have a responsibility for what we do. We're the markers for what lovely young girls will call their wild days. It would be easy to just smile and toss out a line like With great depravity comes great responsibility, but my friend has a very key point. Lovely co-eds have trusted us to be the basis for their stories. They've offered us the chance to be their Pasts, to be the symbols of their days of experimentation and transgression. That's a great gift, really. One has a responsibility in return. One has to be a good story, to be a symbol of lovely girls' Misspent Youths that'll be better than just having a tattoo in an embarrassing place.
One is a gentleman of a certain age. A lovely co-ed has offered you the chance to be part of her Past, to be something she'll remember as an adventure. That's a great gift. Her favours are important, of course, and being allowed to watch her wake up on a Sunday dawn naked in your bed is a great gift. She has allowed you to be one of her memories. There's an obligation to be a good memory, to be a story worth recounting and re-telling. A gentleman of a certain age, a roué--- someone whose aim is what the old Soft Cell song called luring disco dollies to a life of vice ----has an obligation to make her stories better than just being about having a tattoo on an inner thigh. When a lovely co-ed turns thirty and is telling stories to titillate and shock her friends, one has an obligation to be a set of fond memories, to have helped create memories worth saving.
A friend at McGill in Montreal always told me that she'd gone to university with the belief that older admirers were part of any bookish girl's education. She told me that at seventeen she'd gone to university to collect stories of her own adventures and to learn about the world and the flesh. Older admirers, she said, had knowledge and a passion for knowledge to impart. The exchange, she said was simple and straightforward: youth and beauty exchanged for knowledge. That's what a sentimental education is about, and she and I both agreed on that.
I'm vain, of course. I do want to be a good memory. I want to be remembered as part of a sentimental education, as a part of a lovely girl's past that she's proud of. It is more than that, though. There's a clear exchange implicit in that. Being a good memory is something one works at, something worth one's time and effort. And it's something one offers up as part of the exchange. You have an obligation to a lovely young girl who's offered you her favours and asked to have the world shown to her. Be clear, now. It's an obligation that is part of being a gentleman of a certain age, of being a gentleman at all.
One day a lovely girl will look back from thirty and think of what she learned, of the adventures she had at university, of the boundaries pushed past, of the bright lines transgressed. She'll see some small object or hear a few lines of a song or look at a book on a bookstore shelf and think of what you and she did together. She'll remember nights where she felt free enough to defy convention, to explore the new possibilities you offered her once upon a time. There's an obligation to help her craft stories that will be part of a sentimental education. Whatever you know, whatever passions you have, whatever experiences you can offer up--- those will be her memories. Your responsibility is clear enough: to be a lover who'll help her construct memories worth having and worth keeping.
Don't forget that. Don't.