Valentine’s Day Dates Through The Ages!
Your Date: Scottish highlander (Jamie Fraser from Outlander, any hero from Eliza Knight’s “Stolen Bride” series)
Och, the romance of a man in a kilt! There will be heather on this date, and there will be a picnic lunch overlooking some mist-shrouded loch. There will be the moment when your Highlander looks tenderly into your eyes as he slowly, sensuously, slices open the turgid stomach sac to release the steaming mass of haggis onto your plate. And knowing the weather patterns of the Scottish highlands, there will probably be rain. But he’s got that plaid for a reason, so wrap yourself up in it and get cozy. And hope this date doesn’t end all Braveheart with somebody getting hanged, drawn, and quartered.
Renaissance Man (Elizabeth Loupas’s Duke of Ferrara, Sara Poole’s Cesare Borgia)
Glory be, a man whose dream date is an art gallery! Your Renaissance man truly is a man for all seasons–he’ll take you to see those new Pinturicchio frescoes and talk knowledgeably about poetry, science, sculpture, warfare, and politics–and he’ll do it in a variety of languages, too. Post-gallery, expect a summer cena under the arched loggias: grilled sea bass in a truffles-and-caviar sauce, a strawberry and elderflower crostata, and wine chilled in snow. You’ll be serenaded by a choir of six sweet-voiced children who turn out (surprise!) to be your date’s various illegitimate offspring. Just in case a marriage proposal follows dinner, you should know that Renaissance men (at least in Italy) will expect you to raise the mistress’s kids as well as your own.
Your Date: Regency Man (Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Knightly, Colonel Brandon . . .)
One thing you may be certain of: Regency Man will not present you with a dead boar on your date. No, your afternoon will involve a drive in his new barouche-landau so that the ton may admire your new spencer and his new cravat, followed by cards at Almack’s (if he is racy) and then a ball (brush up on your minuet figures, as the waltz is still considered shocking). Regency Man may polish his boots with champagne like Beau Brummell, but don’t be fooled by fancy dress–inquire closely as to his prospects. If he is a single gentleman in possession of a good fortune, not to mention a large estate in Darbyshire, then by all means, latch on. Or at least tip him in a lake so you can watch him wade out in his wet shirt.
And on that note, Happy Valentine’s Day!