“The most disgusting cad in the world is the man who, on grounds of decorum and morality, avoids the game of love. He is one who puts his own ease and security above the most laudable of philanthropies. Women have a hard time of it in this world. They are oppressed by man-made laws, man-made social customs, masculine egoism, the delusion of masculine superiority.
Their one comfort is the assurance that, even though it may be impossible to prevail against man, it is always possible to enslave and torture a man. This feeling is fostered when one makes love to them. One need not be a great beau, a seductive catch, to do it effectively. Any man is better than none.
To shrink from giving so much happiness at such small expense, to evade the business on the grounds that it has hazards — this is the act of a puling and tacky fellow.”
H. L. Mencken. 1919.
There is just the faintest whiff of misogyny here under that little bow to female oppression, but the phrasing is droll, the self-importance brassy and the truth piquant enough to twist the corner of a mouth. I’m enjoying discovering Mencken.