A Gentleman Strips Off…

Following on from Friday’s discussion of learning to tie a cravat, it seemed the sensible thing to do to learn how to remove it.  The which I have now done after taking some advice on the matter.  

And the method is as follows:  Index finger into the front of the Gordian knot and pull, though not so hard to begin strangulation proceedings.  The knot should give way.  And then once that has happened, index finger into the looped-over bit and pull again.    

And there I am, looking devilishly ready for mischief, or bed, with my cravat ends hanging loosely about my neck.  Or, as it happens:  “His eyes were red-rimmed and about his throat his neckcloth hung limp and dishevelled as it he’d spent the night whoring in some King Street bordello.  He hadn’t.”  (May 1812, Chapter One) 

However, assuming that our hero is in the throes of a love scene (yes, this is the practical reason why I learn all this arcane nonsense), let’s start at the beginning. 

Make dashed certain the boots (with or without horse muck on them) have been left at the door or really anywhere but in the bedchamber, if at all possible.  There are two reasons for this.  One, this may be vital at a time when there are no Dysons.  But also, the method of removing one’s boots generally required the backside of another person, and gentlemen didn’t much care for bootjacks as it was said to break down the back of the boot.  Equally, the reason a gentleman did not ‘sit down in all his dirt’ was a pungent one. 

So shoes are a better bet.  Easier to slip off.  

So it all starts this way:  with the the kissing…this could go on for a long time. A very long time.  Because the most important thing is always that she feels and knows that her wishes and desires are paramount to his.

Then, the jacket comes off.  It’s easier, I’ll be frank, if the beloved slips her hands upward from his chest toward his shoulders and lifts it away from him.  But assuming she’s an innocent and that he doesn’t have his coats cut so as to make getting them off akin to peeling an obstreperous orange, he shrugs the thing off, first one shoulder, then the other, all the while still kissing her.  Because kissing is the greatest intimate compliment there is. 

Then, the waistcoat.  Button by tiny button.  All eleven or so of the things.  Or more than that if the waistcoat is double breasted.  And with each button, a sensation of incremental yet greater sensual liberty is attained. 

The waistcoat now on the floor with the coat he slides his index finger into the front of that knot at the base of the throat and pulls.  And index finger into the remaining tied-bit and pulls.  And freedom.  And the end of the cravat is yanked and pulled off and discarded onto the floor. 

Then, he takes down his braces if he’s wearing them, first one, then the other.

And finally, he unbuttons his shirt.  But being slightly impatient, he pulls it off over his head without unbuttoning it all the way.

But, the removal of the shirt only happens when she wishes it to happen.  And all the time, his removal of his clothes is secondary to touching her, kissing her, telling her in every wordless way, that her beauty blocks out the sky and the stars and is all that he sees. 

And that’s how it’s done. 

“To teach thee, I am naked first…” John Donne


9 comments on “A Gentleman Strips Off…

  1. Val-Rae says:

    I’m not sure whether I’m to clap or swoon. My gut reaction is:
    1) Stands and claps audibly. Yes, MM! That’s the way! Claps some more. (…all the while still kissing her. Because kissing is the greatest intimate compliment there is.) Yes. Yes. Yes!
    2) Drops down into a dead faint.

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Well, I shall hope that the she (whoever she may be) in the scene above doesn’t drop down into a dead faint, because that is a passion killer, let me just tell you. There you are, all ready for the joys of spring and then, thud.

  2. mockingbird08 says:

    Into my memory pops this picture of Peter Sellers, who in the throes of passion has been completely unable to un-knot his tie, thus it winds up, clamped around his forehead like a tourniquet… this mental picture… and the prospect of the young lady having to “peel” her lover in much the same way as you would an orange…

    I shall rejoin you when I have finished writhing on the floor braying with laughter….

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Who said the only way to kill the mood is by fainting?

      • Val-Rae says:

        Oh, I can think of plenty of others. Let’s see. Sneezing. Hiccupping. (That’s my personal favourite.) We’ll skip the other possible bodily functions. Moving on… When you think you’ve gotten all the necessary buttons, but just missed one and then pull the shirt over your head to find yourself stuck. And then she tries to help and, well, you soon find yourself headlong on the floor with a button stuck up your nose. That’s a hard one to recover from. Not impossible, mind. But tricky.

      • M M Bennetts says:

        The worst is actually the giggles, or one of my laughing fits, which may have been mentioned at another time or place.

        Which is why I shall be ignoring all the abovementioned advice when I go to write the next love scene.

      • Val-Rae says:

        Oh heaven, please do ignore. Can you imagine it? Myddleton steps quietly into the room. Janey is half undressed, her ribbons hanging loose, her skirts just nestling at her hips, ready to drop to the floor. In her innocence, she is shy, demure, yet hopeful. She looks longingly at Myddleton, her eyes shining with a twinge of fear and yet longing dominates.

        And Myddleton starts laughing.

        After which, Janey hitches her skirts, walks over to Myddleton and slaps him hard.

        Then I suppose, in order to keep there from being a permanent separation, or a murder, he must grab hold of that hand and make it up to her. Yes, that’s what I said. Make it up to her. That is what we call in the writing world a euphemism. Just so ya know! But I’ll let you write it your way. Aren’t I so kind?

  3. junebugger says:

    I remember reading in several historical romance books where the hero merely kicks off his boot in the love scene. Now my eyes are open. I won’t be able to read a love scene without laughing now.

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Now I’m laughing. In theory, kicking off the boots is tremendous. In practice, you could be hopping about for the next half hour.

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