Lady Cavendish of the Devonshire clan pronounced one of their kind to be “a woman of notorious, shameless character.” The memoir of another was said to be a “list of dirty laundry.” In sixteenth century Venice, Sumptuary Laws forbade them from flaunting in public the gold, silver, silks, and gemstones that were the spoils of their sorcery. Nor were they allowed to “stand, kneel, or sit on the benches that in the church are occupied by noblewomen … taking care not to give offence to other decent persons.”
The Sultanette will never turn down a gooey evening of romance. Candlelight, moist eye contact, a brush of hand on knee, a glass of Bordeaux the size of a fish bowl haven’t lost their power to get me flailing by night’s end. Unlike their preferred approaches such as sexting, guys know the intimate dinner is the PC way to get between a woman’s legs, the more stars to the restaurant, the better the chances.
Romance, the bedrock of love American-style, has always looked to the French for inspiration: Doris Day’s head spinning in the 1952 film, April in Paris – the song originally written in 1932 for Broadway; Sartre and de Beauvoir chain-smoking at the Café de Flore. When the Good Ex and I announced to the New York advertising agency where we had been surreptitiously dating, that we were getting married and moving to Paris, we became instant poster children of the fantasy.