Rakes: Wine, Women and Drugs – Or Did Their Wives Really Drive Them to It?

by Sandra Scholes on January 1, 2013 · 1 comment

in Guest Blogger, Playboys and Rakehells

rake rogueGuest blog by Sandra Scholes

Which came first? The rakish behavior or the wife?

In modern day society if you marry, it's usually for love and mutual interest. So a husband cheated on his wife, they are all sorts of names under the sun. If he had cold feet about the seriousness of a permanent commitment, then he could have called it off. However, in the Regency or Victorian eras, it was a different story. Back then the sons of rich families had to marry and have heirs who would carry on the family title whether it was Lord, Baron or Earl. They had no choice in the matter, because usually parents arranged the matches as soon as they were considered to be of age.

While there was some courting, he would never be allowed to date her as they do today. A man's closest relationship with the opposite sex was probably his mistress. The rules for interaction were different between a man and a mistress then with a genteel lady. With a mistress the man could have love, emotional comfort, and most of all--regular sexual relations. Interactions with his lady wife would not be as open or passionate.

In many cases, wives wanted their husbands to see a mistress, to relieve them of marital duties they found unpleasant or disruptive to their day-to-day lives. (As long as he was discrete!) In that case, it could be said that the wife drove the husband into the life of being a rake. What do you think? Is it possible that the rake's debauchery, constant thrill-seeking, and drug usage could be linked back to his wife? Or do you think rakish behavior started well before marriage?

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1 Gracce Elliot January 1, 2013 at 7:39 AM

It’s an interesting conundrum.
I imagine there were a lot of frustrated and unhappy people who were forced together and had to make it work because there was no other choice. I see a difference between rakish behaviour (ie rubbing the wife’s face in the husband’s perfidity) and plain being unfaithful to one mistress because the hisbuand craved someone who understood them. There is a certain argument that the regency rakes, are still alive and well in today’s ‘playboys.’
G x

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