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Dandies, Æsthetes & Flâneurs

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A dandy conundrum [06 Mar 2005|02:25pm]
Watching a BBC documentary tonight on the life of Kenneth Tynan, the great British theatre critic, the author Bert Lahr described the dandy thus:

"A dandy is a rebel who seeks society’s acceptance, on his own terms."

I'm not sure about this. Though I suspect it might have a kernel of truth a large part of me rails against it. Perhaps I'm influenced by the fact that the birth of my own adolescent interest in clothes co-incided with a desire to shock, to epater le bourgeois, and align myself with those - frequently long dead - who I admired, rather than those I spent my time at school with who I, largely, and frequently mistakenly, despised. My own taste in clothes is, now, defined by scrupulous understatement - I find myself totally in agreement with Brummell's "If John Bull turns round to look at you then you are not well dressed." But, I think, I'm not looking for acceptance, merely acting as a gatekeeper to my own taste. And there's the rub: if I am, as I'd like to believe, this entirely self-contained creature, confident in my own assessment of sartorial worth, why is it that I feel a warm glow of pleasure when given, even the most inane, compliments about my clothing?

Perhaps Lahr has a point.
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