Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Fop by any other name

The fop or dandy is a common trope in literature as well history. Two of the most famous examples are the Baroness Orczy's Sir Percy Blakney, otherwise known as, the Scarlet Pimpernel (1903/1905), and Johnston McCulley's Don Diego de la Vega, otherwise known as Zorro. Note what the two have in common - a secret identity as a hero. The Fop is a starting template in Honor+Intrigue.


Motivation: Reputation

Might -1     Daring 1       Savvy 1     Flair 3
Brawl -1     Melee 3        Ranged 0   Defense 2
Courtier 2   Don Juan 2   Duelist 0   Scholar 0
Lifeblood 9 Advantage 3 Fortune 6
Languages: French +1 Slot
Boons: Good Etiquette, Great Wealth
Flaws: City Dweller
Equipment: Fine Clothing, Good Horse
   Rapier 1d6-1 Dmg; +1 Parry
   Cloak +1 Feint, Bind,
Favored Actions: Bladework+4, Glide+6, Quick-cut+6, Tag+6/+2; Bind+2[3], Feint+6[7]; Cloak Parry+6, Riposte+4; Ranged Attack+1

What is a fop? What is a dandy? 

fop (noun): a man who is concerned with his clothes and appearance in an affected and excessive way; a dandy;
synonyms: dandy, man about town, poseur;
informalsnappy dresser, trendoid, hipster;
archaiccoxcomb, popinjay.

Let's take a look at the main synonyms and see what all have in common.

dandy (noun): a man unduly devoted to style, neatness, and fashion in dress and appearance; synonyms: fop, man about town, glamour boy, rake.

man about town (noun): a worldly and socially active man; a man who goes to many popular parties, clubs, etc. 

poseur (noun): a person who acts in an affected manner in order to impress others.

Man about town has a 1920s-1940s vibe to me. It is a term I read a lot as a descriptor of the pulp antecedents of Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne, men such as Lamont Cranstone and Richard Wentworth. It's a term that seems too modern for the 17th century. I'll keep it in mind for the next time I play a diletantte in Call of Cthulhu.

So the consensus seems to be that a fop is a man who acts in an affected manner and who is unduly devoted to or concerned about his clothes and appearance. To an extent that describes nearly everyone in the royal court of France.  

I'm fond of popinjay as term of derision. It sounds funny and insulting yet it rolls nicely off the tongue. And since my campaign is set in the 17th century archaism is a good thing. So I'll add that definition.

popinjay (noun): a vain or conceited person, especially one who dresses or behaves extravagantly.

And as long as we are examining archaisms we might as well take a look at coxcomb.

coxcomb (noun): a vain and conceited man; a dandy.

Vanity and conceit seem the hallmark of these two additional terms. I think they make a good addition to our description of a fop or dandy. 

A fop or dandy: is a vain or conceited man who acts in an affected manner and who is unduly devoted to or concerned about his clothes and appearance.

A few other terms you might see that have the same or similar meanings are town clown, petit-maître, and mignon. Town clown is fairly self explanatory, but the last two, being French, deserve some additional explanation.

petit-maître (noun): literally small master; first known use 1711. Larouse provides the following definition: Littéraire. Jeune élégant ou élégante aux manières ridiculement prétentieuses. (English: Literary. Elegant youth or elegant in ridiculously pretentious ways.)

les mignons were the effeminate favorites of King Henri III including the Dukes d'Épernon and Joyeuse, Counts Quelus and Saint-Megrinand Ph. de Gramont, Count de  Guiche; from Larouse.

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