You know how sometimes you’re out at, I don’t know, a company picnic, and two men just break out into fisticuffs over you? Suddenly they just begin pummeling one another for your love? And they call one another rapscallions? And roustabouts?
I’ve never been to a company picnic. It seems like the kind of thing that might happen. With the right crudites, anything can happen.
Anyhow, wouldn’t it be great if, instead of just using their tiny primitive fists, those men drew swords, or, hell, pearl handled revolvers and just began… oh. Then they’d die, probably.
Okay, we started this fun new column in a dark place, apparently.
So, it might be a good thing that duels are not something we really do anymore, but there’s still something undeniably hot about men being willing to die to defend their honor. Or a lady’s honor. Or just the concept of honor in general, I guess, if they were gentlemen philosophers.
Samuel Johnson said that “A man may shoot the man who invades his character, as he may shoot him who attempts to break into his house.”
This is… not something we do anymore, at all.
So, how did duels work, exactly?
Well, they had their roots, not as you might expect if all you grew up reading was The Mists of Avalon in the middle ages, but in Ancient Greek literature. Remember single combat? Like with Hector and Achilles, squaring off? It was more of a “war thing” then and less of a “petty insult” thing, but it looked good. Here is a picture from the movie Troy!
None of this is really accurate except that men did square off in single hand to hand combat.