January 17, 1857

17 January 1856


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by Robert Bonner, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Is not necessarily an exquisite; he is often careless of his dress, paying much more attention to the interior, than the exterior-furnishing of his head, and holdeth that the proper study of mankind is—woman. He often converseth with fluency and good sense, on all other topics of interest, and may even be found in the garb of priesthood. The male flirt is an adept at the king's English; looketh killingly out of his eyes; seateth himself on an ottoman at the feet of fair ladies, and readeth poetry with well-practised, tell-tale intonations, and soliciteth a lock of hair, a ring, or a glove, as a keepsake; if granted, to be privately exhibited as a trophy to his gentlemen friends. After the male flirt hath made what he considereth "an impression," he purposely absenteth himself for awhile, to fan the ardor of the supposed victim's flame; then—as suddenly and unexpectedly reappeareth, more devoted, more languishing than ever, only to repeat the same farce at the end of a prolonged visitation. The male flirt keepeth a dozen affairs of this kind on hand at once; and pleaseth himself, while shaving of a morning, in reflecting upon the divers moods and dilemmas of his supposed victims, who are often but giving him a long cord with which to hang himself.

The male flirt being himself a humbug, is naturally suspicious, and bristleth up immensely at the most glimmering ghost of foul play from the other side; groweth facetious thereupon, and mentioneth, as one of his infirmities, a constant tendency to joke upon all subjects. Lastly, the male flirt, with all his fancied penetration and victories, is ingloriously caught at last, thanks to a retributive justice, in the toils of the weakest, where he floundereth like a mad leviathan, to the amusement of interested spectators!

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "The Male Flirt," The New-York Ledger (17 January 1856): [4]

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "The Male Flirt," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2018) http://fannyfern.org.