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“A Lover’s Departure” by Sei Shonagon

November 25, 2008 9:36 am

By erbarbra


“A lover who is leaving at dawn announces that he has to find his fan and his paper. “I know I put them somewhere last night,” he says. Since it is pitch dark, he gropes about the room, bumping into the furniture and muttering, “Strange! Where on earth can they be?” Finally he discovers the objects. He thrusts the paper into the breast of his robe with great rustling sound; then he snaps open his fan and busily fans away with it. Only now is he ready to take his leave. What careless behavior! “Hateful” is an understatement.

Equally disagreeable is the man who, when leaving in the middle of the night, takes care to fasten the cord of his headdress. This is quite unnecessary; he could perfectly well put it gently on his head without tying the cord. And why must he spend time adjusting his cloak or hunting costume? Does he really think someone may see him at this time of night and criticize him for not being impeccably dressed?

A good lover will behave as elegantly at dawn as at any other time. He drags himself out of bed with a look of dismay on his face. The lady urges him on: “Come, my friend, it is getting light. You don’t want anyone to find you here.” He gives a deep sight, as if to say that the night has not been nearly long enough and that it is agony to leave. Once up, he does not instantly pull on his trousers. Instead he comes close to the lady and whispers whatever has been left unsaid during the night. Even when he is dressed, he still lingers, vaguely pretending to be fastening his sash.

Presently he raises the lattice, and the two lovers stand together by the side door while he tells her how he dreads the coming day, which will keep them apart; he slips away. The lady watches him go, and this moment of parting will remain among her most charming memories.

Indeed, one’s attachment to a man depends largely on the elegance of his leave-taking. When he jumps out of bed, scurries about the room, tightly fastens his trouser sash, rolls up the sleeves of his court cloak, over robe, or hunting costume, stuffs his belongings into the breast of his robe and then briskly secures the outer sash – one really begins to hate him.”


Our comments:

Amarille : Forgive my bitterness…but good lovers don’t exist anymore, my dear..they’re almost extinct and if you do find one, you can consider yourself a lucky lady…[And then you absolutely must share the secret of where the heck you found him] ha-haa… [smiles] …

E: A good lover does not a good husband make… He’s just a good lover.

Amarille:I’m talking about the one who makes a good partner – don’t have to be married to be happy:) – well that’s my opinion at least (you know me..)

You go too far girls. Read between the lines 🙂 Somehow the narrative took me away from just thinking about lovers. I immediately focused on how the behaviors of individuals can be categorized in every day life as “good lovers” or “bad lovers”. Some people just try to rush away from you when they got what they wanted and they will be “hated” for that behavior, and some others take their time with you and enjoy your friendship, presence or etc.

On the other hand, if you find the good lover’s secret, do not forget to share with me either :):)
aaaah – light bulb! barb, you are way to deep for me =) good thing we’re friends because you can continue to clue me in on such things. 😉

seriously though, good point made – it is true that the people who invest their time with us are the ones who are most remembered (and cherished)

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