The Art of Love by Ovid provides an extremely intriguing advice that can be used by both men and women. The author shows the ways of searching for a perfect match. This poem adopts a fascinating satire that may be applied to describing not only the sexual activities in the pagan Roman culture but also the timeless dating practices in the contemporary societies.
Most of the techniques and strategies used in the poem can be implemented while featuring today’s world. This paper examines Ovid’s guidebook on love, explicates what is generally acquired concerning the Roman society and compares the ancient Roman and today’s social relationships.
I have got the following perception that the Roman dating techniques required men to use some treachery, in order to win a woman, while women, on the other hand, had to take care of their looks so as to easily seduce a man. Ovid’s ideas are in many ways similar to the current world’s ones, except few cases.
According to Ovid’s work, it seemed to be normal to be unfaithful to one’s partner, and that is the thing that is unacceptable in the modern society. All in all, I tend to agree with most of Ovid’s suggestions. He states that men ought to be confident, act as though they know what they say and do, and most importantly, they should attract a woman’s attention during the conversation.
Thus, the author advises, “adorn your mind so that you may interest her with your conversation. Don’t talk to her like a professor or as if you were addressing a meeting” (Ovid, 2010). He further urges men to be attentive not to miss their potential couple, “the fair one that suits you must be sought by your eyes. The hunter knows full well where to extend the toils…” (Ovid, 2004, p. 16).
Moreover, making a relationship work is another necessity mentioned by Ovid. I also agree with this as both in the couple must endeavor to make their relationship successful. Further, interaction is of the utmost importance in the process of “hunting” as thus, a man is aware of the woman’s true feelings based on the way she reacts on him.
Being away from your partner for a short time is considered to be good, but long time absences may ruin the relationship. Therefore, I agree with Ovid that a long parting might make a woman forget her man (2004).
In terms of personal hygiene, I also totally concur with Ovid. For one to be attractive to win a partner, they have to follow personal hygiene rules. In order to appeal to a woman, Ovid advises men not to “primp their good looks” (2010).
He further tells them, “Don’t torture your hair, though, with curling-irons: don’t pumice your legs into smoothness” (Ovid, 2010). Instead, he emphasizes practicing the basic hygienic skills, such as exercising, cleanliness and not having a lousy breath. This is a practical and pertinent practice done by men in the contemporary society.
Ovid further mentions that it is unnecessary for a man to change their ordinary appearances to be loved by a women. To be attentive to a partner, remembering her birthday or other important dates, is also very important and should be done to please a woman. Females appreciate such little things which seem to be even insignificant to a man (Ovid, 2004).
Moreover, most of the Ovid’s ideas and strategies are applied in the modern societies, while, on the other hand, only a few of them do not apply to the present times. The contradiction of the Ovid’s views with the current ones is connected with the fact that women should have been less educated. Ovid mentions that it is normal for men to show their emotions as a way of tricking a woman to perceive them as sensible persons.
Thus, he states, “Let her see you in tears” (Ovid, 2004, p. 26). However, on the other hand, such a technique to win a woman might be taken as a sign of weakness and effeminateness. One of the most burning issues in the contemporary society is divorce which happens as a result of cheating on a spouse. Ovid says that a man ought to “play around”, but if unexpectedly discovered, the author recommends to “swear up and down it’s a lie” (2004, p. 27).
I wholly disagree with this since a marriage should be build upon trust and love and not the betrayal. Additionally, this idea seems to contradict his other points since if one finds the right partner and strives to make that relationship work, then it would be meaningless to destroy that relationship by being promiscuous.
Another issue described by Ovid is similar to today’s one as some women prefer to have relationships with different men, using each of them for some particular purpose. This is the technique that the modern women are so good at. Some will actually do whatever it needs, including establishing intimacy, to get what they want from a man. They will make a male think that they are satisfied to avoid causing any disappointments (Ovid, 2010).
The differences between the Roman culture described by Ovid and today’s one include the issue of women’s education as the times have changed since then. During the author’s time, women were uneducated as they were inferior to men, but nowadays, there are equal opportunities for both males and females as a result of women fighting for their rights.
On the contrary, the similarities could be due to the fact that though the times have changed, the male and female behavioral expectations are the same as they may be viewed as genetic. For instance, women are known to be more sensitive than men, always concerning about their looks to appeal to the last. Likewise, men are said to be polygamous in nature, and that can be the reason why some have extra-marital relations and constantly cheat on their spouses (Ovid, 2010).
Most of the pieces of advice given by Ovid in his works may be applied to in the contemporary world. All the practices that he describes are the things that are encountered in day to day activities. Even though the poem was written in the ancient times, it is still relevant to the current trends of romantic courtships.
To sum everything up, it is worth noting that finding true love is difficult; it requires perseverance, determination and a continuous struggle. Though people may fail to build a successful relationship, they still continue searching for love. The Ovid’s The Art of Love offers some useful strategies that can be used by those trying to find a couple.
Ovid. (2004). The Art of Love. (H.T. Riley, Trans.). New York: Kessinger Publishing.
Ovid. (2010). The Love Books of Ovid. (J.L. May, Trans.). [Internet Sacred Text Archieve version]. Retrieved from http://www.dankalia.com/literature/0010306.htm.