How Dandy Are You?

This test proposes that dandyism is something that can be quantifiably measured, with certain dandy characteristics assigned a numeric value, and certain tastes, habits, skills and opinions ranked according to how closely they match the dandy ideal.

Readers may be reminded of the scene in “Dead Poets Society” in which a pedantic textbook author argues that poems can be charted on an X and Y graph based on greatness of execution and greatness of subject, with Swinburne, for example, scoring high in the one but not the other.

All of this, of course, is presented from the point of view of Dandyism.net, which, to be fair, has been called “fusty philistine claptrap.”

We should state that part of what makes the fraternity of dandyism (whose numbers, as this test reveals, may be smaller than we thought) so fascinating is that its lore is a combination of both historical figures and literary characters. Each of these questions is based in some way on dandy tradition, whether in fact or fiction.

The test lavishly rewards qualities that are rare and ideal — such as being independently wealthy and residing in London — and strongly penalizes egregious breaks from this ideal, such as the banality of using a Toyota Camry to shuttle around children who may, at any moment, vomit on one’s flannel. It also penalizes extreme divergences from contemporary taste, such as the donning of spats and a monocle.

Some further examples:

It is important to distinguish what is upper class from what is dandy. When it comes to sport, polo may be upper class, but boxing and fencing were practiced by many dandies in fact and fiction. Being unathletic certainly has its precedent in dandy tradition, such as Cecil in “A Room with a View,” though he was a dandy caricature.

The poor will find that it is indeed better to be rich, while the young will find that dandyism is something that reaches its fullest effect later in life. And while some may feel that their finances, youth and geographic location are things over which they have little control, and that they are being penalized by a cruelty of fate, they will also find that they are rewarded for possessing a dandy sensibility, which is free of cost and calls the whole world its home.

The apprentice who wishes to attain full dandyhood should focus his efforts not on scoring big points, since financial independence and a London residence are not easily attained, but instead on ways of avoiding negative points.

A passing score is 70 percent, for it stands to reason that one must possess 7/10s of the ideal (a little over two-thirds) to be considered an example of the type.

Finally, this test is for entertainment purposes only.

1) You live within 10 miles of:

a) London (+10)
b) Paris (+8)
c) New York (+5)
d) Major metropolitan city (+1)
e) Anywhere else (0)

2) Your age is:

a) 18-25 (0)
b) 25-30 (+1)
c) 30-45 (+5)
d) 45-70 (+1)
e) 70-up (0)

3) Your relationship status is:

a) Single (+10)
b) Married (0)

4) When it comes to physical appearance, you are:

a) Tall, dark and handsome (+5)
b) Tall, dark or handsome (+2)
c) Rather average (0)
d) Rather unappealing (-3)

5) In regards to your physique:

a) Your waist is smaller than your inseam (+5)
b) Your waist is the same as your inseam (0)
c) Your waist is larger than your inseam (-2)

6) Your facial hair preference is:

a) Clean shaven (+3)
b) Mustache or goatee, over 40 (+1)
c) Mustache or goatee, under 40 (-3)
d) Clean shaven with sideburns (-5)

7) Your source of income:

a) Independently wealthy (+10)
b) Credit (+7)*
c) Self-employed (+5)
d) Work in office (-5)

* Must flee to France when credit is exhausted

8.) For college, you attended:

a) Oxford (+10)
b) Princeton (+5)
c) Anywhere else (0)

9) When it comes to your name and ancestry:

a) You’re a commoner, and like Noel Coward, “related to no one but myself.” (+3)
b) You have a title, such as lord or duke (+2)
c) You have an assumed title, such as lord or duke (-5)

10) Your home is:

a) A cloistral male sanctuary for you alone (+8)
b) Cohabited by a fellow dandy (+2)
c) Cohabited by a female spouse/lover (0)
d) Cohabited by a wife and kids (-5)
e) Cohabited by roommates (-6)
f) Cohabited by parents* (-7)

* At ancestral family estate (+5)

11) Your mode of travel around town is primarily:

a) Driver/taxi (+8)
b) Well aged luxury sedan/sports car (+3)
c) Public transportation (train, subway) (0)
d) Econobox (-3)
e) Highwheel bicycle (-5)

12) Your preferred form of tobacco is:

a) Cigarette in holder* (+5)
b) Cigarette (+4)
c) Cigar (+3)
d) Pipe (+1)
e) Quit smoking (0)
f) Never smoked (-2)

* Must be 40 or older

13) Your preferred drink is:

a) Claret (+3)
b) Champagne (+2)
c) Scotch/cognac (+1)
c) Martini (0)
d) Homemade absinthe (-3)

14) Your command of the French language is:

a) Fluent (+5)
b) Reading knowledge (+2)
c) You know “cravatte” means “cravat” (-2)

15) Your musical tastes are primarily:

a) Classical (+5)
b) Jazz and vocalists (+3)
c) Anything else (-3)

16) Your walls are decorated primarily with:

a) Images of masculine panache, such as hunting, equestrian or sartorial prints (+5)
b) Classic art (+2)
c) Modern art (0)
d) Moreau, Redon, Bresdin and Jan Luyken (-3)

17) You have cultivated a collection of useless objects of beauty*, such as antique snuffboxes or Sevres porcelain:

a) Yes (+5)
b) No (0)

* Excluding books, pipes, etc., which serve a utilitarian purpose.

18) For a pet, you’d prefer:

a) Cat (+3)
b) Dog (+1)
c) Jewel-encrusted tortoise (-2)

19) When it comes to sport, you prefer:

a) Fencing, boxing (+5)
b) Golf (+3)
c) Tennis, etc. (+1)
d) You’re like Cecil in “A Room with a View” (0)

20) You possess the following skills (+2 for each):

a) Horsemanship
b) Piano
c) Dancing
d) Flying
e) Painting/sculpture

21) Your suits, jackets and trousers are primarily:

a) Bespoke (+10)
b) Off the rack but tailored (+ 2)
c) Off the rack, not tailored (0)
d) Vintage (-5)

22) You own a set of white tie and tails:

a) Yes (+5) *
b) No (0)

* Not to be used for the purpose of professional ballroom dancing or orchestra conducting.

23) When it comes to velvet, you have:

a) A smoking jacket (+3)
b) One jacket or waistcoat (+1)
c) Nothing velvet (0)
d) A velvet suit in emerald (-2)
e) Multiple items in velvet (-3)

24) When it comes to hats, you wear a:

a) Homburg/fedora, etc., when it’s under 40 degrees (+3)
b) Homburg/fedora, etc. when above 40 (-2)
c) Top hat during daylight hours, outside of Ascot (-5)
d) An object not intended to be a hat (-10)

25) A stranger has mocked you because of your dress:

a) At least once in your life (+3)
b) On a daily basis (-5)

26) You would most like others to consider your appearance:

a) Rakishly elegant (+5)
b) Well dressed (+3)
c) Fashionable (0)
d) Unique (-1)
e) Anachronistic (-2)

27) You prefer to dress in:

a) Blue, like Brummell (+4)
b) Gray, like Grant and Astaire (+3)
c) Checks and plaids, like the Duke of Windsor (+2)
d) Bright colors, like Disraeli and Gatsby (+1)
e) Black, like Baudelaire (-3)

28) When discussing clothes with non-dandies, they look you over and:

a) Ask for advice (+5)
b) Give you advice (-5)

29) You would most like to have the wardrobe of:
a) The Duke of Windsor (+5)
b) Tom Wolfe (+1)
c) Fonzworth Bentley (0)
d) Oscar Wilde (-2)
e) Doran Wittelsbach (-5)

30) When it comes to conversation in society, your preferred form of persiflage is:

a) To speak light of the serious and serious of the light (+5)
b) To talk to every woman as if you loved her and every man as if he bored you (+3)
c) To discuss art and literature (+2)
d) To rail against consumerism, materialism and the vulgarity of the masses (-3)

31) On online forums, you’re considered:

a) A caustic wit (+8)
b) A gentleman and scholar (+1)
c) Hardly noticeable (0)
d) An odd bird (-10)

32) You have published on the subject of dandyism:

a) Yes, in book form (+9)
b) Yes, in a magazine/newspaper (+6)
c) Yes, on the Web (+3)
d) Yes, at Dandyism.net (+10)
e) No (0)

33) You have been the subject of a piece of writing on dandyism:

a) Yes (+10)
b) No (0)

34) Somewhere, in print or on the Web, is a clever quote attributed to you:

a) Yes (+5)
b) No (0)

35) The fictional character you most admire is:

a) Lord Goring (+5)
b) Pelham (+3)
c) Charles Swann (+1)
d) Des Esseintes (-5)

36) The real-life man you most admire is:

a) George Brummell (+5)
b) Max Beerbohm (+3)
c) Andre 3000 (0)
d) Robert de Montesquiou (-3)

37) Not that you care what others think, but still you would least like to be thought of as:

a) Common (+3)
b) A closet sentimentalist (+1)
c) Cold and aloof (0)
d) Vain (-2)

38) Not that you care what others think, but you would most like to be thought of as:

a) A well dressed philosopher of life (+5)
b) A dapper man about town (+2)
c) An artist (+1)
d) A reclusive aesthete (0)
e) A rebel against conformity (-5)

39) Of the statements below, choose the one you most agree with:

a) “Dandyism is the result of an artistic temperament working upon a fine body within the wide limits of fashion.” (+5)
b) “Every dandy dares, but he stops at the intersection between originality and eccentricity.” (+3)
c) “Beaux, lions or dandies… all share the same characteristic of opposition and revolt.” (-1)
d) “Dandies, being perfumed shamans, reside within the twilight realm that exists betwixt the worlds of the Animate and the Inanimate. Because of this, Dandies identify strongly with plants.” (-5)

40) The Dandyism.net writer whose work you enjoy most is:

a) Nick Willard (+3)
b) Christian M. Chensvold (0)
c) Michael Mattis (0)
d) Robert Sacheli (0)

Your score:

240 (perfect score): You are the ideal of modern dandyism
168-239: Faithful myrmidon
167-under: Affected provincial

Digg this story Add to Del.icio.us Add to Reddit Netscape