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The Top 10 Dandy Animal Metaphors

The dandy defies definition. Being a predominantly male phenomenon, the dandy has repeatedly been described as effeminized, a hermaphrodite, the third gender, a thing, and, finally, in numerous ways as an animal. Here are the Top 10 animal metaphors with regard to the dandy:

The lion is probably the most commonly known synonym of the dandy. The term was very popular in the 1830s and 1840s Parisian society. It was originally derived from the lions that were kept in the Tower of London. As they became very sought-after and a landmark of the English metropolis, the term was soon used for celebrities. The German translation “Salonlöwe” expresses this facet perfectly. Obviously, the lion metaphor also refers to the dandy as the leader of the bon ton, as the lion is commonly called the king of the animality. The lion is a virile, dangerous, and bold animal; thus, the dandy as lion is quite a positive illustration. This trope focuses on the dandy as an active, strong, and masculine persona who leaves a mark in society.

The dominant animal metaphor with respect to the dandy was the ape/monkey. The dandy’s precursor, the fop, was already portrayed. The dandy is portrayed as downright foolish and narcissistic. The Glass refers to the hour-long dressing process of the dandy. There is a beautiful sketch of Alfred Crowquill, “Love, or An Exquisite at his Devotions” (1825), illustrating this view precisely. The ape/monkey metaphor points to one of the inherent paradoxes of the dandy: One of the most fundamental traits of the dandy persona is its claim for originality and independence. Yet, the ape metaphor insinuates quite the opposite, as the dandy is

The dandy as butterfly has become memorialized by Rea Irvin’s cover design for the first edition of the New Yorker Magazine. It portrays the figure of Eustace Tilly, a fictitious dandy modeled on Alfred d’Orsay. Strictly speaking, the dandy is not portrayed as a butterfly in this image, but rather looks at him through his quizzing glass. The dandy as butterfly accentuates his fickle and inherently paradox nature that defies definite access. The butterfly metaphor arises from the dandy’s splendid sartorial style that sets the fashion and requires constant change in order to maintain his position as trendsetter. What he offers is visual entertainment. Accordingly, Edward Goulbourn stated in his satirical poem “The Pursuits of Fashion” (1810).