Dear Prudentia: What is Best in Life?
I know how it goes. When one asks a mighty barbarian warrior: “What is best in life?” The typical answer should be: “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” The first two are fine, but I must admit that the third one perturbs me. I mean, I don’t actually like hearing women cry. It makes me feel all sad, and I tear up easily, which isn’t good for troop morale. Once, I hiccupped a sob, tried to pretend it was a sneeze, and bit on my own recently sharpened sword to hide my grief. It looked pretty badass so the men were impressed and gave me wide berth, but still, I can only cut half of my face off so many times before I’m too mutilated to be understood. Plus, my tetanus shot is out of date and that’s bound to turn out badly. Please help me to enjoy the lamentations of women, as ever good conqueror should.
First off, you should never let your shots expire. You just never know what you’ll encounter on that battlefield. Some people’s arrows are filthy with cow dung, did you know that? You could get terribly ill that way, which would tear your attention away from conquering.
Now, for your main question: Dear man, you are in a difficult bind. And what are you to do? You shall hear women lament, of course, for that is what women do best. I myself have been known to enjoy a spot of lamenting with my tea. So, as we cannot stop the problem from occurring and as you obviously cannot easily retire (as retirement for conquerors generally occur post mortem), then we shall help to toughen you up, dear friend. Here are just a few tips to start you on the right path.
- Bathe in the Blood of Your Enemies: Now, I know this is old school, but you can’t argue with the classics. Don’t make it easy and get slaves to prepare your tripe-scented bath, either (and I do actually mean bathe, here. It’s something that conquerors should in fact consider taking up, but that’s a whole other post). Prepare the bath yourself – it’ll get you nice and pre-gory before being more gory. I supposed that’s actually post-pre-gore since the pre-gore would have been when you slay your enemy, and then gore when you prepare the bath, and then post-gore when you do .. wait, maybe that first step should be the pre-pre-gore then. Well, either way, do it. It’s great for building up a tolerance to all things, and it has the bonus of being quite lovely on the skin.
- Eat Unseasoned Horse Hooves: First cook them a bit in the fire, smoke flavor is fine. They won’t get very tender and you will lose teeth, but the resulting heartburn will leave you thinking only of your body’s laments, and having no care for anyone else’s.
- Visualize: According to modern theories on psychological distress (I read an article in last week’s Conquered Homes and Gardens), first you must relax your body, and then imagine your trigger. If you can teach your body to relax as you visualize this happenstance, you can therefore enter a field of lamenting women and it shall become your happy place. Or at least it won’t become your heart-wrenched place.
- Sit On Pins and Needles: This little trick is great while riding a horse. Pain will toughen anyone up!
- Pain Sticks: I don’t generally advocate mixing with science-fiction, especially of questionable science fact, but do get a Klingon guard to stab you with pain sticks. It really works wonders at toughening people up. It even prepares Klingon warriors for the great test of getting married.
- Wear Tight Boots: Now, see, every woman knows that an uncomfortable pair of darling looking shoes can be enough to ruin an evening of revelry and dance, though they continue to do so in the hopes of meeting their prince charming, even though when he shows up he takes off with your younger brother instead, but, wait, what was I saying? Oh yes. Wear tight boots. That will toughen you up.
- Over-Stimulation: This is a bit of a last resort plan as it requires some dedication and time. Find a quiet place, perhaps a meadow, or a courtyard, where you can have some alone time. Bring in a woman and her various different loved ones. Behead the loved ones. Listen to the laments. Rinse in blood. Repeat. You’ll be surprised how quickly the cries become tedious instead of touching.
Fret not, this won’t be that hard. Soon, you’ll enjoy the lamentations of women as much as your compatriots. Or, failing that, just bring a herd of angry bleating goats into all of your conquered lands, and they’ll effectively cover any sounds of lamentation, while giving you a strange but memorable conqueror signature.
Need more advice? See all of Prudentia’s columns:
Why Should I Include a She-Babe?
How Do I Find Motivation as a Female?
How Do I Learn to Quest?
Please Help Me with Questing Etiquette
Red Sonja is Cooler Than You
Marie Bilodeau is an award-winning author, a world traveling storyteller, a podcaster over at Planet X Podcast, a caffeine enthusiast AND… um, wait, no, that’s it. Find out more at www.mariebilodeau.com.
I murdered Prince Charming so that my one true love will notice me and so I will have no competition. After her grief and after I gave her warm condolences she seemed to be within my grasp. Then she took up with a supernatural lover, I don’t think it was Prince Charming but it makes me rage that I must once again force her to see that she truly loves me and not merely as a “friend”. Should I hire an exorcist to off the new boyfriend or bind her soul so that she sees me in a new and loving light?
Evil Second Best Choice
Ah, the Lamentation of the Women! I’ve seen many a young warrior look a bit shame-faced as we ride into some village to find ourselves surrounded by a lot of weeping, recently-widowed women – recently-widowed thanks to our sterling efforts, admittedly.
‘Look,’ I always tell such fellows. ‘This is a GOOD sign.’
Why? You ride into some village after killing all its male inhabitants and find an ominous silence reigning over everything, chances are an army of wild-eyed harridans are going to pour out of every doorway in the next second or so, all clutching an assortment of kitchen knives and farm implements. You might be lucky to escape with your life, (if minus your left thumb, thanks to some surprisingly agile old hag with a wood-axe).
Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
Women can be such fickle creatures, wouldn’t you say? Now, I admire your dedication to your chosen female. Killing a Prince Charming can be quite the hassle! I’m a bit of a romantic at heart, so I say definitely hire an exorcist! Blast away that supernatural thief. But, after that, the practical side of me must insist that you get ride of the straying woman. Finish her off (you can behead quickly as she sleeps or use fast acting poison, no need to forget years of pawning after her by being unkind with torture), and then get the exorcist to berid of her spirit, too, so she doesn’t haunt you. Sometimes, warriors are so busy hacking their enemies to pieces that they forget that they deserve someone who’s unflinchingly dedicated to them. So let me remind you, Choice: You deserve it. (Remember: we’re near haunting season, and so most exorcists will offer two-for-one specials! Bonus!)
Yours in Spirit,
Once again, you bring that sound voice of experience and wisdom. We need more conquerors like you to share their experiences and help out the young pups out there. Conquering, after all, is not an easy job!
As a woman myself, I must confess that, at times, I have been bitten by the need to slay those who have murdered my loved ones. It’s crude and unbecoming, I know – better leave such work for the men. If I can give you one word of advice when dealing with murdering wenches – one kind word will melt their hearts, and then you can capture them and sell them into slavery. Killing stock seems like such a waste. War is expensive business, after all, and slay not, waste not!
Yours in Admiration,
Excellent advice, my dear Prudentia!
Yours as ever,
And here I was about to suggest, on the basis of my first career as a lamenting woman, that taking up kitchen implements made an excellent first step toward eventual world conquest. All right, I haven’t quite managed the world yet, but I’ve acquired a fine collection of formerly independent city states. And to think it all began with wearing my grandmother’s clothes so I might not be sold into slavery, and hacking off an invader’s left thumb with my wood-axe. Hey, wait a minute…
Any advice about what to do about the lamenting women who get their bodices all in a bunch over chain mail bikinis? Like any good warrior I enjoy some lamenting women with my victory ale, but nothing gets the blood rushing like fighting alongside some dangerous and tantalizing women!