Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Devil's Favourites

The Devil throughout the ages has acquired many disguises and habits, including lists of his favourite things which he scrupulously records in his unreadable scrawl and constantly updates, littering surfaces with these papers for he's never been a tidy person, despite his groomed appearance, no matter what disguise he dons, which suggests the contrary. His fingernails hygienically short; his chisel jaw clean-shaven or stray hairs trimmed and combed if concealed by whiskers; his bald head polished or shiny locks allowed to flow, be ruffled by the wind or tied back; and his body washed and scented, a dab of cologne behind the ears, on the gentle beat of the throat and on the delicate inside of the wrists where it throbs. There was an age when this would have made the Devil an effeminate man, but with the passing (and possibly the repeat) of time it simply means he's once again in touch with his femininity. Emasculated, yet having pride in the cut of his cloth; his hips swaggering as he owns a new masculinity. 
And the cut of his outer cloth, the pieces weaved, stitched with thread and worn, were in a word masterful; exact to every inch of his being, whichever being that so happened to be. There was no puckering, no gaping, no raw, unfinished hems or trailing strands from the dark velvet, floor-sweeping hooded cloak he once habitually threw over his head and shoulders, to the selection of tailored business suits and bowler hats. These days, he was a little more street-wise, smart-casual or assumed a fashionable genre: the country rock star with designer denim jeans and cowboy boots, the daredevil motorcyclist with red gloves and white, rather than black, leathers. Sometimes he wanted to meld, sometimes he wanted to scream.
Yet it would irresponsible of me to imply that he always imitated the figure of man; he did not. He kept separate closets for his other less-used identities, in which hung garments to fit the myriad of womanly shapes and the heads of beasts. Pretending to be either was more draining and more time-consuming than that of man, especially considering the many lumps, bumps, curves or angular configurations that could be contained in the tenderer sex.
In the image of man he felt far more comfortable, more at home in his body. And women were, despite their progressive wiles and the older ones Shakespeare had recorded, far easier to deceive. They were still Eves, willing to be tempted by a whispering snake and a tree heavy with ripe fruit; whereas Adams were, as a rule, more carnal, needing to be persuaded by the right temptress in a tight-fitting or revealing dress who could meet their fickle desires. And as for beasts, they were for extreme measures; as a last resort when no other human mask proved seductive enough, but generally the Devil preferred to avoid those with animal fantasies.
There was, however, a disguise the Devil prized the most, saving it for special occasions or when the long game had to be played to win a certain lady, particularly those that read or had over-active imaginations. For them, it wasn't so much the camouflage but the thought and the daring; whereas the Devil enjoyed the stealthier element and the air of mystery it gave him. It was no lie to say it was not of his own creation; he'd borrowed the inspiration from an 1960s advert. The costume itself was simplistic: an all-in-one black bodysuit with a black ski mask, black leather gloves and squeak-free plimsolls. He moved like a cat, he looked like a robber, but the women he was out to woo never spied him at this crucial stage; his mission was to avoid direct bodily contact yet leave a very noticeable trace of his presence. And like the fictional image he impersonated, the gift he left was usually a box of Milk Tray topped with a crisp calling card with a stamped motif of himself with horns, to which he added further mystique by stealing the orange creams and pralines from each layer.
The Devil was not, as you might now imagine, a chocolate fiend; he does have other vices which better fit his depicted character and which I cannot describe here at length, but amongst these are some tastes, which once discovered, he cannot bring himself to sacrifice to corrupt another.

Picture Credit: Daily Mail, 2012