The students I’m tutoring in Roman history, a boy and a girl, got to the part about the rape of the Sabine women. For those who, like me, were educated in American schools in the past 60 years, and thus don’t know the story, a summary:
The original settlers of what would become Rome were more-or-less castoffs from neighboring tribes; not necessarily outlaws, but not respected nobility either. So when they asked neighboring tribes for wives to ensure a second generation for their new city, they were rejected. Their solution was simple: invite everyone to a big festival, then grab the prettiest young women and keep them. So they did, grabbing a bunch of girls from the Sabine tribe. When the girls objected, Romulus, the king, basically told them they’d get used to it. He said they’d come to love their new husbands, who after all risked much to get them, and that they’d be bound to them by their children.
By the time the Sabines came to try to rescue their sisters and daughters, a year or more must have passed, because many of them had children already. A bunch of them ran out between the two parties, holding their babies, and begged the Sabine men not to fight, pointing out that they would be making widows and orphans of their own grandchildren. It worked: the Romans and Sabines made a truce there on the spot, and the Sabines ended up becoming part of Rome.
That’s not the funny story — though it is instructive, and a good example of why this stuff isn’t taught in schools anymore. But the funny story came as we discussed the part where Romulus told the women they’d get over being kidnapped. The girl student said, “I would have punched him in the nose!” I said, “Yeah, but would you get over it after a while?” She thought about it a second, then said, “That’d depend on the guy who grabbed me.”
Perfect. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you say; all that matters is whether she finds you attractive. If she does, you can kidnap her at a festival and she’ll get used to it. If she doesn’t, you can buy her a big house and bring her breakfast in bed every day, and she’ll decide you’re stifling her individuality and run off with a biker.