Don Melón badgers Lady Plum after love rejection

don Melon woos Lady Plum

In the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor, Don Melón pleads his love to Lady Plum.  She is a neighbor that he has been secretly admiring for years.  Nourished by a woman’s advice, Don Melón screwed his courage to make an attempt at the sticking place.  He saw her in the square:

God!  How lovely Lady Plum is when walking through the square!
What figure and what grace! That slender swanlike throat I prize!
Oh what complexion, what mouth, what carriage and what hair!
She pierces with love’s arrows every time she lifts her eyes. [1]

Don Melón bravely accosted Lady Plum.  He poured out his love to her: “There’s nothing that I love in all the world to equal you … I love you more than God.”[2]  He ended his declaration of love with a request:

My lady, I don’t dare say more to plead my suit with you
Until you give some inkling of the way your passion leans.
Tell me your inclination, let us bare our hearts and minds. [3]

Lady Plum responded curtly, “Your words aren’t worth a hill of beans.”  To Don Melón’s personal address, Lady Plum returned negative stereotypes of men:

Thus many men deceive us Lady Plums, put us to scorn.
Man is deceitful and seduces neighbors, undeterred.
Don’t think I’m loose because I listen to your trifling word.
Go seek some other to deceive with your mendacious thorn. [4]

That response reflects the misandristic culture prevalent throughout history.  A medieval woman fed up with her husband stereotyping women had him shackled and starved for three days.  Don Melón could not have called forth such punishment on Lady Plum.  He wouldn’t have wanted to.  Don Melón pursued more fruitful interests.  He responded to Lady Plum’s misandristic, divisive words with strength and wit:

I know you’re angry, but your silliness can’t shame.
All men have dicks, but not all dicks are the same.
All men are not alike, nor they privilege hunt.
Fissures may be white or dark, but they’re all cunts. [5]

While Don Melón seductively challenged Lady Plume’s response, he had no interest in challenging men’s social and sexual subordination.  He merely sought to differentiate himself from other men to further his seduction of Lady Plum.  He continued speaking to Lady Plum:

Sometimes the innocent are punished for the guilty ones.
For mistakes of other men the pure must suffer all the time.
The guilt of an evil man now injures most the good and best.
The penalty should fall on those who really did the crime.

The wrong another man has done should not reflect on me.
Be kind and let me talk to you under that portico —
We don’t want any people going down the street to see.
Here I can say but little, there I’ll tell you all I know. [6]

Don Melón echoes misandristic culture with “mistakes of other men,” “evil man,” penalty, crime, and “the wrong another man has done.”  Misandristic culture constructs men as criminals for nothing more than loving acts.  Men, pursuing their sexual interests, contribute to creating and sustaining misandristic culture.

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[1] Juan Ruiz, Libro de buen amor (Book of true love), s. 653, from Old Spanish trans. Daly (1978) p. 175.  All subsequent quotations are from Daly’s translation, unless otherwise noted.  The name Lady Plum corresponds to the name Doña Endrina in the Old Spanish text.  Other translations of Doña Endrina are Lady Sloe and Lady Sloeberry.

[2] The distinction between true love and false love is the central theme of Libro de buen amor.  In that book, loving a person more than one loves god indicates false love.

[3] Id. s. 664.

[4] Id. s. 665.  The word “thorn” figures the man’s penis, and “mendacious thorn” is a synecdoche for the man’s person.  Most men, even those who have experience the great joy of woman’s true, intimate love, have experienced much rejection from women.  That’s a fundamental social reality of men’s lives.  It’s a widely under-appreciated social inequality.  That inequality is represented every time a man buys a woman dinner on a date, as if that’s his duty.  That inequality is starkly apparent in statistics from an online dating site.  In response to Lady Plum’s expressed anger and anguish after Don Melón forcefully had sex with her despite her strong protests, the go-between Trotaconventos declared to Lady Plum, “all men act as Don Melón Ortiz — they’re merely male.”  Id. s. 881d.  That statement generalizes a specific man’s acts to all men.  That’s particularly hateful within false accusations of rape culture.

[5] My translation of s. 666.  The Old Spanish text:

Yo le dixe: “Ya, sañuda, anden fermosos trebejos;
son los dedos en las manos pero non son todos parejos,
todos los omnes non somos de unos fechos nin consejos,
la peña tiene blanco e prieto pero todos son conejos.

From Anthony Zahareaus’ Old Spanish text for Libro de buen amor, in Daly (1978) p. 178.  For translation of that stanza, Daly has:

I said, “I know you’re angry, but please leave such jokes aside!
Five fingers hang on every hand, but all are not alike.
All men are not one shape, nor does one nature there preside.
Your furs may be of white or black, but all are rabbit hide.

That translates literally allusions to penises and vaginas. Vasvári (2011), p. 15, paraphrases that stanza into “colloquial English today” as “Come on now, not all men are dicks, but a pussy is always a pussy, whatever the color of its fur.”  That paraphrase is more gynocentric and much less witty than the source text. More generally, Vasvári (2011) uncannily represents the hackneyed, aggrieved authority of gender theory.

[6] Libro de buen amor, s. 667-8.

[image] courtship; Zurich, 1305-1340, Cod. Pal. germ. 848, fol. 032v, Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse), Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg.


Daly, Saralyn R., trans. and Anthony N. Zahareas, ed. 1978. Juan Ruiz. The book of true love. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Vasvári, Louise O. 2011.  “Comparative Cultural Studies and Paremiology: A Case Study of the Libro de Buen Amor.” In Marie-Sol Ortolá and Marie-Christine Bornes Varol, eds. 2011. ALIENTO. Corpus anciens et bases de données. Nancy: Presses universitaires de Nancy.

2 thoughts on “Don Melón badgers Lady Plum after love rejection”

  1. dude what the actual fuck. this story is literally one of the most misogynistic and makes the excuse that men can’t “control themselves” around beautiful women. It ends with Melon raping Endrina and blaming her for it. In no way does it purport any misandristic mentalities because they LITERALLY DIDN’T EXIST.

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