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A dandy, also known as a beau or gallant, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of self.
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- To be a dandy and get the name of being one ought, I maintain, to be considered by persons so inclined just as disgraceful as to keep company with harlots or to seduce other men’s wives. For what difference should it make, at least to a man of sense, whether he is clothed in a costly robe or wears a cheap workman’s cloak, so long as what he has on gives adequate protection against the cold of winter and the heat of summer? And in all other matters likewise, one ought not to be furnished out more elaborately than need requires, nor to be more solicitous for the body than is good for the soul. For it is no less a reproach to a man, who is truly worthy of that appellation, to be a dandy and a pamperer of the body than to be ignoble in his attitude towards any other vice. For to take all manner of pains that his body may be as beautiful as possible is not the mark of a man who either knows himself or understands that wise precept: “That which is seen is not the man, but there is need of a certain higher wisdom which will enable each of us, whoever he is, to recognize himself.”
- Basil of Caesarea, On Greek Literature, p. 417