Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling, Drabbing.

All the things a father can worry about when his son goes to Paris:
Those college kids get up to so much mischief! – What with the keg parties and the profanity and the getting into fights and what not.
And the drabbing, of course, these kids and their drabbing.
Wait, what?!
First, of all, a drab is a whore – which I do not understand because whores tend NOT to be the most drab women in the room –
Painted, bright, gaudy, visible, yes. Drab – no.
Where did this meaning diverge?
Second: Is drabbing an acceptable behavior for a young man of this era?
Reynaldo has some question about this, but Polonius isn’t too worried. I guess he sees drabbing as a way for a young man to sow his wild oats?
Maybe, in a society that places such strict limits on a woman’s sexuality, drabbing might be the only way to get some action before a wedding.

I guess then my question is: What are the sexual mores of the Denmark that Shakespeare’s created?
Are they Renaissance England’s?

Maybe not – because a study of marriage at the time would indicate that ladies and gents got busy before marriage quite a lot. Shakespeare’s wife was quite pregnant when they married. Are Hamlet and Ophelia lovers or sweethearts?
Hamlet’s awfully keen on sending her to a nunnery. And Laertes is pretty interested in Ophelia’s chastity. Ophelia’s songs later in the play might indicate a loss of that chastity, if you wanted to read them that way.
I feel like the acceptability of drabbing in a culture would directly relate to the status and acceptability of women’s sexuality in the culture.
If this Denmark puts the hard thumb on sex before marriage – whoredom thrives.
If Denmark figures people will, of course, get into some hanky panky sometimes, whoredom would be a lot less acceptable.
In this current American culture, whoredom is fascinating to a lot of people and certainly is not in any danger of disappearing. But it is not thought of as the honorable thing to do, not part of a young man’s wild oats, not standard frat boy behavior, not generally talked about in open conversation and certainly not something a father might wish his son to be labeled with.
Fencing, though – that’s funny. Because fencing has become sort of refined sport. There would be no shame in getting caught fencing in public.
Just hilarity.

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