i love it when you call me ben franklin.

Few would argue against the claim that Benjamin Franklin played a vital role in the United States’ independence. His sage advice at home and stellar ambassadorship in France earned him enough clout to compel him to nominate George Washington to be the first Commander-in-Chief, as not doing so seemed likely to end in a bitter disagreement over whether he should receive the honor. However, a hotly disputed topic on historical Page Six was just how he earned the admiration and financial support of the French throne.

Reports of Franklin’s time in Paris, residing in the suburb Passy, tell of a man skilled in amitie amoureuse; I’ve read that the English “amorous friendship” does not begin to describe the degree of intimacy implied in the French. While it is largely agreed upon that Franklin did not act on any indecent proposals during his stay in the City of Lights, it seems reasonable to say that his relations would make many contemporary politicians not named Clinton plead the fifth. His own letters and essays detail at least a few of his exploits, especially with Mesdames Brillon and Helvetius, causing some historians to go so far as to insinuate that Franklin seduced the French crown by means of the French tiara. Regardless of the degree of his involvement and its role in American independence, it seems clear that our virtuous man of temperance had a way with French women, as nearly every parlor was mounted with his portrait and his company was of the finest luxuries.

When tales of Franklin’s special sort of Francophilia hit stateside, few were surprised. Franklin had already garnered a similar reputation at home by trading letters and evenings with various women, many of whom were less than half his age. It may seem remarkable that a man so rotund could gain such admiration from the fairer sex, but perhaps sexual attraction sees no weight limit where greatness is concerned. Case in point: Notorious B.I.G. made scales shiver and ladies quiver. If the First Constitutional Convention played theme songs as delegates entered the Pennsylvania State House, Franklin’s home crowd might not have been surprised had he chosen Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa.” He’s the man, girlfriend.


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