In Old Mistresses Apologue, Mr. Franklin begins by defending the institution of marriage, claiming that it is the most natural way for a man and woman to coexist in the world. He believes that in marriage the man is able to experience the “softness and sensibility” of a woman; while the woman is able to experience the “force of body and strength of reason” of a man. He claims that a man without a woman, or a woman without a man, is comparable to “the odd half of a pair of scissars.” Essentially, the man and woman are meant for each other.
After expressing how he feels about marriage, Franklin goes on to bash any sort of relationship that is avoiding marriage, such as an affair. He reinforces his belief in marriage yet again, before continuing to explain how an affair should work if one was to enter into an affair.
Franklin spells out eight reasons why anyone who may think of beginning an affair with a woman should seek an elderly woman, and not a young one. He comments on the ability of older women to carry better conversation, give better advice, and would appreciate the company of a man in any capacity. He then explains that for the younger women, while they may be more physically attractive they do not have the same experience and wisdom of the older woman. And with time, the beauty of the younger woman will cease to exist, while the older woman will still be the same as time passes.
Franklin also explains that when involving in an affair with an older woman, the “the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.” He believes that an affair with an older woman to be superior for the overall happiness of the woman and avoiding the heartbreak for a younger woman. Lastly, Franklin exclaims that the older woman is much more grateful than the younger woman, truly appreciating the man.