1. The outfits. Dukes have bigger…coronets of rank. Also, the hats. Men in hats. Women in hats. People these days…not enough hats. Or gloves. There’s something about concealment beneath all those almost fetishistic garments…it makes you wonder what else they’re hiding. There aren’t enough calling cards in modern life, either. Or boots: tall, shiny men’s boots. Women’s boots with dozens of little hooks. Boots flecked with the mud of the road. Boots polished with champagne. Needless to say, in modern life there aren’t nearly enough swords, either.
2. “Vivian,” “Hilary,” and “Aubrey”–*fans self.* Sadly, if you used those names for men in a contemporary novel, poor Viv and Hil and Aub would have spent their entire childhoods being beaten to a pulp on the playground instead of learning to ride to hounds and swordfight and then growing up to swan around Mayfair in top hats, picking up bluestockings.
3. Riding outfits. True, you can still get those. But how often do you get men in long cloaks and hats and tall, shiny boots? And women in smartly tailored habits with little hats perched on their hair? And occasions whose main purpose is to ponce around to show off said outfits?
Need more reasons? check out Manly Men in Red High Heels by Keira Soleore.
Mmm…all three of your reasons parallel with a few of my own reasons for loving historical romance. I will say that I love giving my male characters names nowadays considered “feminine” because of those modern perceptions–just as sexy as an 18th century man in pumps and satin.
There’s something about the names having fallen out of use that makes them more…intriguing.