Cosmo Has Nothing on These War Horses

Flirting+Victorians

Dropped hankies just not garnering the attention they used to? I recently came across these informative and incredibly useful Victorian-era flirting techniques in published and written in 1892 by Lady Beatrice Violet Greville in The Gentlewoman in Society. These tried-and-true tips are sure to make you enchanting to any gentleman caller! (Thanks to the lovely lady scholars at Writing Women’s History.)

Here are some choice words of advice:

1. The Society flirt is a war horse: “Society flirtations are rarely guileless. The Society girl’s ears are open, her eyes are keen. She has noted the affairs of her elders; she longs for a flirtation of her own, as the war horse sniffs the scent of battle from afar; but she has no foolish visions of its eternity.”

4. Avoid the male flirt, they always marry a dull cousin: “the male flirt…makes the girls’ hearts beat with anticipation, raises hopes he never intends to gratify, and ‘carries on’ as the saying is, with different girls, season after season, until suddenly, to everyone’s astonishment, he throws the handkerchief to the unlikeliest of all – a girl he has met for a week in a country house – a simple village maiden who has never been to London, – the cousin he has flirted with and jilted in the long ago.”

10. Beware becoming a ‘professional flirt’: “there are some professional flirts, who have absolutely exhausted all sensation, who have reduced flirtation to a study, who know exactly when to look, and how to look, who convey in a glance a depth of affection they have never even realised, who play with a man as a cat with a mouse…living enigmas, female Machiavellians, for whom no man is a match.”

More tips can be be found on the Writing Women’s History circular.

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Sharing the Blame

“While there is no difference, physically, between the union of persons who are married to each other, and a similar union between those not enjoying this relationship, there is a social and moral difference. The marital union is wholesome, while illicit intercourse of the sexes is one of the grossest evils.

Illicit or promiscuous intercourse is equally wrong for both parties engaged in it. The man is just as wrong, who indulges for the purpose of satisfying his passions, as is the girl who yields to his inducements and shares the corruption with him. In fact, since he is considered the stronger of the two, he is more in the wrong.”

–Mothers and Daughters

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Don’t worry–you’re all sluts!

August Hussy of the Month

Fro

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This woman, lounging in hay and wearing an easy smile, may look like a benign (if not possibly feeble-minded) soul, but be assured, she is a grade-A hussy. I don’t care if she is wearing stockings and her dress is rather modestly buttoned to the top–just look at her tresses! There is nothing modest about that halo of hair.

According to my research, this harlot is almost certainly one of P.T. Barnum’s Circassian Beauties, women who were rumored to have escaped from Turkish harems. Harems, ladies and gentlemen! To achieve the wreckage shown above, these women washed their hair in beer and teased it out. Why isn’t the U.N. doing something about this??

Beware! Bleeders at Large

“The womb is congested during the period, is larger and heavier than normal . . . For delicate and sensitive girls it is always best to stay away from school during the first and second days. Speaking again of the average and not the exception, it is best that dancing, bicycle riding, horseback riding, rowing, and other athletic exercises be given up altogether during the menses. Automobile riding and railroad and carriage travelling prove injurious in some instances, greatly increasing the flow of blood. But these are the exceptions at the other extreme.”

–Woman: Her Sex and Love Life

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Menstruating women should also not go swimming (sharks) or hiking (bears). They should also be kept in a separate hut from the rest of the tribe, lest her powers prove too great.

Thank goodness the Pinkerton detectives at Snopes looked into this matter!

Stop Snoring and Start Screwing!

“Many wives who cannot respond well to their husbands’ advances at the end of a hectic day find that they do much better after an interval of relaxing sleep. Sexual encounter in the relaxed torpor of early morning brings keenly mutual satisfaction to some couples. Others send the wife off to bed an hour or two before the husband, then rouse her from sound sleep for sexual dalliance. Occasionally, a high strung husband does better after preliminary sleep, too, so that some couples agree to wake each other whenever any impulses rouses them in the middle of the night.”

–The Marriage Art

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“Honey, run along to bed–I’m going to want a piece of that in about an hour.”

I’m Sorry, Darling, but You’re Quite Fugly

“I repeat, sexual, physical attraction is the basis, the foundation of love . . . Love is blind, but Love also sees acutely and penetratingly; it sees things which we who are indifferent cannot see. [Love's] penetrating vision helps her to see good qualities which are invisible to others. And a homely person may possess certain compensating physical qualities–such as passionate ardor or strong sexual power–which render him or her irresistible to a member of the opposite sex.

But homeliness, ugliness or deformity have their limits, and I challenge anybody to bring forth an authenticated case in which a man fell in love with a woman–or vice versa–who had an enormous tumor on one side of the face, which made her look like a monstrosity, or whose nose was sunk in as a result of lupus or syphilis, or whose cheek was eaten away by cancer. Love under such circumstances is an absolute impossibility, because there is physical aversion here, and physical aversion is fatal to the genesis of love. A man who loved a woman may continue to love her after she has become disfigured by disease, but he cannot fall in love with such a woman.”

–Woman: Her Sex and Love Life

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Oh man. Don’t get him started on fatties.