Victorian dating book is surprisingly accurate today

Advice for Single Women by Haydn Brown
Advice for Single Women by Haydn Brown

A book that was written in the Victorian era by a relatively unknown author has been republished by the British Library Publishing Division. It’s now enjoying a flurry of interest because the advice given actually links well to singletons in modern day Britain.

Written and published by Haydn Brown in 1899, the book has been reviewed by The Telegraph and is currently for sale in their bookstore online for £8.00. The reviewer is astonished at the accuracy of the book that they say could help single people in today’s society. Reasons cited include Brown telling ladies not to rush into marriage and to play it cool until they’re at least 21. While they are dating, he advises that they should be themselves. “Men do not fall in love with a tiny waist, unless the owner happens to have several other points of beauty to carry it off. The human male likes proportion and artistic beauty, with ease and grace of movement, and all bound together not by a corset but by ineffable manner of charm.”  That means a man will love a woman for her personality as well as her looks. This has to be one of the earliest documented references to a man telling women that they’re not shallow.

This flies in the face of the general outlook of the age for ladies which was to get married and rely on a bread winning gentleman to look after them. Christian values were far deeper rooted in those days and women didn’t have the rights that they have today, so marriage was drilled into them by domineering fathers and ambitious mothers from day one.

“Single life isn’t that bad after all. Singleness permits of greater and more valuable concentration in work, and it avoids the innumerable little worries inseparable from parent-hood”. It appears from that statement that Brown is suggesting that there may not be any reason to wed at all if women wish to concentrate on their careers.

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