How to bag a handsome man – some c18th advice

As the season of love and festivity is upon us, I thought I might offer a little c18th advice on how to bag the man of your dreams – even if you can’t impress him with your inexhaustible fortune.

Good News for Maidens: Or, now or never for handsome Husbands, and the surest methods they are to take for obtaining them.

Let your Behaviour be sober, bridle your Passions, appear in Company affable and courteous, give not yourselves to Affectation, or much talking: Laugh not unseemly, which distorts and wrinkles a good Face, and [looks] more like crying than laughing.

Carry an even Temper, go decent, and not too gaudy; cast your eyes not wantonly about, nor stair at Men when they look you in the Face, yet being asked any questions, answer with modesty, but not too foolishly or bashfully…

[If] he attempts to try your Chastity by lascivious Actions, mildly reprove him, and ground in himself, a good Opinion of your Virtues, which will the more indear him to you.”

So, in brief:

1. Try not to embarrass yourself (i.e. talking loudly or giggling uncontrollably).

2. Don’t wear anything too showy.


4. Don’t give in to his charms straight away… Play hard to get. Or at least try to.

Got that? Good luck!


– Advice from ‘The Entertaining Fortune Book’ (London, publication date unknown)

– Image detail from ‘A Fashionable Party’ by H. Heath (1824)

4 thoughts on “How to bag a handsome man – some c18th advice

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  1. A few years later Jane Austen will write the New How to Bag a Handsome Man: Guaranteed Results From Lady of Quality. (Pride&Prejudice). No affectations or giggling but don’t stand there like a sheep with no opinions. Study your prey. Find his weaknesses. Try to make him laugh at himself. Above all, convince yourself as far as you’re able that you care nothing for this handsome, rich man (tell yourself you HATE him), and that he cares nothing for you. You’ve got to play the game: you just got to play it smarter than the other girls.

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