Podcast: C18th chat-up lines, with Dan Snow

Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate, a look back at my chat with Dan Snow about love, romance and sex in the 18th century, including some of my favourite historical chat-up lines & a bit of a swoon over Sharpe and/or Mr Darcy. Podcast link below: History Hit Valentine's Day Special: Emily Brand on Love &... Continue Reading →


How to have a historically accurate lovers’ tiff

Some fiery couples just bloody love a good argument. In case you fall into this bracket, and want to get a bit creative while also appearing irresistibly historically accurate, look no further than this slang dictionary of the 1830s. Of course, it's always best to suit the intensity of the insult to your partner's thickness... Continue Reading →

Dating disasters of the Regency era

Confession: First Dates is my televisual jam. (For the uninitiated, in brief: strangers are set up on dates at a London restaurant by a suave Frenchman called Fred {above}, said date is filmed, & they are then subjected to having their dating style reviewed. It’s hugely high-brow.) From teenagers looking for their first love to... Continue Reading →


Miss Wish-Husband & The Old Maid’s Advice, 1748

Today it occurred to me that if I were living in the eighteenth century I would be quite firmly set in the realm of confirmed spinster. Setting any associated nervous breakdown aside for the moment, I feel compelled to console myself by sharing this (awful) advice of an Old Maid from the 1740s. The social position of... Continue Reading →


Don’t shake your noddle! How to keep her interested, 1680

So, you have finally found yourself a girlfriend. Congratulations! After the faintly traumatic experience of courtship - the dodgy chat up lines, the dangers of womanly wiles, the endless sighing - you might be forgiven for thinking that you are allowed a little bit of a rest. Oh, dear reader - It Is Not So.... Continue Reading →


Talk: The Rules of Seduction – Bath, 8 October

Hello all, just a quick note to let you know that I'll be in Bath this Wednesday (8 October) to give a talk on the c18th 'Rules of Seduction', hosted by the very lovely people at No 1 Royal Crescent. If you would like to hear some surprising, salacious and quite frankly very silly contemporary... Continue Reading →


‘Hey Girl, your face looks like a giant plate’: Seduction tips from 1799

I just wanted to share my latest blog for the Washington Post, revealing the secrets of seduction to be found in a late-c18th American publication (plus a really brilliant pic of 1808). Enjoy! [you can find the original article here] *** It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gaggle of girls on a night out... Continue Reading →


The Mighty Power of a Sigh, 1676

Let us take a moment to consider an important but lost art of love – the sigh. Nowadays, very few languishing lovers will attempt to seduce a lady by looking her square in the eyes and forcefully expelling the air from his lungs. In the late seventeenth century, however, this was considered a crucial tool in... Continue Reading →


Beware the wife who wears the breeches, 1682

Selecting a wife is a tricky business. The main concern of a merry young bachelor was often that, if he chose badly, he could end up chained to a woman intent on wearing the breeches. And let's face it, there could be little more embarrassing for our seventeenth-century gent than being ruled over by a woman (especially... Continue Reading →


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