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 →

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 →

In love with Lord Byron

On My Thirty-Third Birthday JANUARY 22 1821  Through life’s dull road, so dim and dirty, I have dragg’d to three-and-thirty. What have these years left to me? Nothing – except thirty-three. Lord Byron did not like birthdays. He intentionally avoided his own 21st and 24th parties, and considering how miserable he was at the prospect... 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 →

How to be a Beauty, 1787

Being a 'beauty' in the eighteenth century was certainly a boon, and thankfully there were plenty of men around to inform the ladies exactly what was required of them. One such list, covering the 30 'capital points' of beauty, can be found in The Dictionary of Love (1787). Some are familiar, suggesting the abiding popularity... Continue Reading →

How to carouse like a proper Regency gent

Courtesy of the Chester Courant, below is a foolproof guide to the Regency rake's perfect night out... Ladies, if you're looking for Mr Darcy, you're in the wrong place. Gentlemen, if you fancy recreating such a 'glorious frolic' yourself: 1) Impress your friends by drinking too much, loudly singing rude songs and telling obscene stories 2) Impress the ladies by... Continue Reading →

Why you shouldn’t marry a lady of learning, 1708

This charming epistle on the horror that is a woman choosing to better herself through education comes from  The Modern World Disrob'd (1708), by satirical writer Ned Ward. I'm particularly taken with the idea that the more languages a lady speaks, the more varied the opportunities for scolding her husband with them. Her poor unfortunate husband will... Continue Reading →

A peep inside a bachelor pad, 1752

I once had the pleasure of living in a house with 5 boys. It was an eye-opening, stomach-turning sort of experience.* The bachelor pad – rarely lauded as a palace of hygiene and grace – has horrified genteel ladies (such as myself, *cough*) for centuries. The following verse was written in 1752 "in Answer to 'The... Continue Reading →

Sex & The c17th City

The tendency of women to gossip about their sex lives with their friends has set men a-fretting for centuries. Far from being a phenomenon of the 'Sex & the City' era, women of the seventeenth century were just as likely to have intimate discussions about their man's skills and equipment, past experiences, how to keep... Continue Reading →

How to tell her you love her, c18th style

In the era of instant messaging and online chat, the modern suitor is only ever a 'winky face' and a click away from declaring his amorous intentions. All things considered, I'd say courtship has taken a distinctly unromantic turn. Two hundred years ago, love tokens offered a far more enduring and emotive means of expressing devotion... Continue Reading →

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