Five Things a Man Don’t Like in a Wife, 1785

Five Things a Man don't like in a Wife - A Woman who will cuckold her Husband - She who carries false Tales from one to another - She who will be drunk before her Husband - She who runs her Husband in Debt without his Knowledge - She who pretends to love her Husband,... Continue Reading →

Husband-Hunting in c18th India

As is perhaps inevitable for someone so interested in social history, I am also a keen genealogist – and so I was very excited last month when I was given exclusive access to the brand new 'British in India' collection over at findmypast.co.uk. Naturally I busied myself primarily with the marriage records, and over a... Continue Reading →

Nelson’s last letter to Emma Hamilton, 1805

The notorious love affair between military hero Horatio Nelson and lady-of-dubious-morals-turned-society-beauty Lady Emma Hamilton is perhaps one of the most famous of the eighteenth century. As the story of a romance between a naval officer and a probable former prostitute, it was always going to be a favourite of mine. Quite by chance, however, I... Continue Reading →

La Moustache, 1815

As it turns out, waiting until someone falls asleep and then drawing a fake moustache on them is not a new phenomenon – still hilarious after 200 years. Nice to see some immature nineteenth-century behaviour immortalised in print... (not entirely relevant but couldn't resist sharing – a Movember double whammy) Image: Detail from 'La Moustache'... Continue Reading →

The Hasty Marriage, 1772

An ill-begotten child and an impudent wife. Poor old Dick. - From The Covent Garden Magazine, 1772 *** "The HASTY MARRIAGE. Scarce had five months expir'd, since Dick did wed, When lo! his fruitful wife was brought to bed; How now, cry'd Dick – this is too soon, my Kate; No, Dick, said she, you married... Continue Reading →

Can drinking tea turn you into a ‘harlot’?

In eighteenth-century England, there were many reasons why families might have been torn apart, or why dutiful wives and hardworking husbands could suffer a fall from grace. Heart-rending tales of orphaned children, abandoned lovers and destitution fill the pages of contemporary newspaper columns and court records. For some, one of the prime suspects behind the... Continue Reading →

Thirty Marks of a Fine Woman, 1722

Fair readers, I present a rather-bawdier-than-I-expected poem of the early eighteenth century, revealing the author's idea of the perfect woman. Thirty sure Marks point out each beauteous Fair; Such as Helen had, as Histories declare: Three White, Three Black, Three Red, the Maid must have; Three Long, Three Short, if she'll her Credit save: Three... Continue Reading →

How to be Happy Though Married

Just a note to announce the publication of a lovely little gift-book compiled by yours truly, 'How to be Happy Though Married: Matrimonial Strife Through The Ages'. It collects together some of the best (and worst) marriage quotations and advice – including coping with a bad match and some rather questionable sex tips – from... 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 →

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