Advice to Single Women


Published in the last years of Queen Victoria's reign, this fascinating book provides sensible, remarkably modern guidance for Britain's unmarried women and girls. In the age of the idealized "New Woman," it encourages activity and even employment ("the more remunerative the better") as an alternative focus, and acknowledges a new era of social change: "We may all some day think no more of the sex in bloomers giving high kicks at football than we do now of cycling skirts and golf-playing." Advice to Single Women explores the perilous fashion for tight-lacing corsets and the dangers of contemporary cosmetics, in contrast to the benefits of healthy exercise and the emerging trend for rational dress. It weighs the merits of matrimony and the single life, with conclusions to surprise and cheer its readers. And for those still seeking to marry, the book offers a suggestion of Bridget Jones-style guile: "Appear as though you do not, but mind you do it sweetly."