A Tale as Old as Time

To quote the words of the great Kat Stratford from the hit movie 10 Things I Hate About You, “I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.” This is true today, back in 1999, and even in 1882. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this suggestion from an 1882 etiquette book. If a lady did not respond to a gentleman caller or at least did not respond in the timeframe he deemed appropriate, he was encouraged to send the following follow up message:

I’m not sure if Agnes ever responded to desperate Ed, the “nice guy” that he is, but I’d like to imagine it went a little something like this:

My dear self-proclaimed admirer,

It does come as a surprise to me that you have been plagued with such vexing anxiety, ruminating on why I have not acknowledged your pitiful attempt at chivalry. But alas, you are mistaken to think that I have wasted even a modicum of my precious time pondering a response to your countless letters. One might think you had invested in a paper mill given the number of letters I have received in the post in just four days’ time. To quell any qualms, suspicions, or apprehensions of my wellbeing, let me assure you that I am hale and hearty. In fact, there has never been a moment in my life when I have felt more elated, content, and jolly. It is as if a weight to which I had become accustomed was suddenly lifted. And if by some misfortune, I do fall ill, let it be from imbibing the choicest of wines and feasting upon the bounties of our earth with my lady companions.

If you persist in sending me such missives, I shall have no choice but to accidentally drop my candle near your dwelling. As the flames engulf your abode, I shall stand afar and rue my idle nature, wishing I could do something, anything to help. But alas, I shall not even spit upon the fire in hopes of quenching it. May your desires and your foolish presumptions turn to ashes and dust.

Never thine,


I know, I know.  This is why I’m still single.



3 thoughts on “A Tale as Old as Time

  1. Doesn’t look like much has changed since 1882. Except now we have “Am I The Asshole?” threads on Twitter and Reddit to gossip and bitch about when someone like this sticks his foot in his mouth!

    And, yes – Ed is!

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