Bachelor Bigotries: A 1903 Book On Mastering Misogyny


“I know the thing that’s most uncommon / (Envy be silent and attend) / I know a reasonable woman / Handsome and witty, yet a friend” – Alexander Pope


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In Bachelor Bigotries (1903), Laura Brace Bates, writing under the nom de plums ‘Old Maid,’ presents a collection of anti-marriage quotations – one for every day of the year.

Men are portrayed as careworn, regretful, miserable and bitter. Women are their problem.




The book contains many quotes from Charles Dickens, who in 1838 produced a list of pros and cons for getting married (via):


Children — (if it Please God) — Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, —object to be beloved & played with. — better than a dog anyhow.– Home, & someone to take care of house — Charms of music & female chit-chat. — These things good for one’s health. — but terrible loss of time. —

My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. — No, no won’t do. — Imagine living all one’s day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. — Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps — Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ St.

Not Marry

Freedom to go where one liked — choice of Society & little of it. — Conversation of clever men at clubs — Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. — to have the expense & anxiety of children — perhaps quarelling — Loss of time. — cannot read in the Evenings — fatness & idleness — Anxiety & responsibility — less money for books &c — if many children forced to gain one’s bread. — (But then it is very bad for ones health[19] to work too much)

Perhaps my wife wont like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool —

Dickens married. He and his wife had ten children.


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