Weird History
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A Victorian Magazine Asked Spinsters Why They Were Single, And The Answers Were Incredibly Savage

Updated September 18, 2020 142.4k votes 25.2k voters 851.5k views13 items

List RulesVote up the replies you'll use the next time someone asks why you're single.

A Victorian-era competition likely would have been forgotten to history if not for the work of Dr. Bob Nicholson, who shared his find on Twitter. In 1889, Tit-Bits magazine offered a prize to the spinster who could provide the best answer to the question: Why are you still single? The results proved far too hilariously on point for the magazine to choose just a single winner. Instead, they published their favorites and gave each winner five shillings – the equivalent of about $26 today.

The Victorians are most commonly known for their morbid death and mourning customs,  but the quotes found here prove they were no stranger to comedy. Though Tit-bits never picked a winner, you can, by voting on your favorite responses below. 

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  • 1
    20,694
    635

    Because You Don't Need Another Pet In The House

    "Because I do not care to enlarge my menagerie of pets, and I find the animal man less docile than a dog, less affectionate than a cat, and less amusing than a monkey."

  • 2
    16,669
    501

    Because Being A Wife Is Too Much Work

    "I am now only a dairymaid. If married I should be wife, mother, nurse, housekeeper, chambermaid, seamstress, laundress, dairymaid, and scrub generally."

  • 3
    15,336
    463

    Because Being Single Pays Better

    "Because I have other professions open to me in which the hours are shorter, the work more agreeable, and the pay possibly better."

  • 4
    14,365
    446

    Because It's Hard To Find A Good Man In A Sea Of Fools

    "For good men are scarce, but fools there are plenty, that's why I am single at seven-and-twenty."

  • 5
    10,511
    703

    Because Men Are Like Bad Desserts

    "Because men, like three-cornered tarts, [...] are very pleasing to the eye, but on closer [inspection] prove hollow and stale."

  • 6
    10,994
    748

    Because Marriage Is The Death Of Freedom

    "Like the wild mustang of the prairie that roams unfettered, tossing his head in utter disdain at the approach of the lasso which, if once round his neck, proclaims him captive, so I find it more delightful to tread on the verge of freedom and captivity, than to allow the snarer to cast around me the matrimonial lasso."

  • 7
    9,993
    673

    Because Men Don't Realize How Much You're Worth

    "I'm a derelict cargo of treasure on the shore of the nuptial sea."

  • 8
    7,678
    633

    Because Forever Is A Really Long Time

    "Because matrimony is like an electric battery [...] once you join hands you can't let go, however much it hurts; and, as when embarked on a toboggan slide, you must go to the bitter end, however much it bumps." 

  • 9
    7,534
    699

    Because You're A Piece Of Rare China

    "Because (like a piece of rare china) I am breakable, and mendable, but difficult to match."

  • 10
    6,462
    862

    Because You Haven't Found One That's Attractive Enough

    "My reason for being a spinster is answered in a quotation from the Taming of the Shrew: 'Of all the men alive I never yet beheld that special face which I could fancy more than any other.'"

  • 11
    4,140
    1,421

    Because All The Good Ones Are Taken

    "Because I am an English lady, and the Americans monopolize the market."

  • 12
    3,867
    1,545

    Because You Haven't Been Called To Action Yet

    "Because I am like the Rifle Volunteers: always ready, but not yet wanted." 

  • 13
    3,182
    1,616

    Because You Didn't Follow Your Man Abroad 

    "John, whom I loved, was [replaced] in his office by a girl, who is doing the same amount of work he did for half the salary he received. He could not earn [enough money] to keep a home, so [he] went abroad; consequently, I am still a spinster."