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.
"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."
"I am now only a dairymaid. If married I should be wife, mother, nurse, housekeeper, chambermaid, seamstress, laundress, dairymaid, and scrub generally."
"Because I have other professions open to me in which the hours are shorter, the work more agreeable, and the pay possibly better."
"For good men are scarce, but fools there are plenty, that's why I am single at seven-and-twenty."
"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."
"Because men, like three-cornered tarts, [...] are very pleasing to the eye, but on closer [inspection] prove hollow and stale."
"I'm a derelict cargo of treasure on the shore of the nuptial sea."
"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."
"Because (like a piece of rare china) I am breakable, and mendable, but difficult to match."
"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.'"
"Because I am an English lady, and the Americans monopolize the market."
"Because I am like the Rifle Volunteers: always ready, but not yet wanted."
"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."