Who’s up for a round of The Dating Game? Today we have a list of eligible ladies and gents, who may or may not bear a slight resemblance to Jane Austen’s characters. Take a moment to read the descriptions, then answer at least one (but hopefully all) of the three questions to be entered in the drawing.
The drawing, by the way, is for three prizes. Each winner will receive a signed paperback copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, as well as one of Janet Taylor’s beautiful 2018 Besotted calendars. The giveaway is international, so good luck, everyone!
We’ll start with our three questions:
- Who would you match up, with an eye toward domestic felicity?
- Who would you put together just to watch the fireworks?
- Who would be like oil and water?
Let’s meet the gents:
Bachelor Number One: A genial fellow, always ready for a dance or a round of cards. Raised among elite gentility, but his collar is a little blue around the edges. Nevertheless, he is a perennial favourite among the ladies, and has even served in uniform (alas, without distinction). His idea of a perfect date is drinks and dancing with his preferred lady and all her friends (to make sure no one feels neglected). When the party is over, fear not, for he will have everyone over for a little informal entertainment. Shirts and shoes not required.
Bachelor Number Two: The younger son of a wealthy family; old money meets a little illicit trading, but don’t let that put you off! This guy is straight as an arrow (maybe a little too straight). He may be a little shy and prude, but he is quick to stand up for his family and any ladies within his circle of influence, unless they be immoral. Sadly, not only will he not inherit, but his elder brother has a tendency to go into debt. Don’t worry, our bachelor is not one to hold a grudge. His perfect date is a gentle ride on horseback with quiet conversation, and he is not opposed to racing off in the night to pick you up if you need a ride. He does not enjoy going to the theater.
Bachelor Number Three: This young gent was raised by his aunt rather than his father, which is a terrific boon because she is loaded. Ladies, take notice! He is also handsome and deliciously charming, with a teasing sense of humour that is sure to enliven even the dullest crowd. Forced to spend the day with your boring neighbors? Bring this fellow along and your day’s entertainment is assured. His aunt is a bit touchy about whom he brings home, however, so if he fancies you, he might pretend to hate you, just to mix things up. His idea of a romantic evening is standing across the room with your rival and snickering at you.
Bachelor Number Four: Don’t let those gray hairs turn you off! This guy has the goods. Not only is he wealthy, but he is a retired soldier, forced to join the army when he had his heart broken by a woman. If that’s not enough to melt your butter, he secretly supports someone else’s illegitimate daughter, just because he’s such a nice guy. He might scowl at your date if he thinks you could do better, and he will probably wear extra thick socks because he’s no spring chicken anymore, but if you get stranded in the rain and give yourself a fever, he will pop some Advil and drag your dramatic self back to safety. His ideal date is staring open-mouthed at a woman while she plays the piano or reads poetry.
Bachelor Number Five: This dude is quite a catch. One of his favourite hobbies is making ladies fall in love with him, a thing he does with regularity. No one seems to know much of his family, other than he is your neighbour’s brother (or something like that– who cares, really?) and has a sister who is equally charming. He must be wealthy, because he is always dressed to the nines and seems to know quite a bit about high culture. He is a witty conversationalist and very persuasive when he finds a woman he admires. Marriage has only begun to occur to him lately, but it didn’t work out. His perfect date is crying in his drink, then finding a married lady to comfort him, because no one else seems to care, and her life stinks anyway.
And now for the ladies!
Bachelorette Number One: Gentlemen, this girl has some coin! Not that that matters, nor does her attractive figure, because it’s her mind a man loves, right? She might be a little opinionated for the taste of some gentlemen, but she always knows the right answer. She has been a hotly pursued catch in her little neighbourhood, but she prefers hanging out with her dad and filling his hot water bottle while she helps her friends write (and decode) love notes. Her idea of a romantic date is not a carriage ride home alone with an inebriated would-be suitor.
Bachelorette Number Two: Often called an “angel” for her beauty, this lady is the eldest of five sisters, and perhaps the only one with any sense (although she vehemently defends her next-younger sister). She is as gentle and good as she is lovely to look at, but watch out! She hasn’t got two pennies to rub together, and her father is a sarcastic old geezer. You’ll probably have to support her mother and sisters, unless you can hook one of them up with your rich friend. She doesn’t believe in anything so immodest as declaring what her favourite date would be, but she does recommend catching a fever as an excellent way to procure time with a gentleman she admires.
Bachelorette Number Three: This young lady has a green eye toward romance, and she is certain to make anyone’s life interesting. She has no trouble with commitment–just ask her first love, to whom she was engaged at an exceedingly young age and without her family’s knowledge. She was quite content to wait without even a date set, until the jerk went and lost his inheritance. If you make this enchanting young lady your wife, be assured that she has no difficulty keeping secrets, but her friends will know everything there is to know about you. Her dream date would be… nevermind, she jumps right from acquaintance to marriage, with little need for actual affection.
Bachelorette Number Four: Now this is a woman of taste and refinement! She has been preparing her entire life for just the right man, and she will know who he is as soon as she sees his pedigree and income. Sailors need not apply. She has no patience for the sort of attachment which might be seen as degrading. Short on income? No matter, she still knows how to make a smashing appearance (as long as you get her to the altar before she knows you’re broke). Her ideal date would be a day being admired at the pump rooms, and then an evening among the most fashionable company Bath has to offer. Make sure you give her a big engagement ring to impress her father.
Bachelorette Number Five: She may be naive, but she is not short on imagination! Don’t be fooled by her cute little face, because she has a whip for a tongue and she’s not too shy to pull it out on a total stranger. Some skeletons in the family closet? Don’t worry, because she will spin them into a fantasy that will make the reality look like a spin in Hyde Park by the time she learns the whole truth. She may be trusting to a fault, but she learns quickly and never gets into a runaway carriage twice. Her ideal date is a verbal sparring match while walking around the mall, followed by a haunted house tour. Better bone up on your lace, gentlemen.
Well, what do you think? Who would you match up? I can’t wait to read your comments!