First post for my personal history challenge.
This is an excerpt from the chapter “Courtship” in Anya Jabour’s book about women in the Antebellum South.
"Because a young woman’s popularity reflected favorably upon her family’s reputation, rejecting numerous suitors were expected and accepted.
As a teenager, Washington resident Violet Blair embarked on a quest to collect a dozen proposals before her 21st birthday, and she delighted in counting her “victims”. She wrote in her diary: ‘I love no man and yet I wish them all to love me, it flatters my vanity to have it so’ . Some women apparently led men simply to obtain a proposal. Kate Rose told her friend Ella Noland, with great relish, that she had recently rejected a Mr. N Smith. ‘Nell it would have amused you to have seen how astonished he was when I said No!…How completely I fooled him into pretending that I was desperately in love until came to pint [sic] when I summoned all the dignity I could command and laid with great emphasis the word No!’
By tolerating women’s flirtation and outright deception, adults unwittingly sanctioned girl’s strategies for postponing marriage.”
Scarlett’s Sisters: Young Women in the Old South, Anya Jabour
The pictures above are of the extremely coquettish Southern belle Ashton Main (Terri Garber) from “North and South”(1985).