I passed on some sound advice to young gentlemen, designed to help them in their dealings with young ladies, in a recent posting – gleaned from my trusty Perpetual Almanack of Folklore. This proved so popular that it went viral in parts of Llandrindod Wells. Thus, in the interests of equality, fairness and not getting criticised for sexism, I bring you this advice for young ladies on how to approach their female friends on sensitive subjects. It is by Hannah Woolley in The Gentlewoman’s Companion, 1675:
If you have a dear female friend, whom you suspect of any youthful excursions, especially levity, and would reduce her to a better understanding, mildly lay open her errors; and therein discover what an enemy she hath been to God and her own reputation. But that she may not think your reproofs have their original from malice or hatred to her person, declare what a great esteem you ever had for her excellent parts and rare endowments of mind; and what a pity it is, such excellencies should be eclipsed by such foul miscarriages.
So there you are girls, that ought to do it. Seek out your friends today and have a quiet word with them – but lead into it gently. Possibly start with knitting, handbags or something like that, and gradually build up to their foul miscarriages. I do think it’s better coming from a woman. I tried applying this advice and it all got a little heated.