Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Posts Tagged ‘exes’

A Girl’s Best Friend

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

the whoops and the jangles

Here’s something for the fabulous (and plentiful) singles out there. Ladies, get ready to “contemplate” those Ex-Men! This is from a 1949 book titled How to Be Happy While Single, and goes out to my partners in crime one memorable Valentine’s weekend oh-so-long ago: Liz, Molly, and Sarah.

1949: A Girl’s Best Friend

A young single woman in an ‘island’ period in her life is prone to become morose over her lot and is self-pity’s easiest pushover. Her whole life, she decides, had been one of frustration, disappointment, and sacrifice, though just where sacrifice fits in she might not be able to say specifically. Over the whole pitiful picture hangs the brooding conviction that if she were ‘married and settled down’ in a ‘home of her own’ all her troubles would melt away as quickly as pounds in advertisements for reducing pills. . . .

Nothing cheers up a girl faster, when she has the whoops and the jangles, than contemplating the Ex-Men of Her Life. Think over your departed admirers. Would you really want to be fighting over the bills with the tightwad who walked you eleven blocks in the rain one night rather than take a taxi? How pleasant would life be with the Gloomy Gus whose disposition resembled that of a discontented chow dog? The D. T.’s finally caught up with the otherwise top-notch chap you were seriously considering marrying several years ago, hesitating only because you doubted his ability to control his drinking. Others flit across your mind: the irresponsible spirit who put on the women’s hats at a party and pulled chairs out from under people, the hypochondriac who carried his thermometer with him and took his temperature, publicly or privately, every hour, and others who were just plain dull, never thinking an interesting thought or expressing an original idea. If you’d married one of them at least you wouldn’t be ‘lonely’ as you now think you are ~ and what a heavenly state loneliness would seem. Most of these men eventually married other women, so you realize that no man is so hopeless that some woman won’t marry him. Now you are paying the price for being discriminating, but actually you are solitary, not lonely. Always remember that solitude is voluntary, loneliness is involuntary.

Probably these ruminations over the past have put you in a state of mind to do something constructive about the present. How do you go about filling the vacuum? There are many ways, and the wonderful part of the ‘cure’ is that it will enrich every phase of your life, whether lonely, solitary or full. If you ever become an ‘island’ again, as you probably will, married or single, you won’t have to start from scratch learning how to be your own best friend.

Source: Van Evera, Jean. How to be Happy While Single. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1949.
~ pp. 135-37 ~