To a young woman wishing to join a male friend on a canoeing trip, 1895: 'It surprises us to find that a girl sufficiently educated to write and spell well should be so deplorably ignorant of the common rules of society to think that she may go out alone with a young man in his canoe.' To a man concerned about whether cycling is a sin, 1885: 'If it is the only means of reaching the church on Sunday it may be excusable. On the other hand, if walking or riding in the usual way is discarded for the sake of the exercise or exhilaration bicycle riding affords, it is clearly wrong.' Having trawled the archives of magazines and newspapers, many long-forgotten, author Tanith Carey has gathered together this fascinating collection of advice from agony aunts' columns through the years, creating this wonderfully nostalgic look back to a simpler, more innocent time when agony aunts played a crucial role in educating the masses about love, sex and relationships. The examples included cover every aspect of life, from courtship, the battle of the sexes, marriage and sex to manners, looks, teenage angst and parenthood. Full of shocking and often very funny replies that give a clear insight into how dramatically social attitudes have thankfully changed through the ages, and riddled with un-PC bluntness, The Agony Aunts' Book of Bad Advice is a vivid and fascinating journey into our social past.

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