A hundred years ago, unmarried Victorian women still complained that all the best men were "taken", and they wondered about how to find their "Mr. Advice manuals were prevalent in the Victorian years, and women would turn to these books for the advice that they provided--however good or bad the advice was--and most of the messages that women received were contradictory.
The book states, "A female at twenty-five is far more likely to marry well than at an earlier period." Although, the book doesn't make clear what the exact meaning of "marrying well" is; whether that would be by achieving happiness in marriage, or achieving financial security in marriage--or possibly both.
Dates of the time were usually always supervised, and most typically, women were not allowed to be alone with a man until they were engaged.
The whole process was by no means easy, as certain skills and manners needed to be learned before anyone might even consider a man or a woman worthy of entering into a courtship.
Many Victorian novels depicted some aspects of the courting ritual, as the process would have been highly relatable and familiar to all.
In one particular manual written in 1874, it stated, "A young woman cannot be considered in any sense prepared for this union under 21; 25 is better." However, at the same time, statistically, women who didn't marry early in life, might not be able to marry at all.
A book published in the 1870's called "A True Friend", wrote that after analyzing marriages in Massachusetts, it was concluded that "an unmarried female at the age of 20 has lost one-fourth of her chances of ever becoming united in wedlock; at 25, three-fourths, and at 30, nine-tenths." But, even then, the book goes on to emphasize that even though a woman's chances of marrying decreases dramatically after the age of 20, and basically were non-existent after 30, that she should not go out and marry the first man who was willing.Even though the actual presentation only lasted a few moments for each girl, the planning would start months, if not years, prior.Once a young woman had come out socially as a debutante, she could then attend parties and social gatherings.No matter where they lived, the Victorian elite would send their daughters — in their mid teens and early twenties — to London for the sake of encountering a potential match.The most important element of The Season took place in the Coming Out, or the presentation of young women before the King and Queen by their mothers, aunts, or other female relative.Usually the date was some type of family gathering.