Posted by Lynne on October 10, 1997 at 13:46:06:
In response to Coming out, written by Amala on October 10, 1997 at 13:17:19
] ] I wonder how much the custom of "coming out" correlated to a young girl's first menstrual period? I think it may have, due to the fact that girls of the Regency Era probably did not begin having their periods until about age 15-16.
] I've always thought it was a combination of factors that determined when a girl would come out. Part of it is, certainly, physical maturation, since being out is essentially being on the market. However, I believe the parents had some say in when their daughters were ready to market -- and, as Lady Catherine said, most younger daughters were on hold until their older sisters had been given a fair shot. I believe in later years it became more structured, that young ladies were presented at a certain age during their "season" or "year." Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited comes to mind as an example.
] BTW, I am also reading The Body Project right now, and find it very interesting.
They also interviewed the author of TBP on Fresh Air one day, and that, too was interesting.
Yes, I think other factors were at play in coming out----if one was a late bloomer well into her seventeenth year, but her parents knew she was prime marriage material....I don't believe they would have held her back simply because her body had yet to produce a menstrual flow: especially if a man of great fortune happened to move into the neighborhood (shades of P&P) and was casting an attentive eye upon their daughter. Perhaps at the very beginning of this custom, it was the case that a girl needed to be mestruating to be considered ready for marriage...but that probably occurred in the more primitive times of the human race....
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