It's the question all single women dread and hate: "So, why haven't you got a boyfriend?".
Famed fictional singletons Bridget Jones's on-screen response to a dinner party full of coupled-up enquirers was a witty, "[because] underneath our clothes our entire bodies are covered in scales!".
And now we have to say a huge thank you to Victorian pop culture historian (yes there is such a thing), Dr Bob Nicholson, for sharing with us via Twitter a list of the responses that single Victorian women gave when a magazine asked them to provide an answer to the question of why they remained unmarried.
The responses are brilliant and hilarious, revealing just how witty the women of this generation – which wasn't typically noted for its candour or humour – really were when it came to matters of the heart.
"Because I do not care to enlarge my menagerie of pets, and I find the animal man less docile than a dog, less affectionate than a cat, and less amusing than a monkey," spelt out a Miss Sparrow of Paddington. Clear!
Meanwhile, declaring that she would never marry, one Emaline Lawrence from St John's Wood insisted: "Men, like three-cornered tarts, are deceitful. They are very pleasing to the eye, but on closer acquaintanceship, prove hollow and stale..." Ouch!
"Because I have other professions open to me," wrote one Florence Watts of Fulham, "in which the hours are shorter, the work more agreeable, and the pay possibly better."
The story for happily single Florence doesn't end there though. The census shows that one year after submitting her response to Tit-Bits magazine in 1889, she did indeed marry, perhaps indicating that she found an agreeable man after all!