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Over the past few hundred years, etiquette books have cropped up as a means of preserving the sanctity of "good" society, striving to instruct both sexes on all aspects of how to live a proper life, from getting dressed for a party to making living arrangements. Unsurprisingly, the ones for women are often the most ridiculous. Here are 18 tips for how to be a true lady, gleaned from texts published between 1856 and 2007. You might be surprised how little they've changed. (The sourcing comes after a group of quotes from each book).

1. "Make your company a rarity, and people will value it. Men despise what they can easily have."

She's alone, because her company's a rarity to attract men.
She's alone, because her company's a rarity to attract men.