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Issue #233 - Arranged Marriages: Gone for Good?
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Flashing Ankles: Not Just for Harlots Anymore
Any proper young lady will have been well trained in a thousand ways to get a man's attention that are entirely chaste, from the subtle signals of a fan, to floral arrangements, body language, and obscure verbal cues. For debutantes in recent years, however, these methods have fallen flat more often than not, and we believe we have deduced the cause: gentleman simply aren't picking up on the hints.

Several recently married readers confided in one of our reporters that in order to convey their willingness to their future husbands, they had to resort to much more blunt (some would argue obscene) measures.

I wore his favorite color to every ball and asked his sister what perfume he would prefer, and he still seemed to think we were destined just to be amiable conversation partners. I was absolutely desperate. One night after a dinner party I made eye contact with him and lifted my skirt just a bit too high as I rose from my chair, so that he glimpsed my ankle. That certainly got the message across! He asked to court me the next week, one woman wrote in.

Another woman had been acquainted with a gentleman for nearly two years, and had all but given up hope that he would ever take the next step. It was actually an accident; my sleeve caught in a carriage door and it tore right down the seam. He saw my whole arm, she wrote. His mannerisms towards me changed at once. He was definitely more interested. I started doing it on purpose — flashing ankles, or bending over with a low-cut dress, you know — and it clearly had quite the effect on him. We were married by that Christmas.

But is there any danger to taking this sort of approach? It is certainly possible to attract
a fellow in this manner who has mischief on his mind, but provided the woman's modesty remains intact (aside, of course, from the ankles), there is no serious harm. It isn't as though many Don Juans are willing to go through a proper courtship and marriage in order to get under a lady's skirts, after all!

Don't end up stuck with a cad for a husband because of mixed messages!

Harmony Aidsworth, our advice columnist, says this tactic can certainly have its uses if the object of a lady's affections isn't one to take notice of things like fan signals, but cautions against over-use. "The main thing to keep in mind is that in order to be effective, it has to be very carefully targeted," she recommends. "A man wants to feel as though he is special, and getting a glimpse of something no one else has seen — no young lady is likely to get far by raising her skirts willy-nilly." She also warns that these signals may be misread by other men and encourage unwanted advances.

Ultimately, fans and flowers are by far the safer choice for flirtations — but until the Hogwarts etiquette classes find a way to better instill these subtle languages in young men, even the most upstanding women may find themselves resorting to flashing ankles in order to find husbands.


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Ten Facts About Samuel St.John-Black
Anyone who is anyone knows about the Crouch Elopement, but how many know about Mrs. Melody Crouch's former intended? Here are ten facts about Mr. St.John-Black. Was he really such a poor match for the young lady? Or has she made an even more grave mistake than we have been lead to believe?

1. He has a complicated family tree.
Born as an only child, he soon found himself with several siblings upon his mother remarrying. A step-brother from his step-father's previous marriage, along with two half-siblings to add to the family. While an American, he is related to the rather prominent Black family, though this relation is distant. Hence the hyphenated name.

Mr. Samuel St.John-Black.
2. His parents were ladder climbers.
A trait common in America, Samuel St.John and Emily Black were among those ambitious Americans that worked their way up the social ladder towards the status that Mr. St.John-Black so comfortably resides in. One could see it as admirable that a family would work hard to live the life of comfort of luxury, however it does show how little Americans value tradition and where one's place resides.

3. He was a thunderbird at Illvermorney.
Said to be the house of adventurous, it must sound an awful lot like Gryffindor to many of our readers. Not much is known about the American school for magical education, however it does leave one to wonder what else this mysterious house stands for.

4. His liaison history is rather short.
Before he was made the liaison to Great Britain, he was a liaison in France. As many know, the French are well famed for their more loose of morals than us British. What sort of influences has this American been exposed to before coming to our Ministry?

5. Mr. St.John-Black has had rotten luck in finding a match.
Aside from the obvious, several sources have reported that our American had yet to find a lady of any interest before making an arrangement with the Finch family. Is he simply that unlikable? Even in the likes of America? Or is he at fault for simply a lack of effort?
Mrs. Melody Crouch née Finch. The one that got away?
6. He is an Aquarius.
Those born under the sign are known for being afraid to confront emotions as well as having a bad temper. Does this sound like Mr. St.John-Black? Perhaps the new Mrs. Crouch had some sense that the rest of us couldn't see? Though she could have handled the situation far better!

7. His sister may arrive any day!
Who would like to deal with yet another American joining British society? It has been rumored that Miss Llewlyn-Black may be making her debut on British soil rather than in America. It does bring to question why none of the siblings seem to wish to find suitable matches in their own country. Does America know something that we don't about what skeletons lie in Mr. St.John-Black's closet?

8.Pureblood vs. Purist
The family of Mr. St.John-Black may be a one of pure blood, but it seems to be that Mr. St.John-Black is by no means a purist. Despite the link to the known purists of the House Black, Mr. St.John-Black took an interest in marriage to a halfblood - Mrs. Crouch. What does his mother think of this broken match? Is she - in some way - relieved that it got cut off?

9. His wand wood is Yew.
A rare type of wand wood, a yew wand is known for it's dark and fearsome tendencies during a duel. Which leads to the question of such a wizard of whom to wield such a wand. Does a Ministry man such as Mr. St.John-Black have a tendency towards the Dark Arts?

10. He has a very good relationship with his step-brother.
Every dream of a widow and widower whom marry with children of their own in tow. Rumor has it that Mr. St.John-Black has a very close relationship with Mr. Roscoe Llewelyn, having even attended school together. Both first born heirs of their father's there doesn't seem to be a reason for conflict among the two. Will we be seeing more of Mr. Roscoe in months to come?


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Arranged Marriages: Gone For Good?
Once a staple of society that was used to forge connections and keep the Gringotts account intact, arranged marriages have become far less common towards the end of the nineteenth century. They're not entirely unheard of, but tend to be restricted to the affluent of society—but even within that demographic they're becoming increasingly uncommon!

Arranged marriages have traditionally been used within pureblooded families to maintain their lineage. Former Minister of Magic Josephina Flint was very vocal about her beliefs, and was known to keep company of exclusively purebloods. The Lestrange family has been a notorious proponent of arranged marriages, having recently announced their betrothal of the patriarch's eldest son, Claudius Lestrange, to his cousin, Miss Ellory Pendergast.

However, arranged marriages—and moreover, their success—have declined over the past decade alone. It seems families are giving their children more control over their partners, or in the cases of more picky parents, giving their children the opportunity to make an acceptable choice. Even though arrangements are regularly announced, it's become increasingly common to see their failure. Such was the case with the betrothal of Mr. Samuel St.John-Black and Miss Melody Finch, who made headlines when she became Mrs. Reuben Crouch after a questionable elopement. Mr. Edward Macmillan, who is now married to his cousin, the former Miss Minnie Pendergast, also suffered from a failed betrothal.

Even among affluent pureblooded families, the necessity of betrothals is becoming more apparent. Mr. Beckett Longbottom has been seen with a handful of young debutantes in recent months, despite the fact that one of his elder sisters, Mrs. Rufina Mulciber, was married after a brief betrothal. Mrs. Mulciber and her husband seem to have forgone arranging marriages for either of her children as well, which gives credence to the idea that betrothals are becoming less common in society. Why might that be?

1. Children don't respect their parents anymore—and it's obvious to see! The influx of reputation-damaging elopements in all corners of society shows that children don't care about what comes of their parents and unmarried siblings.

2. Progressiveness has taken over. Recent years has seen radical changes to the political landscape of the country. Men of all socioeconomic backgrounds have been granted the permission to vote, and political leaders have begun bowing to the demands rather than standing up for their values. The half-breed ban at Hogwarts, which split the country in half, was ultimately overturned because of protests.

3. Romance novels are all the rage, and they're here to stay. The youths of today are more selfish, charmed by ideals of whirlwind romance and grand gestures over the allure of security and comfort. Love is no longer a goal to strive for, but rather a prerequisite to marriage in society's eyes.

Will arranged marriages be gone for good soon? We don't think so. There will always be the few in society who see marriage as a business arrangement rather than an affair of the heart, but we predict that the coming years will see arranged marriages become more of a novelty than a given.
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The latest edition of the wizarding world’s best wit, wisdom, weirdness and woe — all overheard by you! “Who Said That...?” Quotes From The Wizarding World

“My shoulders aren't that big!”

“Though I would rather be looking at you and... your exceptional trousers!”

“When I let myself sit alone too long my thoughts go to everything that could go wrong. I think the most persistent one is that I'll trip down the stairs right after they call my name when everyone is watching me. Who will want to marry the girl who fell face first down the stairs?”

“This won't be a show worth getting your shoes wet for.”

“My aunt tells me I always look like I got dressed in the dark.”

“My croquet ball ran off and right up your... well, I think you know where it is now better than I do.”

“The goats tend to be rather fond of me, I suppose.”

“Didn't your mother ever tell you to keep your hands to yourself?”

“But it is our chief mating ritual, as a species — getting into trouble and saving one another. The really fortunate debutantes can find themselves besot by disaster two or three times in a day, I've heard.”

“You ladies and your level heads, always making sense and good decisions.”

COULD IT HAVE BEEN... ARVEN FISK, BELLONA ZABINI, CECILY GALLIVAN, CALLA POTTS, BECKETT LONGBOTTOM, PABLO MEDINA, KONSTANTIN FISK, CHARITY LLOYD, FREYA SELWYN, EMRYS SELWYN, OCTAVIA FAWLEY, GERALD ABBOTT OR JANUARY LYNCH?*
*note: not all of these names have been quoted!
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