Dating Through The Ages: How Romance & Courting Have Changed


The modern dating world is spectacularly different from the dating world that our grandparents and great-grandparents would remember. In fact, the landscape of romance is so vastly different that most people from the early 20th Century would never recognize it!

The Origins of Dating
Once upon an ancient time, the word “date” referred to a delicious fruit. Marriages were often a game of “capture the wife”—literally, as men would go raiding neighboring tribes to find wives. Other cultures arranged marriages, both for financial and political gain.
Medieval chivalry gave us many of the “norms” that are popular today, from opening doors to flowery poetry to romantic serenades to buying women dinner. Arranged marriages were still the norm, but love became an important, if not requisite, factor in the relationship.
1800s – 1901: Formalizing Romantic Interest
By Victorian times, courtship and dating became a formal art popular among high society. Romance became the primary motivator behind relationships and marriage, but men and women couldn’t simply “hang out” like they do today. The entire process was rigorously structured: first, a man must be formally introduced to the woman, but he could not simply carry on a private conversation with her for quite some time. The man would present his card to the woman, who would look over all of the cards of potential suitors before choosing which man would escort her home.
The entire courtship ritual occurred in the woman’s home, under the hawk-like eyes of her parents, chaperones, and servants. Only when things got serious did they ever progress to the front porch, a sign that the relationship was well on its way to marriage.

Read the entire article in the Ded/Jan 2018-19 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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