Dating in 19th century america

During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions.

Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse. In 1228, it is said by many that women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.

Absolutely no physical contact was allowed until the couple became engaged, and gifts were limited to impersonal gestures like flowers, chocolate or a book.

Emotional intimacy was expressed primarily through love letters.

Marrying for love was pure fantasy and relegated to works of popular fiction.

Set in Yonkers, New York, just before the turn of the 20 addresses a pivotal time in courtship’s history: “dating” as we currently know it didn’t yet exist, and America’s constantly shifting class mobility made traditional courtship difficult.

Dance halls and theaters encouraged group socializing between men and women, and dating became a way to build popularity and social standing.

Certain behavioral norms – for example, men should pay for dates, dating many different people before marriage – became popular.

Looking back at the evolution of courting customs in America over the last two centuries sheds light on the factors that would have influenced Vandergelder’s search.Once they had been formally introduced, if the gentleman wished to escort the lady home he would present his card to her.At the end of the evening, the lady would look over her options and choose who would be her escort.Luckily for the audience, there’s plenty of mischief, humor and misdirection as Dolly works to make her plan a reality. What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors?

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