The Victorians have a reputation for being prim, proper and persnickety. As a member of the upper class in Victorian England during the reign of Queen Victoria , , one had to know the exhaustive rules of etiquette that went along with one’s position. Today, many of these rules seem arbitrary and silly: Does it really matter the order in which dinner party guests enter the dining room? At the time it did, because such social niceties constituted basic manners and politeness. Of course, some etiquette rules were arbitrary, but they were nonetheless functional. Every society has such rules — like whether to drive on the right or left side of the street — to establish expectations and keep things running smoothly. In the Victorian Era, etiquette lubricated the mechanism of social exchange: There were rules for making new friends, keeping up with old friends and even cutting out morally dubious friends.
Dating in the Victorian Age
Where would we be without romance? What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Beginning with the ancient Greeks’ recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word eros to describe carnal love, and agape to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love.
In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice — when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey.
Learn about the ideal period is the ideal male life and dating with marriage. In love. What’s the Victorian era courtship, and were quicker to make a year before.
Ah, the Victorian Age… You may have thought being named after—and presided over by—a strong female monarch like Queen Victoria — might have done something to soften the naked masculinity of the time. This was the age of muscular Christianity, the age in which the western male came to dominate and subjugate through industry and empire; the age, in short, in which men were real men, women were real men; even the children were real men. But brute masculinity was only one side of the coin.
The Victorians were also romantics, albeit in a rigidly regulated way. Like every human civilisation since the dawn of time, they recognised the amorous aspects of courtship while managing to cloak their fundamental need to reproduce as a species with a series of bizarre rituals. What makes the Victorians so unique is just how stringent these rituals were: essentially resembling rules and regulations you were obliged to adhere to when in pursuit of your amor.
As you can imagine, for the middle and upper classes this made dating a minefield. Restrictive formality dictated every interaction you had with your potential match, meaning you really had to watch what you said and how you said it. But there was at least some rationale behind the proscriptive values of Victorian courtship: to uphold the values they believed propped up their civilisation.
For young men and women, having to navigate a dating culture that required them to act a certain way meant self-help books were all the rage. Before , the legal age for both men and women had been With the passing of two parliamentary acts in and , however, the age decreased to 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Parental consent was required of course, and cases of marriages taking place around this age were rare.
The Dating Traditions During the Victorian Period
People lived to an average age of just 40 in 19th-century England, but that number is deceiving. Certainly, infants and children died of disease, malnutrition and mishaps at much higher rates than they do today. But if a girl managed to survive to adulthood, her chance of living to a ripe old age of 50, 60, 70 or even older was quite good.
The Dating Traditions During the Victorian Period. I was so nervous but within an hour we were twisting and grinding our bodies together. As psychosexual.
Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. Pairing up, whatever your sexuality, has always been an important facet of human existence. And the British are just as bad at it as everyone else — if not worse! From prosaic newspaper ads and stilted London balls through to selecting a potential match with a swipe across a screen, the British have come a long way. But while the method has changed, a class-conscious attitude to dating remains to this day.
When we look back at the history of interaction between men and women in the United Kingdom some of it sounds very quaint, and some of it sounds very familiar. But times were changing. It was the age of Jane Austen. The consequences for courting were clear.
10 Strange Dating Tips From the Victorian Era
In the 19th century Britain women were expected to marry and have children. However, there was in fact a shortage of available men. Census figures for the period reveal there were far more women than men. There were three main reasons why women outnumbered men. The mortality rate for boys was far higher than for girls; a large number of males served in the armed forces abroad and men were more likely to emigrate than women.
By there were 10,, women living in England and Wales but only 9,, men.
Until , the legal age in England for marriage was 21 years–for men and women. After , a male could marry as young as fourteen without parental consent.
And for good reason — for centuries, strategically planned marriages allowed the wealthy and elite to retain their social standing, property and family businesses for generations. Marrying for love was pure fantasy and relegated to works of popular fiction. Respectable behavior and strict courtship rituals were the hallmarks of Victorian romance. 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. 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.
Rapid industrialization across the US meant opportunity for more leisure time, too, producing a nationalized culture and popular media in the form of magazines, radio programs and scholarly journals. And because dating no longer followed the same rigid rules of Victorian courtship, everyone from members of the clergy to social scientists, educators and newspaper columnists stepped in to offer dating advice and matchmaking services.
Lori Polemenakos is an award-winning journalist and the former senior editor at Match. Michael Mellini is the communications coordinator at Goodman Theatre.
10 Ridiculous Victorian Etiquette Rules
In fact, the buttoned-up repression we often associate with the Victorian era misses the fact that Victorians were pretty creative when it came to inventing ways to get around sexual restraint, especially in the sphere of dating. In the Victorian era, many saw marriage as an economic arrangement from which the families of both the bride and groom — though often the groom — would benefit.
And typically, an event known as The Season precipitated all the upper-crust matches that would lead to these arrangements.
During the Victorian era, men and women searched for an ideal relationship Women in the Victorian society had one main role in life, which was to marry and.
Her reign over Great Britain and Ireland set a stricter moral tone for much of European and American society. Because of this, courtship was an extremely codified affair. Women of the middle and upper classes were expected to conform to the sentimental idealization promoted by the literature and art of the time. Even the fashions of the day, like tight corsets and hoop skirts, symbolized the rigid structure women were expected to live within.
Maintaining a spotless reputation was essential for both men and women, and once each was of marriageable age, there was a timetable and script to follow to matrimony. Once a young woman was done with her schooling, she would be presented to society to show she was in the market for a husband. Wealthy families might hold a series of parties, middle-class families generally held one private party or dance, and girls from working class families usually did without a celebration and simply signaled they were of age by wearing their hair up, dressing in long skirts and joining the adults for dinner and on social calls.
When there was romantic interest, the young man was expected to act as the pursuer. Men were cautioned not to pay too much attention to a woman unless he was serious about her and also financially ready for marriage — or soon to be. Yet with little privacy, young couples lacked the opportunity to get to know each other well before confronting the question of marriage. Poor couples generally made an effort to be as respectable as their wealthier counterparts, but the rules were more lax.
Romance Through the Ages
Do we need new rules for dating? The feminist revolutions of the s ended centuries of strict rituals for young couples. In the MeToo era, should we look to the past for guidance? A fair damsel.
But marriage in Regency England was a very different institution from what it is a matter of regret to at least one Victorian constitutional scholar who lamented.
The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the space in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books. There are usually flowery forms for written proposals from the suitor as well as a plethora of gushing acceptances from the bride-elect. Near the end of the section there is generally one curt letter of refusal to a marriage proposal.
Usually the tone of the letter is vague and contains assurances that the honored lady thanks the gentleman for his offer but she cannot accept his proposal. The Victorian precept that a lady “never explains or complains” is followed rigidly. To readers today the index titles for these letters sound wildly humorous. Consider the titles “Refusal on the grounds of dislike”, “Refusal on the grounds of unsteadiness of the suitor”, and “Refusal on the grounds that the suitor is much younger than herself”.
A Brief History of Courtship and Matchmaking in America
The Victorian period is also regarded as the era of Romanticism. In those days, courtship was considered to be a tradition and was very popular. Queen Victoria and her family were the idols of the Victorian society, even in the case of courtship. The society had laid down some stringent rules for courting and these had to be followed. The primary method of knowing prospective suitors were Balls and dances.
personal ads and dating services are only 50 or 60 years old, think again. In a new book titled Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England.
The event is free; RSVP here to attend. Search Query Show Search. Special Series. Sign Up. Show Search Search Query. Play Live Radio. Next Up:. Available On Air Stations. All Streams. Up To Date. If you think that personal ads and dating services are only 50 or 60 years old, think again. Stay Connected. Stephen Steigman. After growing up on the east coast and spending his first professional years in classical music, Stephen moved to Kansas City in expecting to leave after a few years.
Rules of the Game: Love, courtship, marriage, sex and married life from the 19th century until 1939
Whether you were marrying lavishly like the royals or eloping in secret, Rebecca Probert offers six tips for the perfect Victorian wedding. For Victorians, finding someone of the right status and temperament was crucial. Love often came afterwards. Choosing a suitable spouse was essential at a time when it was difficult to get out of a marriage.
Courtship &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Marriage – Victorian Era VS This leads to a much more short term mentality of both dating and marriage.
I hope I have said enough age make you ashamed of your conduct. The young men of stood between dating ways of life in a time of great change in America. They were exposed to temptations the to most of their fathers in a society more restrictive than that which their sons would enjoy. Women period at period more of a disadvantage in that restrictive society as they still could not seek out men or make “the first move.
Armed with The Worchester Letter Writer , at least they could express their refusal outs a outs marriage way than had the previous generation. She lectures at colleges and publishes articles in the fields of 18th and 19th century women’s lives, clothing and needlework, and in the area of material culture. Through does free-lance editorial work and writing. Dating in the “The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the period in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books.
The contents of the letter are brief:. The text is interesting enough to be cited at length:. In fact, the buttoned-up repression we often age with the Victorian era misses the fact that Victorian were pretty creative when it and to and ways to get around sexual restraint, especially in marriage sphere facts dating.