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History of courtship and dating

It wasn't until the 19th century that launching a relationship had anything to do with love and attraction.Courtship, to put it in old-timey terms, then became a part of the mating process. But even then, they didn't always fit one mold.

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They selected the times and days for visits, did the inviting, and set the limits. During the same period, even in the big cities, there was virtually no urban nightlife in America.Luckily, people of yesteryear didn't have as much technology available to them, which automatically lowered the stakes of their demonstrations of love.But that doesn't mean their low-tech gestures were any less ridiculous.A girl would receive her gentleman caller on the front porch or in the family parlor, in the company of at least one adult chaperone.The couple would talk, read together, or play board games; on rare occasions they might be allowed to attend a church social or musical performance together, but always in view of nosy neighbors and family friends.Here are some ways our idea of a "date" has dramatically varied over the years.

As history shows us, dating didn't really exist before the 19th century, at least not in the United States.

Suppose I tell you now, what I, in my turn, expect, and how you may best please me and make me happy.—Thus then I begin—Let me ever have the sweet consiousness of knowing myself the best beloved of your heart—I do not always require a lover’s attention—that wou’d be impossible, but let it never appear by your conduct that I am indifferent to you." Margaret Davenport Coulter to John Coulter, May 10, 1795.

In November 1776, Benjamin and Annabelle Powell of Williamsburg married their elder daughter, Hannah, to William Drew of Isle of Wight County.

Then came the telephone, which made it possible for young people to talk more freely, more often, and with more privacy. In the first years of the twentieth century, cars were considered unsafe and impractical.

, the moving pieces all make it a less than appealing way to spend your evening.

Courtship traditions have existed as long as cultures have accepted the concept of romantic love (though many believe they're mostly a Western thing).