Victorian dating rituals

Today's dating rituals are pretty straight forward. You see someone you like, you find out their name, stalk them on social media, get a mutual.
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Engagement & Marriage In The Victorian Era

A woman could not receive a man at home if she was alone. Another family member had to be present in the room. That was the only touch, which was accepted between a man and a woman, who was not engaged to him.


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A woman was allowed some liberties, however. She could flirt with her fan, as this behavior was within the protocol of accepted behavior. An unmarried girl would never date a man at the night. This was considered extremely impolite.

The Ins And Outs Of Victorian Dating

Women were restrained to ride alone in the closed carriage with a man, expect for a close relative. In the relationship, intelligence was not at all required, neither any interest in the politics.

Jennifer Phegley - Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England - February 9, 2012

The Victorian people were very cautious about courtships. The dating would firstly begin when the couple would speak to one another. The next step was to go out for a walk and then lastly by keeping company. The upper class socialized at social events while the lowers classes socialized at events like Sunday Service or Church suppers.

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After the couple had developed mutual affection, the next step to strengthen their relation was marriage. The second stage of the courtship was engagement. If the fan was open wide, she really liked him.

What You Had to Do to Hook Up in the Victorian Era

While men did not have fans to communicate with, they did carry some type of business or calling card in fact, women often had them too, but they were more for the purpose of social introduction. Some men had cards made for the express purpose of clandestine flirting, and would pass them to a woman without anyone noticing.


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Unless and until the female recipient read the card, its true message would remain a mystery. What appeared in the cards was not always PG: Women, too, could have such cards made and they were often tit for tat with their potential male suitors.

In spite or perhaps because of the value placed on chastity, the Victorians took flirting to a new level of crazy. Second, a woman did not have to accept the first proposal offered to her. In fact, even if she wanted to marry the man who had proposed, she was allowed and maybe even encouraged to make it a little harder for him — especially if her family had wealth that he wanted.

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Upon the formalization of an engagement — which often went unannounced for a time, lest someone call it off and humiliate the family — the betrothed had more freedom to spend time together. For six months to two years, the couple would prepare for the wedding and perhaps get to know one another a little better. They could take walks alone, hold hands, and indulge in the occasional — very chaste — kiss.