Courtship and dating in the 1800s

Then, think how many men a woman who worked as a waitress in a busy restaurant might have met every single day. Of course, this freedom brought new responsibility too.

Your mother and aunts would no longer take care of courtship for you.

While every generation will lament anew the fact that finding love is hard, history seems to indicate that this particular social ritual never gets any easier or less exciting.

In , a new book documenting the history of dating in America, Moira Weigel, a Ph. candidate in comparative literature at Yale University, confirms this lament: Since dating was “invented,” it has always been an activity that required a lot of effort.

So in a sense, are you saying that dating has its roots in women entering the workforce? Starting in the 1890s and 1900s, a huge number of young Americans began moving to cities and a huge number of women in particular began working outside of homes—their own homes, or homes where they might have worked as governesses or maids.

Previously, courtship rituals had taken place in private places, almost always chaperoned by relatives or other authority figures.

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If you were well off, the scenario might have looked like a Jane Austen or George Eliot novel.If you were working class, you might have met prospective partners at a factory dance or a church social.

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