Dating in the 1800’s : Victorian Courtship


If you wanted to make yourself available in the 1800’s, you’d typically attend a dance or a ball. An older chaperone will maintain a watchful eye while potential suitors express interest in a dance or two. The women will the select the most suitable.

Once a potential match is found, the courtship can begin. However, first the suitors have to have a clean and proper conversation under the eye of the chaperone. During this time any physical contact is forbidden. Then if all goes well, the couple may take a walk together.

Although physical contact is still off the table, some flirtation was allowed. It was also of utter importance for the man to be accepted by the woman’s parents. If the man was rich this would have helped enormously.

If the couple after the dance decide to continue seeing each other, further chaperoned dates will take place again without any physical contact. In the mean time, love letters and gifts will be exchanged. Most of the time the women used to send locks of their hair. It was also common that the women kept a diary.

If love blossoms, the man may propose. There is no backing out of engagements, but it allows for unchaperoned dates. As long as the suitors are of the same class and at least 12 aged females or 14 for males, a marriage can go ahead.




About maltasun

A history lover from the small island of Malta.
This entry was posted in courtship, dating, history, love, victorian history and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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