Define courting and dating
In such situations, couples had to wait into their late twenties before formally entering the connubial state—which some historians say created fertile ground for extracurricular shenanigans, broken promises, and court battles.For the more unfortunate, if the parents disapproved of their son's choice, they could veto the alliance.The woman's father was expected to provide a dowry.The well-heeled were aware that there were scurrilous and ruthless fortune hunters looking to ensnare wealthy heiresses. For some couples there was heartbreak; for others, resignation.
Many a modern mother and father brood about the matches their sons and daughters will make. "Distance," as Thomas Campbell wrote in 1799, "lends enchantment," and two centuries later, for many worry-ridden parents, the perfect courtship model follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen's smoldering Mr.Lawsuits transcend social class, and the documents of the disputes leave the impression that all the way up to the lesser gentry, there was dirty linen.For upper-class English and Americans, keeping up appearances was paramount, and heaven forbid that a daughter should tie the knot with, in the vernacular, a bun in the oven. Of enormous concern to quality folk was the social standing of a child's potential mate.But historians say the modern, mixed-up, anything-goes form of bonding that includes physical intimacy and permanent or temporary cohabitation, with children born in or out of wedlock, is not altogether different from some of the practices of segments of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century populations.As far as chaste courtship is concerned, the good old days have been overrated, almost as mythical as the Standish-Mullins-Alden triangle that Longfellow invented.