It's one of those words with which most people are familiar, but have vastly differing opinions of what it means. It summons visions of men women with small tokens of affection and asking their hand in marriage on bended knee.For social scientists, studies of courtship usually look at the process of "mate selection." (Social scientists, among whom I number myself from time to time, will never be accused of being romantics.) For the purpose of this article the , prior to the early 20th century, courtship involved one man and one woman spending intentional time together to get to know each other with the expressed purpose of evaluating the other as a potential husband or wife.Suitors wooed their intended with seranades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse. In 1228, it is said by many that women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.However, a number of historians have pointed out that this supposed leap year proposal statute never occurred, and instead gained its legs as a romantic notion spread in the press.Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered.According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Arranged marriages were the norm, primarily business relationships born out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances.
However, between the late 1800s and the first few decades of the 1900s the new system of "dating" added new stages to courtship.
But how much worse would it be if the very act of it landed you in jail?
According to “Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a sprawling new history by Moira Weigel, the first female daters faced exactly that — mistaken, in their quest for love, for prostitutes.
In a column about “working class lives,” he told of a clerk named Artie whose girlfriend was losing interest in him and beginning to see other men socially.
When Artie confronts his fading love, he says, “I s’pose the other boy’s fillin’ all my dates?