History of courting dating england
This is why, in 1985, 18.2 million viewers regularly tuned into Cilla Black’s Blind Date. From Lonely Hearts columns in newspapers, which first appeared in 1786, to the aristocratic cattle market of the London season, to today’s instantaneous Tinder ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, which may be followed up, with luck, by an assignation in Nando’s, ‘the UK’s most popular venue for a first date’, people have always been keen to pair off. Indeed, in Jane Austen’s day, when the age of consent was 12, dating was made as difficult as possible.
By 1931, a third of women unfortunate enough to have reached the age of 29 without having married were likely to be stuck on the shelf permanently.Partners were not allowed to dance multiple times with one another unless betrothed, as otherwise, the girl would be made ‘an object of remark’.Women had to conceal their intelligence, too, as it was disadvantageous to be labelled a bluestocking.Men and women are not very good at marriage — ‘marriage is at its lowest level since 1895,’ says Nichi Hodgson in her exuberant study of clinches and clashes — but they remain immensely keen on the courtship rituals, the dating games and the sophisticated arts of flirtation.Because, basically, it is the only way they can guarantee some sex.London parks were ‘the site of much carnal mischief’, but so many sailors caught a venereal disease, a German plot was suspected. Women ‘could work, earn their own money and were free of chaperones’.
Newly conscripted young nurses saw the naked male body for the first time.
Many children would be raised by non-biological fathers and, in 1945, there were 64,743 illegitimate births.
As Quentin Crisp put it: ‘Never in the history of sex was so much offered by so many to so few.’Despite the Teddy Boys, rock and roll, dance halls, youth clubs and glitter-domes of the Fifties, the post-war ethos suggested a back-tracking to old-fashioned values.
Contraception, in any event, was a controversial topic.
Annie Besant, the author of a birth control pamphlet which sold 175,000 copies by 1891, was tried for obscenity.
For instance, big feet were popular, as it was thought that those with small feet were ‘dangerously prone to gaiety and convolutions across the ballroom’.