Courting and dating rituals 1400 1600 chalker updating the model of female sexuality

Ben and Ellen Knecht exchange vows—with, from left, John Labanish, Pamela Blount, Andre Lane, Mike Luzzi, Teresa Ponziani, Jim Kent, Pat Mahon, and Christina Lane. Not a few parents pine for the courtship rules and rites of, let us say, those halcyon colonial times, when, as they understand it, propriety tempered ardor, virtue checked passion, and abstinence made the heart grow fonder.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.

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.

Leon Kass of the University of Chicago says that nowadays "for the great majority, the way to the altar is uncharted territory: It's every couple on its own bottom, without a compass, often without a goal.

Those who reach the altar seem to have stumbled on it by accident." It may be that the traditional route to conjugal correctness—chaste courtship, formal engagement, church wedding, consummation, and parenthood, in that order—is less traveled.

Darcy and the demure Miss Elizabeth Bennett, where ne'er a lusty thought or word between them passed.

But the rituals of Austen's Pride and Prejudice—idealistically drafted in 1796—as shining examples have long since been passed over, and courtship, that delicate art of hooking a prospective mate and playing the fish all the way to a preacher, is all but dead.

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