Dating in the victorian times

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of winter to remind you of how limited your idea of fun is.

At the time it did, because such social niceties constituted basic manners and politeness.

Of course, some etiquette rules were arbitrary, but they were nonetheless functional.

And for good reason – for centuries, strategically planned marriages allowed the wealthy and elite to retain their social standing, property and family businesses for generations.

Marrying for love was pure fantasy and relegated to works of popular fiction.

(Should the lady in question be indisposed, personalized “calling cards” were left as a sign of intent.) If the woman’s family was sufficiently impressed, courting would progress until the man formally asked for her hand in marriage.

We often assume that the life of the average lass in Victorian England was narrow and restrictive, full of stern governesses, stifling garments and fainting spells.

But if a girl managed to survive to adulthood, her chance of living to a ripe old age of 50, 60, 70 or even older was quite good.

Girded only by my wits and some willing co-experimenters, I set out to learn more about what makes reading aloud so racy.

As I quickly learned, for Victorian teens, reading aloud was a way to get wrapped up in the times and in each other.

Stuck indoors one evening, I read about how young Victorian couples managed to skirt their own considerable restrictions and stoke passions by reading out loud to each other. Though I want nothing less than to be a Hipster Victorian, further research only made me more convinced that a period-appropriate read-aloud session might alleviate certain of my friends’ and my problems.

As put it back in 1863, ”reading aloud is one of those exercises which combine mental and muscular effort, and hence has a double advantage”—perfect for those boring, cold days when your mind and your muscles both feel frozen.

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