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Step three: get into your parents’ bed fully clothed next to your date under the watchful eyes of your parents, who place a thick wooden board between you and tuck you in for the night.
This practice would generally keep today’s young person from ever dating again, but bundling seems to have been popular in Ireland, the rural United Kingdom, and the New England colonies from the 16th into the 18th century.
You can’t wait to begin your life with your beau, but first, you need to prove to your parents that you’re ready to marry—by being bundled up in a sack and put to bed.
This unusual courtship ritual had a standard format.
In the 18th century, marriages were formed on the basis of the ‘happiness’ of multiple parties.
Though arranged marriages were not as common as they were in the centuries before, love still did not take center stage (despite some of the more romantic novels of the period that paint a different picture).
FIND A LIVE ONE The earliest colonists — the Puritans who struggled for every mouthful of food and whose yearly death count exceeded that of any George Romero movie — did not have time for the frippery of love and courtship. Courtship involved finding a woman of childbearing-ish age who had survived the previous winter.
Bedrooms were semi-public spaces until roughly the late 18th century, and were used for anything from giving birth to entertaining guests.
is a relatively new book (published in 2013) written by UK historian and writer Emily Brand, from the perspective of Pride and Prejudice’s ever so popular love interest, Mr. As Margaret Abrams points out in a humorous review of the guide, eighteenth-century dating might not have been as quaint as many of us in the 21 century did not have the salacious ability to become social stalkers with the click of an “add friend” Facebook button or the tempting splendor of tapping “follow” on Instagram as men today do.
But, as Abrams points out, who needs social networking when your one true love, who may or may not know you exist, is just a hop, skip, and a jump away across town— close enough to stalk in person by gazing longingly through 18th century style windows. Darcy tells us what women want and shares detailed approaches on how to win the girls over.
Colonial society came up with a fairly ingenious solution. Which makes modern parents look pretty lame by comparison. Not necessarily while bundling, but behind the barn, in the meadow, during the corn shuck fest.
If you were 17, you might suggest to your strict Christian parents that you'd like to snuggle up with sultry Goodie Sally from across the hog farm. You've probably heard of this practice, called "bundling," where unmarried couples could sleep together in the same bed, sometimes with a plank placed between them (for all the good it would do). They planned ahead for it like some parents today stock their son's skater pants with condoms. HOLD HANDS AND MAKE EMPTY PROMISES Handfasting, or spousing, was another way for a dishonorable young rogue to get lucky.
Step one: invite your date home to meet your parents.