Dating and marriage in the victorian era

Once a young woman had come out socially as a debutante, she could then attend parties and social gatherings.

The caveat, of course, was that she could not do so alone.

She was always accompanied by a female chaperone — usually her mother — and had to navigate the brave new world of dating while under supervision.

Men were well aware that others watched — and judged — their interactions with women in the dating realm.

The Victorians weren’t exactly known for bringing sexual liberation to the masses — but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have carnal desires.

In fact, the buttoned-up repression we often associate with the Victorian era misses the fact that Victorians were pretty creative when it came to inventing ways to get around sexual restraint, especially in the sphere of dating.

In chapter 4, Phegley continues to chart the life cycle of Victorian romance in a description of laws and rituals regarding the marriage ceremony.

The trappings of the wedding idealized in fashionable guidebooks and periodicals were displayed in the arrangement of the bridal party, wedding attire, ceremonial rituals, nuptial meal, and honeymoon.

The woman’s hand fan proved to be a useful, inconspicuous tool to do so.Women often carried these fans to avoid fainting in hot ballrooms — which, given the prevalence of corsets and tight gowns, was a more commonplace event than you might think.Should they have their breath stolen by a potential suitor — well, that was a whole ‘nother challenge.Families who took part in the event had one goal in mind: To find their daughter a suitor.No matter where they lived, the Victorian elite would send their daughters — in their mid teens and early twenties — to London for the sake of encountering a potential match.

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