We’ve all seen Pride and Prejudice. If you’re like us, you may catch yourself thinking, “This is dramatic. This is not how things were back then.” We assume that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett couldn’t have possibly fallen in love with as few exchanges as they had and that they definitely had to have fooled around sometime in there before professing their love to each other… but we’re all wrong. That’s exactly how it happened in this very factual fictional book because that’s how “dating” (a term that wasn’t even really used until the 19th century) used to be.
In the United States in the pre-19th century, men used to enter into “courtships” with women. This usually consisted of parents promising off their daughters to a man who could support them financially and have children with them.
In the early 1900s, men could be invited to go to a woman’s parent’s home and sit with them, usually in a “sitting room” (to all of us who live in a one-bedroom apartment, that’s like… the back of the hallway, right?) to visit with her, while someone chaperoned. That’s right, a monitor — to make sure that all conversations were appropriate. Just imagine the secret languages the secret lovers must have formed and used during these conversations.
Once the 1920s rolled around, things started getting wild… men and women were going out on their own! They’d hit up the local amusement park, go for a drive or get a drink because #prohibition.
In the 1950s, the telephone added an entirely new flavor to people’s dating lives. This is when a lot of chivalry was born — men would call up a gal and ask her out, he’d open her doors, pay for everything, and it was on him to initiate the next date. Unlike today, it was not looked down upon during this time to go on a date with Susie on Friday and a date with Sharon on Saturday. If people clicked, off to the altar they’d go! If they didn’t, they’d be setting up the next date to find their Mr. or Mrs.
The 70’s introduced a very sexy side of dating. Up until this point, it was very taboo to be physical with someone you were dating. It wasn’t talked about, and certainly wasn’t “allowed” for many. This era shattered that philosophy, throwing the “don’t kiss on the first date” rule to the waste side… and much more.
The dating culture we knew then only escalated from there — “hooking up” became a thing, speed dating entered the scene, and we started seeing dating sites pop up. Courtship became a phone call and that became a text. Enter the world of dating apps!
It’s easy to look at our country’s dating history and spot some things we did really well and some things that were way off. We really admire how courtships were based upon conversation and imagine that really solid friendships were formed through all those hours of talking. On the contrary, we’re thankful to be past the point of a woman not being able to ask a man out and for a first kiss or any affection for that matter to be gasp-worthy. Who doesn’t dig a little PDA?
At Sweet Pea, we’re excited to combine the best of our past and present. How amazing that we don’t have to sit with a chaperone to get to know someone? That we don’t have to rely on our parents to choose a suitable spouse for us? We, both men and women, have the freedom to ask anyone, both men and women, out on a date to go wherever we want, whenever we want. We can use technology in our favor, getting clever with emojis and texts. We can send photos and share experiences instantly, connecting with others in ways we couldn’t just 20 years ago. We don’t have to go through painful dates for hours wondering if we’re going to connect with someone because we’ll know we connect before we even meet. That’s the beauty of our app — knowing your compatibility upon seeing someone’s profile.
We thank you, history, for all you have given us. We hope that 50 years from now, the dating world will be thanking us too. Create your own history, find the one who just ‘gets’ you on Sweet Pea app today.