A Brief History of Dating

History of Dating

Our current dating practices may appear to be a normal part of life, but they`ve been around for a relatively short period and, we believe, will not last much longer in their current form. Dating has a history, which we should strive to grasp as we negotiate the ritual's contradictory and sometimes perplexing objectives.

27 March 1489, Medina del Campo, Spain

The two-year-old Tudor Prince Arthur is legally engaged to Catherine of Aragon, who is three years old at the time, in a treaty made between England and Spain. It's an extreme example of a very typical practice all across the world in the pre-modern era: relationships are strategic transactions between families, with no regard for the couple's feelings. The concept of love, much alone being physically attracted to the person you end up with, would be regarded as extremely irresponsible, if not bizarre.

1892, London, England

Charley's Aunt, the year's most popular comedic play, is based on the fact that Charley has invited Kitty to dinner on a date but discovers at the last minute that his aunt will be unable to join them. This causes concern since a dating pair should be accompanied by a chaperone, an older lady whose presence ensures that nothing too personal is spoken or done. Charley's idea is to have a male buddy dress up as his relative and mimic him. The play's comic mood implies that the traditional norms of dating are definitely on their way out and that they are acknowledged as having some of the fustiness of a maiden aunt.
The audience is supposed to agree that dating is best when couples are left alone to explore how they feel; there should even be a kiss at the conclusion if everything goes well, as it does for Charley and Kitty.

1914, Eastbourne, England

When the young George Orwell is found reading Compton Mackenzie's Youth's Encounter, the first novel published in England that portrays unsupervised adolescent dating, he gets in trouble at school. Dating is becoming more than just the occasional chaste kiss: it is now becoming about sex.

June 23, 1960, Washington DC, USA

The first oral female contraceptive pill is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The concept that date may joyfully and easily lead to sex is no longer just an emotional but also a practical possibility.

Los Angeles, 1998

Speed dating is developed, and You've Got Mail, the first big film based on internet dating, is released. Both promote the concept that it is critical to do a thorough search before settling on a potential mate. All of the elements of modern dating are finally in place: first, parents have nothing to do with it; second, all considerations of money and social status are deemed ‘un-Romantic' and unimportant; third, you are supposed to be quickly emotionally drawn to a person for a relationship to be deemed legitimate and viable in the long term; and fourth, sex is interpreted as a central part of the relationship.

Brussels, March 2009

According to a survey released by the EU, half of the married couples in the union's member nations divorce after fifteen years. Though completely ignored by Europe's dating couples, the report quietly raises the question of whether instinct is a better guide to a good conjugal life than old parental or societal rules – as well as hinting at how much more miserable we can end up being when the sole justification for relationships is understood to be the intense emotional and sexual happiness of the two people involved.

Which of the following statements accurately describes the process of dating earth's history?

There was no option for Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon in 1489, and there is no choice now. However, people occasionally become nostalgic and interested in the old-fashioned, unplanned, and sometimes exhilarating Romantic method of courting.


Some individuals remember dating fondly from decades before, with romantic notions of higher morals and better ideals. Others believe that with all of today's internet apps and some of the best dating sites, it's never been easier to play the field. However, each era of dating in the last century had its own set of advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own set of unspoken norms.