I am pleased to welcome Vicky Dreiling back to One Book Shy today as she tours with her latest novel: How to Seduce a Scoundrel. Vicky visited with us back in January when she brought the first book in this series How to Marry a Duke to our attention. Today Vicky is sharing her thoughts on what dating may have been like during the Regency era.
Courtship Regency Style
by Vicky Dreiling
In Regency England, courtship had prescribed rules that both ladies and gentlemen were required to follow. Today, the rules of dating are far more nebulous and fluid. One might believe that dating is simpler in today’s times since men and women aren’t bound by specific rules and rather chaste encounters prior to marriage. But there can be comfort in knowing what specifically is required in matters or courtship. In fact, I think part of the reason the how-to book The Rules was a bestseller is because women found comfort in having boundaries for behavior on dates.
Let’s take a look at some of the rules for courtship in the Regency.
1.Prior to asking a lady to dance, a gentleman must first request an introduction, if he does not know her.
2.A gentleman could pay a short call on the lady who captured his affections. He might even demonstrate his interest by bringing her a posy.
3.The gentleman caller was required to take his leave after a maximum of twenty minutes, making the call something of the precursor to speed dating.
4.The couple was always chaperoned in order to protect the young lady’s reputation.
5.Another courtship ritual involved taking a lady for a drive along Rotten Row during the fashionable hour.
6.A young, single lady must avoid being overly familiar and certainly blatant flirting if she is to protect her reputation. I bet more than a few ladies broke that rule!
7.A couple might continue their courtship through correspondence. However, once again, they must observe the rules and gain permission from the young lady’s father or guardian.
8.A couple might continue their courtship through correspondence. However, they must observe the proprieties and gain permission from the young lady’s father or guardian.
9.A gentleman could not break an engagement, without loss of respect from others. His only hope, if like Edward Ferrars in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY the ardent gentleman regretted a rash proposal. His only hope was for the lady to “cry off.”
10.Some high sticklers, such as the anonymous author of The Mirror of Graces, warned against handshaking (shocking!) and most certainly kisses. But I like to imagine some of these smitten couples managed to circumvent the rules by stealing a kiss or two.
What were some of the rules of dating others handed down to you? Do you see any similarities between Regency courtship and modern dating?
Thank you so much for sharing these tips with us Vicky. Congratulations on this great new book and best wishes for continued success! I do hope you’ll be checking in with us when How to Ravish a Rake is finished…hint hint
Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.”
When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. She holds degrees in English literature and marketing. A native Texan, she shares her home with her daughter and a spoiled mini-lop rabbit that lives in a slightly gnawed cardboard cottage.
To read an excerpt from How to Seduce a Scoundrel. check out THIS PAGE.
Attention beloved readers – you may want to keep your eyes open for my glowing review post later today. There may be something available that is almost as valuable to you as my opinion…..
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