As we approach that magical time of year we thought we’d offer some tips to our lovely single vintage lovers out there, who are looking for love over the Christmas period! These tips have been offered by the lovely Miss Yazmin Joy Vigus, a lovely lady blogger over at www.aliljoy.com which is a collective blog about love, life, and finding joy!
Over to you Yazmin…
In an age where texting is preferable to speaking on the phone, first impressions are made on Facebook rather than in person, and dressing up and going on a real bonafide date is becoming the thing of urban myths, I can’t help but wonder: Is there really room for classic courtship in the digital world? (We sure hope so Yazmin!)
So … lets talk about vintage dating tips for the modern man or woman:
1) Be on time
“[Being late] can be traced to nothing more interesting than carelessness mixed with a little selfishness, in more or less equal parts.” Millicent Fenwick. Vogue’s Book of Etiquette (1948)
Being on time is a simple but vital characteristic of classic courtship that will never go out of style. I was recently made to wait 30 minutes for a time-neglecting date to turn up. 30 minutes! In a digital society where we’re used to instant feedback, immediate responses, high speed action, we seem to have lost a sense of real time keeping. Of course, after extended apologies, the outing was resumed (no-one is perfect after all), however it is worth mentioning that it gave a distinctly bad first impression. (SO uncool Yazmin!)
Turning up on-time displays an attitude of respect for those in your company and a wider indication to the way you live your life.
2) Why talk isn’t cheap, baby!
Nothing beats good conversation on a date. While a riveting discussion has partly to do with chemistry, mutual interests and a shared sense of humour, it’s easy to lose your nerve and descend into a jibber-jabbering verbal mess!
In The Entertaining Lady: An Informal Guide to Good Living (1949) Vera Bloom gives some top classic tips on making great conversation: “…being yourself, and really hearing the person you’re talking to, instead of wasting your energy worrying about what impression you’re making, will do more towards making you a good conversationalist than all the high-pressure charm hints that have ever been given.”
Yes, Bloom makes a clear and simple observation that is just as applicable today. The trick to making good conversation is to simply be yourself, listen to the other person, and try to relax!
3) How to avoid unflattering questions!
In life we are often faced with arduous questions which infringes on our privacy. ‘When did you start smoking?’, ‘Did you eat the last profiterole?’, ‘How long has it been since you did the horizontal tango?’
Often on a first date you may not wish to reveal all your dirty little secrets, but what do you do if you are posed with an uncomfortable question?
In her 1963 etiquette manual Charm for Young Women, Anne Culkin offers some timeless advice: “We are under no obligation to answer the personal questions directed at us. Yet we do not want to discipline another to the point to embarrassment. This we will not do if we become a little vague about the information they seek, or if we have a suggestion of amusement in our voice when we say: “Mary, I don’t think you meant to ask me that question?”
For instance, if your date enquires after the unflattering pictures of yourself in Magaluf, in which you are passed out outside the kebab house with mayonnaise in your hair, simply reply: ‘Jonathan [or insert appropriate name], I don’t think you meant to ask me that question’ and then continue to tuck into your goats cheese and caramelized onion tart. (yum yum Yazmin!)
4) To kiss or not to kiss? That is the question!
A conundrum that is as equally vexing in 2013 than it was in 1963!
“There is nothing wrong about a brief, affectionate goodnight kiss which will not arouse passion. Do not feel, however, that he won’t ask you out again unless you kiss him the first night or that you must repay him for the coke and hamburger he bought you. This is too high a price to pay, even if you had a large coke.” – Anne Culkin, Charm for Young Women (1963)
It does seem rather far-fetched to impose a kiss that is both equally affectionate yet non-passionate, but hi-de-ho, Anne’s traditional sentiment rings true for modern daters. Kissing on the first date is okay so long as you are comfortable and happy to do so. However, you shouldn’t feel obliged to return the favour just because he/she may have bought you M&Ms at the cinema!
5) ‘I don’t believe I agree with that!’
There is some behavior that never seems particularly agreeable in a first date scenario.
In the Art of Dating (1967), Evelyn Millis Duvall suggests 6 Classic Dating Faux-Pas that still ring true today.
‘A date is wholly satisfying only when each person is considerate of the other. Dating is not fun if either of you:
a) Flirts conspicuously with others.
b) Brags about previous conquests.
c) Gossips about other dates.
d) Clings too closely to members of your own sex.
e) Avoids participation in the activities.
f) Makes an issue over minor mishaps.’
What do you think, dear vintage lovers? How far would you agree with these ‘common dating blunders’?
So why courtship?
Is courtship important in the 21st century? Sure it is. There is no reason why a man or woman of modern values can’t enjoy classic chivalry and romance. (Well said Yazmin!) Not only can it be jolly good fun – more importantly it might also be an opportunity to forge a beautiful relationship.
James A. Magner explains in The Art of Happy Marriage (1947): “The principal purpose of courtship is precisely to find out whether the two persons are so constituted that they can work as a team. This applies not only in the order of surface attraction or superficial sex appeal, but also in moral and spiritual qualities, personal interests, intellectual and cultural development, religious and social views, and the various sustaining qualities that carry people through periods of difference and difficulty.”
Today, vintage courtship and dating etiquette is less about proprietary and maintaining social expectations and more about how you choose to behave. Like most things vintage, chivalry is not about emulating the exact mentality of these by-gone eras, but more about expressing the sentiment of chivalry. Why not ignite a bit of rustic romance and sizzle into your dating life? It’s about making the other person feel special. Enjoying quality time. And showing mutual respect and consideration. Is chivalry dead? Hopefully not. Maybe it just needs a revamp.
Well that certainly gave us some food for thought! Big thanks and love to Miss Yazmin Joy Vigus for her beautiful thoughts on vintage dating culture in the modern age. She’ll be back soon with more joyous blogs for us!
Feeling the love? Then why not check out our blog on Vintage Wedding Dresses here – after all we started planning our wedding when we were 6 years old, so there’s no time like the present! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for fair dates for our upcoming Vintage Wedding Fairs!
We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x