Date night in downtown Selby

Laurie Snider
Notes from the Nest

If I happened to be a young, single woman alive 150 years ago, on any given afternoon I would’ve found myself sitting stiffly upright (due to my tight corset), on an overly, firm, parlour chair needlepointing and discussing local, news events with my family.

Had I recently caught the attention of one of the local, young men in our area, our servant would’ve announced, “Mr Randall Snider,” has come to call.

My eager mother, would’ve squealed with delight at my prospects and my father, would’ve adopted a stern look, before welcoming my gentleman caller into our parlour, to join us for tea. If I’d found my gentleman callers company agreeable and my family thought him a suitable candidate, he’d have been welcomed back.

Future meetings would’ve been family gatherings, or other social engagements with others present, ensuring there was no untoward eye or hand wandering going on. After an appropriate amount of time, he’d have asked my father’s permission and we’d have been married, before ever spending any quality time alone together. Primarily, these were business arrangements, seen as necessary for a well functioning society. Being in love wasn’t a priority, but sometimes occurred after marrying.

Fast forward to present day, if I were a young, single woman, quite possibly I’d be searching the internet on my smart phone and trusting my heart, to the algorithms on, Tinder or Plenty of Fish, to find myself a befitting fellow with which to keep company.

Thankfully, Randy and I fit somewhere in the middle. We met through friends at work and I was free to go out on dates with him, in public, unchaperoned, without fear of damaging my reputation.

By the 1920s men and women were exposed to a larger dating pool, through school, college and work and couples started going out on dates. These were less structured and restrictive, no longer viewed as only a means to marriage and dare I say, even fun! Formerly serving the purpose of climbing social ladders, or improving one’s financial situation, the act of dating was now bringing people together, based on marvelous things like romance, companionship, mutual respect and love! Well, how great was that!

Couples began “going steady,” in the ‘50s, in other words, dating each other exclusively. The deal was sealed, when the young man would give his swell, new gal something of his as a token of love and attachment, like his sweaty sweater, school jacket or ring.

They could share soda’s and shakes, at the malt shop and bop and sway to Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and the Beatles.

If the young laddie and lass were feeling naughty, perhaps some ‘necking,’ would be involved. I’ve always found that a rather hilarious term, picturing amorous lovers, in a rapturous embrace, with necks intertwined like a pair of swans. It actually means kissing and caressing above the neck, only. Don’t get me started on ‘petting!’

With all of the protesting and surge in popularity of rock ‘n roll in the ‘60s, things changed again. Free love, was the rage. Young people, were resisting social conventions and sex was openly discussed. Pre-marital sex was no longer taboo or reputation destroying for women. We’ve certainly come a long way baby!

The online dating industry, generates $1.8 billion a year, but for anyone out there looking don’t lose hope, twice as many people still find dates through friends and family. Apparently, it can take up to 6-8 dates, before couples decide to take the “go steady“ plunge.

As for admirable qualities potential partners are looking for, it continues to be tried and true things like, respectful behaviour, honesty, being fun and having a good sense of humour. Oh, and its best to hop in the shower first, clean your teeth and swish around a little Scope before your date, bad breath and body odour, are big turn-offs. And men, if you can’t decide what to wear, choose blue, chicks dig it! Women, if you want to meet a man, avoid mixing with loud groups of women, men won’t approach, too intimidating!

Despite already being together, its still very important for married couples to go on dates. It’s a way of demonstrating to each other, that sharing a life together is important. It enhances your sense of commitment to each other, improves emotional connections and maybe your love-life.

This is why I found myself last Saturday night, sitting in the dark, watching the latest production at the Selby theatre holding hands with my honey.

Dates these days are often this simple, going for a walk or drive, canoeing, laying out under the stars or watching a few episodes of our favourite show. What’s most important is spending time together, strengthening our relationship and possibly even occasionally necking!

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