Chaperones, Bicycles, and Love Potions: Interesting Tidbits About Dating In The Past

By Amit S April 2, 2024

Dating: it’s a modern concept, right? Wrong. Strap in because we’re about to take a wild ride through the strange details of dating in the past that’ll leave you both amused and astonished.

Courtesy of Valentina Zavgorodniaia/Shutterstock

Dating wasn’t a thing till the 19th century.

Let’s kick things off with Fun Fact No. 1: Dating wasn’t even a thing until the late 19th century. Before that, people engaged in courtship, a more formal affair where partners were often chosen for financial reasons rather than romantic inclinations. Picture this: family-chaperoned meetings in the comfort of one’s home, with marriage as the end goal. Talk about a different era!

Hello, Romance!

Enter the Victorian era, where Queen Victoria herself set the stage for romantic dating. While chaperones still lurked in the background, couples could now go out and have fun together. But don’t cheer just yet because things get even weirder from here.

Men for hire

Fast forward to the 1930s, when women in New York City faced a dilemma: they couldn’t hit the town unescorted. Enter Ted Peckham and his Guide Escort Service, offering gentlemen-for-hire to accompany these women on their night out. It was all about maintaining the perfect, chivalrous façade, even if the date wasn’t exactly a love connection.

Love Potions

Now, let’s talk about love potions. Yes, you heard that right. From ‘sweaty cakes’ made with, well, questionable ingredients to potions crafted from the tears of a female dolphin (yes, really), the lengths people went to for love were downright bizarre.

Of Love and Bicycles

But perhaps the strangest tale of all comes from the bicycle craze of the late 19th century. With the invention of the bicycle, women gained newfound freedom to explore the world solo. No more chaperones, no more constraints — just the open road and the possibility of a chance encounter.

Courtesy of Victor Moussa/Shutterstock


And let’s not forget the evolution of personality in dating. Once considered a negative trait, personality became a key player in the dating game, with women crafting personas akin to a work of art to attract potential suitors.

From arranged marriages to love potions and everything in between, the history of dating is a tapestry woven with eccentricities. So, the next time you’re swiping left or right on your phone, take a moment to appreciate the wild journey that brought us to this point. Who knows what bizarre twists and turns lie ahead in the ever-changing landscape of love and courtship?