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5 Old-Timey Courtship Rituals That Will Make You Cringe

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    Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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    Courtship traditions have existed as long as cultures have accepted the concept of romantic love (though many believe they're mostly a Western thing). Some traditions, including those of ancient Chinese and Jewish societies, took on a more contractual approach to courtship, dictating that marriage be a matter of negotiation between two families. (That approach may sound like a less swoon-worthy history, but it probably led to just as much romance — and heartache — for courters.)

    Since then, suitors of the modern era have attempted countless grand gestures to woo the ones they love — and the executions haven't always been so smooth. While some people have successfully hoisted boomboxes over their heads or evaded airport security, others have embarrassed themselves on Jumbotrons.

    Luckily, people of yesteryear didn't have as much technology available to them, which automatically lowered the stakes of their demonstrations of love. But that doesn't mean their low-tech gestures were any less ridiculous.

    Ahead, check out five of our favorite courtship traditions from history. You can thank your lucky stars (and possibly your ancestors) that you don't have to go through any of them today.

    This month, we're sharing steamy personal stories, exploring ways to have even better sex, and wading through the complicated dynamics that follow us into the bedroom. Here's to a very happy February. Check out more right here.


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  2. Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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  3. Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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  4. Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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  5. Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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  6. Illustrated by Norah Stone.

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