Is This The 19th Century Version Of Tinder?

With 27% of singles between the ages of 18 and 24 looking for love online today, it's hard to know what people did before Tinder existed. But according to a new video from Great Big Story, it looks like 19th century singles had their own version of Tinder: escort cards. As explained in the video above, social boundaries were beyond strict in late 1800s, so men couldn't just walk up to an attractive woman and strike up conversation. Instead, guys used escort cards, or small pieces of paper with a pickup line and their contact info, as a way to flirt with women they encountered — kind of like that first Tinder message. Some escort cards were wordy and playful: "Come and see our new lamp. You can turn it down so low that there is scarcely any light at all. P.S. Our Sofa Just Holds Two." Others cut to the chase: "I am C.Y. Young. Who the devil are you?" But the best ones gave the lady receiving the card a choice, like "May I.C.U. Home?" Faced with a question to answer, she had the option to take him up on the offer or pass the card back to the gentleman — essentially the 19th-century version of a left swipe. Sound weird? Think of it this way: With all of the technological advances we've had, people still haven't been able to nail the perfect opening message to matches. And hey, at least those 19th-century guys weren't offering their crushes sweat-soaked apple slices from their armpits.
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.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series

Button: Register To Vote