If you are anything like me, you’ve been on your fair share of awkward dates. All of those things have gone through your head at one thought or another.
Whether it’s your fault or hers, sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Imagine for a second then, if it’s awkward for you, how awkward it would be for your waiter or waitress.
Bedrooms were semi-public spaces until roughly the late 18th century, and were used for anything from giving birth to entertaining guests.
Bundling, which usually involved adolescents, just added one more ritual to the bedroom’s list of uses.
In the 19th century, Henry Reed Stiles writes in his history of Connecticut that bundling “sapped the fountain of morality and tarnished the escutcheons of thousands of families,” though in Holland, where a similar practice was called “queesting”, it was hardly ever abused.
Contemporary preacher Jonathan Edwards outwardly spoke against bundling as a risky practice teetering on the edge of dangerous promiscuity, writing that this seemingly new sexual awakening of common people would “ruin a person’s reputation and be looked upon as sufficient evidences of a prostitute” had it happened in any other country; he also worried about pregnancies preceding wedlock.
While professional cuddlers have taken up the mantle for public bed-sharing these days, as a business model and cultural practice it’s a far cry from the weird dating world of yore.
Written By Aleks Tycz Dating is a game of chance, and once in awhile a date won’t go as planned.
One poem of the time, reprinted by Stiles, serves as a cautionary tale: A bundling couple went to bed With all their clothes from foot to head; That the defense might seem complete Each one was wrapped in a sheet But oh, this bundling’s such a witch The man of her did catch the itch, And so provoked was the wretch That she of his a bastard catch’d.
This unusual courtship ritual had a standard format.
Step one: invite your date home to meet your parents.
Others believe its use as a legitimate marriage bolster originated from the story of Boaz and Ruth in Judeo-Christian religious texts, as social historian Yochi Fischer-Yinon described in his article in 1969 described a student group called “The Society to Bring Back Bundling”, and according to Fischer-Yinon, bundling was seen as “a nostalgic attempt to provide a warm, safe and ‘decent’ alternative to the sexual encounters of young couples taking place in parked cars or deserted places.” But bundling was a more revolutionary approach to love than it looks to modern couples.
Historian Lucy Worsley points out that bundling “was a step along the way towards your spouse being a matter of personal choice rather than someone picked out for you by your parents.” Bundling meant that the virtues of the young couple were maintained, but they could experiment with one another, talk late into the night, and learn what it would be like to spend hours with just one person, waking up next to them in the morning. probably don’t mourn the loss, preferring to find their true loves sans bag and board—but for those of you who wish to get back to the good old days of dating, you could always give this style of authentic courtship a try.