Truth in Courtship

Kristin Holt | Truth in Courtship: 1865, styled divider

TRUTH IN COURTSHIP

Party Face

Anyone who has ever been on a date (or thought about it) understands the desire to “put their best foot forward”–which, essentially, means to appear your best, show your best qualities and downplay your greatest flaws. In today’s vernacular, I’d call it “a party face”. Perhaps the polar opposite of Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Masks and Victorian Attitudes, an article directly related to Truth in Courtship: 1865

I shared advice published in 1853 that cautions young people to exercise extreme caution. Why? Because the perfectly polished lady in the ball room cannot be all there is to the woman. One must assume that poise and beauty and appeal visible “in company” might not be “all”. What is the young lady like first thing in the morning? Or when well and truly vexed? Gentlemen, make no mistake!

Truth in Courtship

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Word Definitions

I wrote a post about the changing meaning of “lovemaking (also love-making, making love). As used in Victorian times, the phrase/term was rated G. Lovemaking meant the process of courtship and falling in love. Today, lovemaking usually means physical intimacies. Readers of Sweet Romance don’t want to see the details within the scenes of a book.

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Kristin Holt | Definition of Love Making was Rated G in 19th Century

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Kristin Holt - "Myriad Definitions of Sweet Romance and/or Clean Romance" by USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt..

Another term has changed, appreciably, since Victorian times: lover(s)“. During the nineteenth century the term was rated G. “Lover” simply meant one with affection, love, and attachment for another. A courting couple would be called lovers. Today this term has come to (almost exclusively) mean those who engage in a sexual relationship (and probably love each other). Though one could be a “dog lover.” Or an “ice cream lover.”

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Victorian Advice

TRUTH IN COURTSHIP.

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Be true to your lover. I don’t mean stick to him, but don’t deceive him. Let him know, let her know, what sort of person you really are. Tell each other your faults; make known your real opinions; state your view of married life, and what you expect to do and do as married companions. Despise and adjure the humbugging which is almost universal among lovers.

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Girls keep out of sight all their failings, and do their best to cause their beaux to think them angels, and men bow like slaves to every wish or whim of their lady loves, and seem to live but to make them happy. Now this is not as it ought to be; it will not be so after marriage. The woman will grow weary of always acting her prettiest; and the man will not endure all sorts of inconveniences, and submit to all sacrifices to please the woman who is securely his own.

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It is the dearest pleasure of every true woman to obey and make happy the man she loves, and if he is kind and reasonable; but how much better it would be to teach the sweetheart the truth instead of a falsehood as to her future position. I won’t say anything more to the girls, for as they have to wait to be wooed and won, and as they have fewer chances than men have, there is more excuse for them to put the best side out; only let them always strive to keep it out, and we have no further controversy with them.

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But men are without excuse for holding out such pretenses as they do. They are cruel and unwise. Cruel, because the pain which the woman will feel when all his subserviency [sic] and difference to her is withheld, will be in proportion to the pleasure with which it is received; unwise, because it may be such a shock to her as to cause her resolutely to rebel, or silently cease to love.– In either case the husband will be severely punished for ignoring their just relations to each other.

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Holmes Country Farmer of Millersburg, Ohio, on January 26, 1865

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Test His Disposition

Kristin Holt | Segment of "Private Lectures to Mothers and Daughters on sexual purity including love, courtship, marriage, sexual physiology, and the evil effects of tight lacing. By Daniel Otis Teasley. Published in or before 1904. Article stresses: Truth in Courtship.

Private Lectures to Mothers and Daughters on sexual purity including love, courtship, marriage, sexual physiology, and the evil effects of tight lacing. By Daniel Otis Teasley, and published in or before 1904.

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The above paragraph is from Private Lectures to Mothers and Daughters. Written by Daniel Otis Teasley (1876-1942), this book was published in 1904. His advice presented in the quote, above, cautions young ladies to entrust their affections to young men who treat their mothers and sisters kindly. Wise and still true today. Teasley’s advice reflects the Victorian America’s attitudes about courtship. He also shares direction about bestowing favors (such as confessing love for a suitor). And the all-important preparation for marriage.

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Related Articles

Kristin Holt | Courtship, Old West Style

Kristin Holt | Mary for True Love or Riches. 1886

Kristin Holt | Brief Victorian Engagements. Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Correspondence Courtship Scam. Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Masks and Victorian Attitudes. Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Errors of Modern Courtship: 1881. Related to Truth in Courtship..

Kristin Holt | Victorian Courtship: Love in Pa's Hat (1880). Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Rapid Wooing: Courted and Married All Inside of Twenty-four Hours (1891). Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Modern Lovers Have New Ways (1902). Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Definition of Love Making was Rated G in 19th Century. Realted to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Courtin in Public Parks: 1893. Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | A Proper Victorian Courtship. Related to Truth in Courtship..

Kristin Holt | How to Attract Men: 1894. Related to Truth in Courtship: 1865.

Kristin Holt | The Spinster Book: 1901 (And Men Are Like Cats). Related to Truth in Courtship.

Kristin Holt | Brown's Matrimonial Method. Related to Truth in Courtship: 1865.

Kristin Holt | Old Fashioned Notions about Marriageable Women. Related to Truth in Courtship: 1865.

Kristin Holt - "Myriad Definitions of Sweet Romance and/or Clean Romance" by USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt.

Updated June 2019
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