This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The changing language of courtship

In genealogical terms, I am a never m., no children. Fortunately for families, people do marry and have children. Like most people, I have a curiosity about how grandma and grandpa met. Doing genealogical research, I have learned a lot about courtship, and how things change - and remain the same, we just give them different names.

The language of courtship is meant to help people to express things that are, well, kind of personal. And euphemisms, which are meant to be discreet, turn into dirty words. I noticed yesterday that medical form used the word "gender" in the space devoted to telling them if you are male or female. The word sex can't be used anymore because it no longer means gender to most people, it means, well, sex.

Another expression that is no longer polite is "making love". If you watch an old black-and-white movie, you may hear that expression and wonder what in the world is that kind of language doing there in a nice old movie? Making love to them just mean courtship, and expressing romantic affection, not, well, making love.

In your grandparents' day, "dating" meant setting a time and a place to meet with someone whom you would like to know romantically. The next step after dating was "going steady", then engagement, then marriage. Marriage and engagement are still common terms today, but "going steady" isn't. It has been replaced with dating, as in "she and I have been dating for several years." The old concept of dating has been replacing with simply "meeting". Doesn't sound as romantic, but some day it will.
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