The Art of Courting

Being Fit to Court

How to Be a Gentleman

Gentlemen guides existed in order to teach young men how to act acceptably in society.

To be a gentleman in the Victorian Era, you should stand up the first time a lady enters a room or takes her final leave, and you must always open the door for a lady, as long as you are in reasonable proximity to it. A gentleman should never remove his coat while standing, sitting, riding, or walking with a lady, but must always remove his hat if speaking to a woman.

 How to Be a Lady

In the Victorian Era, a single woman should always be with a chaperone older than herself and should preferably be married. She should never look back after anyone in the street, or turn to stare at others. Intelligence is not encouraged, nor is an interest in politics. She should not gossip, chew gum or fix her appearance in public. Slang or bad language is discouraged.

 You’ve Found the Person You Wish to Court

The Importance of the Introduction

Courting cards, also known as “escort” or “flirtation” cards were a way for 19th Century singles to bend the rules of social interaction. Without a formal introduction, men could use these cards to introduce themselves to women.

Back in the 18th and 19th Century, a man and woman needed to be introduced to each other before they should begin speaking. A gentleman would have to go through the proper channels of introduction, which meant that he would look for a mutual friend of theirs to introduce them. If this did not work, he would try to get the ladies attention by attending places he knew she frequented.

Fanning For Attention

Due to the strict code of etiquette that was to be followed during the Victorian era, new ways to court were invented. Items such as fans, gloves, and handkerchiefs were given meaning as were objects given as gifts called “love token” such as flowers, painted miniatures, or jewellery sets with gemstones of a particular significance.


How to Flirt With Your Fan:

Fan Movement What it Meant
Fan fast I am independent
Fan slow I am engaged
Fan with right hand in front of face Come on
Fan with left hand in front of face Leave me
Fan open and shut Kiss me
Fan open wide Love
Fan half open Friendship
Fan shut Hate
Fan swinging Can I see you home?

Courting Today: It’s Costly

According to a study from, the cost of being in a relationship in 2015 from the first date to your wedding day was $50,399.20. In one year of dating it is estimated that couples spend $7,740.21 on dates, vacations, and other expenses like flowers and clothes. During an engagement of one year, a couple spends around $10,913.99 on dates, clothing, an engagement ring and an engagement party. On top of this the average Canadian wedding costs $31,685.00, which includes the dress, the venue, and a honeymoon.