Old school dating etiquette

A marriage wasn’t always about a man and woman declaring their love in front of their friends and family.

For many centuries, it was about the bride’s family coming up with an appealing dowry—a fancy word for “bribe”—to entice a husband into matrimony.

That used to be called “being a gentleman.” For more about being a gentleman, read up on the 20 Things She Always Wants You To Say.

If you thought we covered our mouths to stop from breathing in germs, you’d be wrong.

Pointing intensifies the sense we all have at times of being known and yet not-known—of helpless exposure to uncomprehending eyes that imagine they comprehend us.” The Ancient Romans set the precedent for wearing black while in mourning—they had a dark toga called a “Toga Pulla” that was worn for funerals and occasional for protests—and the tradition continued in the Middle Ages in Europe, where black clothes were not just worn to demonstrate your sad feelings but to show off your wealth.

Who else but a fabulously wealthy person could afford to walk around in a fancy black outfit just because somebody in his family had died?

Unless by “germs” you mean “the devil.” In ancient Rome, opening your mouth without protection was just asking for trouble.

Some reported encountering yawning dogs, which caused them to yawn, and then the dog “disappeared from sight and I was seized with fever and my face was turned round backwards.” Think about that the next time you cover your mouth while yawning. If you’re yawning too much, you should work on your sleep by learning the 11 Doctor-Approved Secrets For Falling Asleep Faster Tonight.

Such exclamations as “The Dickens,” or “Mercy,” or “Good Gracious,” should never be used,” the author writes.

But by extending a right hand, it was a way of saying, “I’ve decided against stabbing you.” For more etiquette advice, check our Sophisticated Man’s Guide to Fine Dining.

Showing up to a party with a bottle of wine, or some gift for the host or hostess, feels downright obligatory in today’s age—but the tradition has only been around for less than a century.

A man always carried a sword on his left side—easier to grasp it with his right hand—so keeping his lady to his right meant he was less likely to stab her accidentally.

Even when swords fell out of fashion, men liked to position themselves closer to the street, to protect their feminine partners from imminent dangers, like runaway carriages and horse poop.

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