Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Courtship Rituals

Come a little bit closer you're my kind of man, so big and so strong....

These lyrics got me to thinking about proximity and courtship rituals.

Throughout history there have been many different courtship rituals that guide a lady's behavior when she sees a gentleman who catches her eye. I am sure that Kathy and some of the other historical authors can share more rituals from other cultures, but courtship rituals were clearly defined in Regency England. If everyone followed the rules then everyone else knew just where they stood in the whole courtship process. A dance or two could communicate both attraction and intention. Then there was the language of the fan. A lady could communicate by using just her fan. Wow, I wish I could do that!

As the resident single gal here under the tulip tree, I have got to tell you that things are NOT so simple now. Today many people meet their spouses while in college where every one mixes together and interacts repeatedly throughout the day. This interaction between the sexes continues day after day. If someone catches your eye you are bound to run into them in class or around campus.

This all changes as an adult. Unless you work with the person who catches your attention, in which case you are in much the same boat as a college student, you are just not going to run into the object of your interest easily. I think this may be one reason that there are so many online dating sites. Today, singles don't have any clear cut ways to signal their interest to each other so online dating sites provide a way to pave the path to a relationship.

When writing contemporary, this can also be an issue. How do you arrange proximity and/or interaction between your hero and heroine? Let's say they bump into each other while shopping or at the gym. How do you get them from smiling and nodding at each other because they recognize a familiar face to actually have a conversation and/or spending time together?

I will admit that I am struggling with this a bit. I tend to think that if a fellow is interested in dating me that he should pursue but when a guy catches my eye how can I signal Come a little bit closer you're my kind of man? What are some things you have done or had your heroine do to catch a guy's eye or encourage him to make a move?

The person with the best suggestion will win a prize to be awarded next Thursday so help a girl out!!


  1. The "damsel in distress" seems to work just fine for a lot of women/girls out there. Since I have never been one, I find myself fascinated with how women manipulate this into meeting a guy. I know in a book you don't want to make the heroine consciously use this to entrap a guy (because it makes her weak) but there might be a way for it to work. Me, on the other hand, since the rules have changed since the Stone Age when I was dating, would today walk up to a guy and engage him in conversation. Life is way too short to waste time. I guess it depends on whether your heroine is a girly-girl or a tomboy. LOL

  2. Cheryl,
    You may be onto something with the damsel in distress tactic since it has been around for centuries. Like you I would have a tough time pulling that one off but as surprising as it seems I might also have trouble with just walking up and chatting with a guy who interests me. Odd, huh??

  3. This is an interesting topic, Stephanie. With new technologies in place, dating has sure changed. I hope for the better, though there are still studies out there that say relationships are a thing of the past. Just today, on the Today show, they discussed how women were having children without marriage or a permanent relationship. The question was whether or not that celebrities, who tend to do this sort of thing and have a lot of money to get help, are giving the average child, a good example of how to live. How timely with your post!

    I think people still meet the opposite sex the way they always have. Luck plays a great part, but stranger things have happened. Like meeting a guy in the store, who happens to go to your church, or belong to this club, or know the same set of friends. I always like to think someone up in heaven is moving chess pieces, paving the way for that special someone to enter your life.

    Your time is coming, Stephanie!! ;)

  4. I never really thought of it that way before, about how you don't run into new people much in a job, etc. One great technique I know for meeting men, and I'm not sure you can do this one Stephanie, is to work on a military installation. Men everywhere. Handsome, tough men in uniforms. Perhaps you need to arrange a field trip for the kids? ;)

    You've made me think about my books though, and I have to admit that the majority of them feature people with pasts together. And when they don't have a past, there's a burning reason for one to seek the other out. And then, yes, I must force them into proximity -- like Cristiano and Antonella during the hurricane. I don't suppose you can call up a hurricane in order to spend quality time with a guy.

    I guess I'm the wrong romance writer to ask. My characters always have dramatic reasons to be around one another. There's no gentle courtship in a Presents. No figuring out how to talk to that someone who caught your eye.

  5. Kathy-I tend to agree with you that once you connect with some you often find connections that you weren't aware of so there might have been multiple ways you would have connected.

    My time is coming and it is NOW!! :-)

    Lynn- You always have the best ideas. What I need to do is plan a field trip to a military installation when a hurricane is predicted. Now why didn't I think of that!

    You are right that Presents tends to be a more dramatic situation than most of us experience in our day to day lives. That's probably one reason they continue to be so popular!

  6. Men like for you to make it easy for them but they want to be in charge. Good luck figuring that one out. I'm still trying.

  7. Jean-You have great points...how to resolve that contridiction???

  8. I can't think of anything. Now I know how old I am. LOL

  9. Patrica, don't feel bad. I can't think of anything either. lol That is sorta how today's blog was born. I was trying to think of something and I realized if it was Regency England or a Commache Village there would be rules and things for me to do to encourage a gentleman but in today's world I couldn't come up with anything that didn't seem pushy. Don't mindy trickery but pushy seems so common.

    Thanks for your comment. At least I know I am not alone with no ideas.