Courtship through the ages…manners change, or do they?

Camera ready...action!
I had such a great day yesterday filming for the ABC show “Can we Help?”on the subject of courtship and marriage from the 1950’s to the present.

While I am very comfortable with radio interviews, TV is obviously a completely different vehicle for interviews and I was nervous. But the presenter, Christian Horgan, the director, James, and the crew were fantastic and assisted in making me feel completely at ease.
James directing on small matters of detail

It was filmed at various places in my home, as each decade was broken up into its own segment with the filming style reflecting the style of the time: the 1950’s in the reception room over afternoon tea; the 1960’s and 70’s around the pool with Christian changing into a very retro 70’s looking shirt; the 80’s and 90’s in my kitchen, leaning on a bench; and the 21st century decades in my office with my computer and online dating sites as the desktop backgrounds. And all of this in 36 degree heat! Fortunately I have a very efficient airconditioning unit and it was working at full capacity, combatting the heating effects of professional TV lighting.

I had undertaken a vast amount of research about this "courtship through the ages” topic. I have etiquette books which I have uncovered in ancient bookshops all around the world going back to the beginning of the 20th century.

And some of the quotes are priceless. In Etiquette and Good Manners by Sarah Maclean, published by Pan Books Ltd. London, 1962 the introduction included the following:” ‘ All the world loves a lover’, an etiquette book of the 1920s advised the engaged couples, ‘but this does not keep the world from watching closely and criticising severely any breach of good manners – especially on the part of the engaged girl.’ “

From Australian Etiquette. The Rules of Good Society by Lillian M. Pyke , published by J. Pollard, Melbourne 1953: “ The Courtship: There is no fixed rule regarding the period of courtship and the length is usually arranged to meet circumstances for the benefit of both parties. It is customary for the father of the prospective bride to give consent prior to the proposal of marriage being made. The father will naturally expect to be informed fully as to the position and prospects of the person seeking the hand of his daughter”.

And then we had the 1970s when everything loosened with regard to ritual; the 1980s when I was first married and while traditions were still retained the concepts of marriage consummation during the honeymoon had long gone and the wedding gift register had made an appearance; the 90s when the concept of the prenuptial agreement gained a strong following; and the 21st century when I became a “mother of the bride”…and revelled in the rituals surrounding a classical wedding; and now the ‘teens when internet dating has given a whole new meaning to “courtship” and romance.

And the final comments that Christian and I made during the interview were that romance and communication between two people are what make love, courtship and commitment a joy…and a liberal dose of good manners helps too.


  1. Any chance of this program being broadcasted on European TV?
    P.S. Bravo for being so brave to go through this ordeal in such blistering hot conditions.

  2. I'm not sure if it will make it to Europe Martine. It is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Thank you for your comment. I was "glowing"throughout and moping with powder to stop the "shine" But it was good fun!


Post a Comment