We like to think of ourselves as the dotcom generation, bravely testing the standards of human interaction across endless miles of broadband cable. Online dating is commonplace now, yet the internet is still regarded as a force that’s changing our lives more than ever before.
Before all these advancements came to fruition, however, people used all sorts of methods to find companionship in the big, wide world. We’ve trawled through the history of dating and found that the online version really isn’t that different. Let’s take a look…
Making a Mark
Working on the land is a lonely job, and since it’s been a part of human activity for thousands of years, there’s no surprise that many countries exhibit tree carvings from centuries-old shepherds who yearned for company.
From pioneering American settlers to hardy Scandinavians, there’s a pattern of stories and messages left on the trunks of forests around the world, from men who were isolated for months on end. So if you stumble across a tree carving on your next walk in the woods, keep an eye out for Cupid overhead…
Sweat the Small Stuff
The first newspapers didn’t start circulating in the UK till about 1690, and it took a little time for personal ads to start making their way into the back pages. The first recorded Lonely Hearts column was placed by a woman in Manchester, who was promptly sent to a mental institution for trying to express her mind.
Code words and double meanings – not a million miles away from emojis, eh? – were vital for homosexuals in this age too. Although a lot of these early ads were based on how rich you wanted your partner to be, things gradually changed once the Victorians fostered more open attitudes to love and relationships.
As the turbulence of the 1960’s got underway, college newspapers were printing a lot of new-fangled student philosophy. Dating ads were extremely prevalent too, despite having a cloud of suspicion hanging over them – was it communist propaganda, or the cops trying to bust a group of free and single hippies?
British police kept trying to arrest people who placed these ads, thinking they were sex workers, but the trend took off despite the efforts of the authorities.
Back to the Future
The computer, though, was primed to take over. Harvard scientists created Operation Match in 1965, a programme that claimed to find dates through a questionnaire for the staggering sum of $3. This was the start of the internet revolution, the beginning of a landslide in romantic achievements that brings us right up to the present day.
People have always been reaching across oceans of space and time for that perfect someone. And thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to make this work. We should feel privileged; hundreds of years of dating experience has gotten us here, and the power to meet anyone is finally at our fingertips! Join FreeAndSingle today and discover how simple online dating really can be.