Way back when, well actually, way, way back when, in Colonial America, there was a common courting or as we call it now, dating, practice brought from Europe. Before you yawn and think prudish puritans, sit down and have a short read. Our predecessors were not as inhibited as we have been told. Perhaps there was a little truth to the farmer’s daughter jokes?
Many a weekend evening, a single young man and woman of marriage age could be found spending the night together, in bed, in the parent’s home. Yes, you read it right. Of course, there were proper precautions made. The participants must go to bed fully clothed. A little extra clothing was usually added to the young lady’s evening wear. The final “protection” was a board or pillows to act as a barrier between the two potential lovebirds.
The stated purpose was for the two potential mates to talk into the evening in private. To get to know each other better – through conversation. No hanky panky. Sorry, even if a chastity belt was used, those belts were rumored to be broken into. If the obstacles of a car backseat haven’t stopped couples in recent decades from a little smooching, surely a pillow or board didn’t stop any of those red-blooded pioneers.
How this practice contributed to shotgun weddings is a subject for another day. One can only imagine. . .
Want to know more? Here are some great references, two links and two books available on Amazon.
Colonial Williamsburg https://www.history.org/foundation/journal/holiday07/court.cfm
Little Known Facts About Bundling In the New World, A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. 1938 http://amzn.to/2phv1Vn
Bundling; Its Origin, Progress and Decline in America, by Henry Reed Stiles, May 17, 2012 http://amzn.to/2oMO8VM