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Marrying for love was pure fantasy and relegated to works of popular fiction.Set in Yonkers, New York, just before the turn of the 20 addresses a pivotal time in courtship’s history: “dating” as we currently know it didn’t yet exist, and America’s constantly shifting class mobility made traditional courtship difficult.Also in the Prince relationship mix during the 1980s was singer and drummer Sheila E, with the pair getting close after meeting in 1978 which led to Prince working and recording with Sheila on a variety of projects, including Purple Rain.She was the most successful of the singer's protegees, going on to find her own success with songs like The Glamorous Life which was released in 1984 and earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nomination.On July 11, 1958, newlyweds Richard and Mildred Loving were asleep in bed when three armed police officers burst into the room.The couple were hauled from their house and thrown into jail, where Mildred remained for several days, all for the crime of getting married.
Men were expected to marry within the same class to preserve their family’s social standing; courting a woman from a family “above” or “below” his own class standing was frowned upon.
So why would a successful, widowed bachelor like the play’s protagonist, Horace Vandergelder, seek out a matchmaker to find him a new bride?
Looking back at the evolution of courting customs in America over the last two centuries sheds light on the factors that would have influenced Vandergelder’s search.
In one sense, this is a story about the exploitative possibilities of online matchmaking: the opportunities to flagrantly misrepresent oneself, the ease of trawling for specific targets.
(John, who was white, pursued only Asian women, leaving his girlfriends with the icky sense that they’d been fetishized as well as deceived.) Still, romantic scammers aren’t an invention of modern courtship and its digital devices.
Since Shakespeare’s time, farcical romances featuring classic tropes like mistaken identity, love at first sight and couples breaking through society’s class barriers have long been a favorite staple of theatergoers.