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Courting Time

When a guy realized that he liked this particular girl, he made his plan to try to reach her to communicate this message. He could not meet her at high school because there was no high school. Nor could he do it at a dance or discotheque because here were no discotheques and dances were only held once in a blue moon like Christmas and Easter.

So whenever he saw the young lady coming down the street he would walk up to her and escort her wherever she was going- to the shop, her aunt’s or even home. This was the first approach. If she liked his company, she would be pleasant, respond to his conversation and even smile at his remarks. He would not tell her that he liked her, no. He would only try to be nice and communicate his interest by his nice remarks. If the young lady liked him too, she would try to find more reasons to go places to give him an opportunity to approach her. WOW! How romantic. On weekends, she would come out for a short walk along with her girl friends, and again the enamored gentleman would be quick to escort her in her pleasure walk. Pretty soon they would go over to Central Park where there were a few wooden benches and there they would talk endlessly. If he was astute and had the courage, pretty soon he would be holding her hands- a sign that both had accepted each other. And after that, there was no problem giving her a kiss for the park had no lights and the couple could enjoy ample privacy. There might be one or two other couples there, but they too were preoccupied in their own affairs.

Now following his closeness in their relationship, he would be the main guy dancing with her at Daddy’s Club which held a dance on special occasions. He could now get as close to her in public with his arms around her waist. Now everyone in the village knew that this was a pretty steady couple. He would escort her home after the dance and then be able to exchange conversation with the girl’s mother who had chaperoned her to the dance.

Sounds like a complicated and too long a ritual? Don’t worry; everyone went through it as it was the culture of San Pedro. Now it was time to formalize this relationship. The guy would write a letter to the father of the girl’s family asking for permission to visit her at the house. This was the ultimate in dating. Of course the young lady would be questioned by the father who pretended that he did not know anything. She would consent to the relationship and the dad would write back giving him permission to visit his home from 7 to 9 .m. And there the courting grew into a romance and knowing each other relationship for a year or two leading into marriage.

Anybody in San Pedro over 50 years of age knows what I am talking about, and the younger ones must be thinking that this was way to old fashioned and complicated. But it was worth the time and effort, right? So stay tuned for next week I shall give you the details of this very picturesque courting period at the girl’s home. It will be interesting, so make sure you read and tell me if courting wasn’t romantic twenty five years ago. I expect your phone calls or response letters to, especially from young people and foreigners who have a different culture.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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