Learn how to date like Jane Austen

Catch the Lantern's "Emma," running through Oct. 27. Credit: Mark Garvin
Catch the Lantern’s “Emma,” running through Oct. 27. Credit: Mark Garvin

The weekend will be a dream come true for local Janeites (read: exuberant fans of Jane Austen), as the Lantern Theater Company’s Jane Austen Festival swings into full promenade. The fest includes Michael Bloom’s adaption of “Emma,” running all month, along with the wine tastings, English country dance lessons and tea ritual demonstrations happening Oct. 11-15.

On Saturday, local Janeite extraordinaire Margaret C. Sullivan, author of “The Jane Austen Handbook,” will lead a discussion on etiquette and manners in the early 19th century.

We asked Sullivan about Victorian era dating — a complicated endeavor, as it turns out.

How would you ask someone on a date in Jane Austen’s England?

Well, they didn’t have dates per se. They would go to public and private balls. Anyone could buy a ticket to a public ball. People who were more upper class – or thought they were – would avoid the public ones.

So, you would ask someone to a ball, not on a date?

No. You wouldn’t ask them to go with you. You went on your own, basically, in order to find someone to eventually marry.

And how did you let this person know you were interested?

If you were a man, you would ask them to dance. If you asked her twice, everyone knew you were interested. If you asked her a third time, she and her family would likely expect a marriage proposal.

When could you be alone with her?

Once you were engaged.

Even just to talk?


That seems rather impractical.

But extremely practical for the period, because you couldn’t prove that you only talked without a witness, and that might be enough for someone to question what happened. The stakes were just so high, especially for the women. Virginity was so highly prized that even an untoward rumor could cause a woman to be considered damaged goods.


Sharpton adapts adversarial style to de Blasio's New…

It was not the first time the Reverend Al Sharpton made his way to City Hall in a fiery mood to scold a mayor about New York City police officers…


Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.


Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.


Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.


Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…