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While professional cuddlers have taken up the mantle for public bed-sharing these days, as a business model and cultural practice it’s a far cry from the weird dating world of yore. Anyone who's been single in the last few years knows that the singles scene has become a much more complicated place than it was in days of yore.
Others believe its use as a legitimate marriage bolster originated from the story of Boaz and Ruth in Judeo-Christian religious texts, as social historian Yochi Fischer-Yinon described in his article in 1969 described a student group called “The Society to Bring Back Bundling”, and according to Fischer-Yinon, bundling was seen as “a nostalgic attempt to provide a warm, safe and ‘decent’ alternative to the sexual encounters of young couples taking place in parked cars or deserted places.” But bundling was a more revolutionary approach to love than it looks to modern couples.
Historian Lucy Worsley points out that bundling “was a step along the way towards your spouse being a matter of personal choice rather than someone picked out for you by your parents.” Bundling meant that the virtues of the young couple were maintained, but they could experiment with one another, talk late into the night, and learn what it would be like to spend hours with just one person, waking up next to them in the morning. probably don’t mourn the loss, preferring to find their true loves sans bag and board—but for those of you who wish to get back to the good old days of dating, you could always give this style of authentic courtship a try.
The latter was probably a legitimate fear; pregnancies following bundling weren’t unheard of, and one in 10 of every first child born in colonial America was born eight months after marriage.
One poem of the time, reprinted by Stiles, serves as a cautionary tale: A bundling couple went to bed With all their clothes from foot to head; That the defense might seem complete Each one was wrapped in a sheet But oh, this bundling’s such a witch The man of her did catch the itch, And so provoked was the wretch That she of his a bastard catch’d.
Step two: watch in horror as your mother ties you up from feet to waist in a heavy sack.