Dearest reader: Dating in the 19th century had a few perks...and pitfalls.
Thanks to Netflix's megahit series, Bridgerton, fans have been immersed in what life was like in 1813 London, especially when it comes to the formal, regulated courting. As viewers quickly learned, matters of the heart were handled quite differently more than 200 years ago. During a remote appearance on Conan on Thursday, Jan. 28, Phoebe Dynevor—the star behind Daphne Bridgerton—highlighted the pros and cons of dating in the time of Bridgerton versus the social media-driven landscape of today.
"I think the problem today is that there is no social etiquette," she told Conan O'Brien, "so you can ghost someone and just sort of blank them completely and there's no repercussions to that, so that's something you have to deal with."
Back in 1813, a man made it much clearer if they were romantically interested. "If someone was into you, they would come round and bring you a big bouquet of flowers," she explained. "It was pretty much as simple as that, so you knew where you stood with people. I think that was the benefit of being a woman back in those day—obviously, that's probably the only benefit."
On Bridgerton, Daphne has no other choice but to wed and is harassed by suitor Nigel Berbrooke, who insists on marrying her despite her repeated objections. As she pointed out, the situation would be different in 2021. "If there's a Nigel Berbrooke of today, I don't have to pander—I can just say, 'No, I'm good. Thank you.' I don't even have to say, 'Thank you.' I can just say, 'Bye.'"
While viewers have gotten caught up in the affairs of Bridgerton's main players, the on-screen steaminess has naturally spurred curiosity about any off-screen romance, particularly when it comes to Dynevor and her co-star, Regé-Jean Page (Duke of Hastings Simon Basset).
"I think that everything you need to know is on camera," Page said in an Access Hollywood interview in response to a question about who in the cast is dating. "I think that the sparky words, the scripts and material are more than enough."