If there’s one thing out of the cornucopia of achievements that Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton has successfully brought back, it’s the return of good old-fashioned, butterfly-inducing amóre.
As far as period dramas go, Bridgerton has single-handedly attracted millions of viewers, during its initial Christmas release date, and further paved the way for a resurgence of Regency-era romance, a la Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice). Hearts fluttered as we met the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton, who serve as the show’s leading stars. The story is set amongst the days of drawing room courtships, ballroom dances, and daily promenades along Richmond Park. Love matches were made and dealt with amongst the ton’s discerning mammas who, in their way, compete like a bunch of Olympians, setting their eyes on the prize, and that would be a romance that benefits the standing of an entire family.
While the modern-day dating scene doesn’t involve that level of pressure anymore, what’s evident with this generation is that technology has suddenly taken a higher precedence in our daily lives. From the moment we wake up, our eyes are glued to our phone screens since the collective stream of our consciousness is now linked to all sorts of applications on our mobiles. Right now, because of the readily available tech in our hands, we use it to communicate with the outside world more than taking daily dalliances at the park or sitting alfresco at a cafe.
Now, although the digital dating scene has paved the way for more connections through apps, such as Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder, it has become a glaringly obvious fact, that despite the multitude of people out there, the feeling of being alone is still prevalent. How is that possible? And when did this happen? These are usually the questions that occur in one’s mind upon thinking about the complexities of millennial dating.
Nowadays, it’s merely swiping right and left on someone’s profile picture, reading a few witty lines that could certainly pass off as product descriptions for Amazon, and deciding whether this initial conversation makes it worth going to the actual date itself. It makes meeting someone less unique, especially if there is no end goal in sight, a convenient interlude to an endless cycle of relationships, where you don’t know if it’s meant to stagnate or last. Bridgerton has reignited that desire for a purposeful courtship that would meet both people’s wants and needs.
Sam, (IG: @samcoloso), a 22-year-old beauty queen from Manila, Philippines, upon watching the show said: “A long courtship always manifested in Filipino culture, call it traditional. But I think that this form of dating is one of the things plenty of women dream of and still do. After watching Bridgerton, I think girls would realize and remember not to settle for the bare minimum, that they are worth spending time, energy, and effort with. With Bridgerton being a big hit, I hope it influences the younger generation in terms of courtship and finding the right partner.”
Women, at times, lament the loss of affectionate displays that were shown between Simon and Daphne. If anything, the biggest debacle at the moment is the treatment of men now vs. the Regency Dandy. Is there a profound difference between how men treat women now, compared to how things were done before? While it’s true that long-winded love-letters and passionate declarations of love such as “I BURN for you” are a rarity, and there are notable differences between how things were done back then, it would still be a beautifully definitive scenario if true love were articulated in that way.
Angel, a 23- year-old beauty vlogger, from Santa Barbara, California has this to say: “It’s like we only ever hear about these romantic courtships and not really see or feel it with our own. We can only imagine in hopes of a ‘one day’ that only exists in our fairy tale dreams...but then again sometimes it does happen, and it takes you by surprise and you realize that anything is possible with a love that is real and true. In that case, sex is just a bonus and everything else is what matters. We can’t really say if it was so different back then compared to now because each situation is different. I think that the only difference is that now it’s 2021 and back then was back then, it’s all just moulded into modern times.”
For others, the rebirth of this “old” practice wouldn’t be plausible, simply because contemporary practices are favoured over tradition any day, especially now. Dating etiquette, which was formerly held with the utmost esteem, has not been evident for a while, like anything else, it has become so instantaneous for both genders. Davide, a 27-year-old, software engineer from Milan, Italy says: “ I don't think it will make a comeback, because everyone in society would have to change for that. Yes, everything is connected, so those old mannerisms wouldn’t show up in the next year or decades even, I’m speaking for this part of the world at least. But there is no denying that there must be small-scale percentage of these practices around somewhere. “
In the end, even if these practices take some time to come back, Simon, Daphne, and the rest of the Bridgerton cast have proved that true love still exists, that one shouldn’t give up hope on securing a truest and wonderful love match that would even have Lady Whistledown, jotting down the most minute detail about it.
Words by Cyan Leigh Dacasin
Sub Editor Primrose Jeanton