Yesterday, I was reading a post about women living alone, which was quite interesting. What they do to avoid harassment and stuff.
Today, I took a walk, and saw this old woman with a flock of about 20 goats, cutting weeds and grass with a sickle, This was on a public park land, but here that is ok. She was probably going to collect it for winter feed. Anyway, here in Ukraine, that is perfectly normal. No one thinks anything of it. If she did that in the USA, she'd probably be harassed by all kinds of people including the police.
We get harassed whenever we do something unusual, something different. So to avoid harassment, you almost need to find a place where what you want to do is considered normal.
200 years ago, a guy could ask a complete stranger to marry him, and no one would think anything of it. She would often say yes. Sure, if she was an upper class lady living in a city, a guy couldn't talk to her without being formally introduced, but if she was a normal woman living out in the country, she'd consider it totally normal and acceptable behavior. Back then, I believe people were much happier and had much happier marriages that were usually life long. The upper class people probably were less happy with marriages that were less happy as well. In the Bible, for example, is a story about Abraham sending a servant to find a wife for his son (Gen 24), and he decides if the girl offers to draw water for his camels, she's the one. That was all he needed to know.
I would imagine, in those days, many people learned English by reading the Bible, so the social norms in the Bible, were often considered norms in society as well. So letting someone else choose a wife or husband for you, or asking a stranger to marry you, would have been more normal to them.
Another thing I see, is a lot of people who get so frustrated with the dating scene, they just want to give up. I actually have been in that category for a while. I actually had a plan to move to a deserted island or something. I never did, but I was seriously planning it. 'Course, before I did that, I spent some time literally going around asking girls to marry me. Gave up when they started chasing me with torches and pitchforks. Well, not quite, but... Anyway, I didn't want to just give up without trying everything first. 200 years ago, that kind of behavior would be perfectly acceptable, and not even considered desperate. A guy might even do that as the first thing he does, when he decides to find a wife. Now days, however, it is really strange behavior that makes people freak out.
I'm a bit strange, in terms of conforming to society. I pretty much ignore the norms of society, and do what I want, or what I think is the right thing to do. I don't do stupid things. I know it may sound stupid to ask a stranger to marry you, but from what I've seen, it is more likely to result in happy long lasting marriage than dating is. It is a thought out and researched thing, that just sounds stupid or crazy.
Anyway, I wonder what other people do, when they are ready to give up on the dating scene. Do they try go so far as to start asking people to marry them, or what other strange desperate or unusual methods they try. I would hope people don't just try the society norm way, and keep trying that one way, and eventually give up and decide to live alone.
If we people break from one society norm, in growing our own food, seems like we ought to feel more free to break from society norms on other ways as well.
Not that I completely disagree with you, but there are lots of things that were commonplace 200 years ago that would seem completely odd now.
Your comment at the start regarding the woman and her herd of goats reminded me of a penpal of mine in the Czech Republic. She talked about the generational "community plots" there, and how it was land adopted by families from the state and then maintained for years and years, even some with elaborate fencing, garden sheds, and the like. This was a tradition from perhaps hundreds of years ago, still considered commonplace and a matter of course today.
Here in the east coast US, I'm unfamiliar with such a tradition locally, though I imagine lots of folks would definitely be interested... For one, the community garden where I have a plot is plowed over every year, and that's a serious setback to long-term plans. The solution is to "go buy some land," which is a challenge for many (including myself).
Regarding your comments about seeking someone to marry or otherwise foster a long-term or even lifelong commitment: again, going along with the current social and cultural norms does have its merits, I suppose. Those who deliberately buck those trends will have a tough(er) time finding their spouse during typical times. The good news is that when you're forced to look in the "nooks and crannies," you'll both avoid people who are themselves wedded to cultural norms, and are likely to find more people who also avoid the dominant culture.
Maybe nowadays, since the pandemic has seemingly shaken up a lot of typical life and expectations, it may be a good time to find more people - and potential partners - who embrace more non-traditional lifestyles. Not gonna get too personal here, but sometimes it takes a good ol' fashioned crisis for people to consider life outside their "way it's always been." If you consider yourself outside of the typical, then now may be a good time to be on the lookout (again).
While I like much of your post, I don't agree that marriages were historically happier. Women didn't have a choice, nobody cared if they were happy. From what I hear, widows were happy. It was a way to be free without shame.
If getting married is your priority there are dating sites that cater specific to this and have been proven statistically effective and perhaps more so as time goes on. In the Philippines among other countries, there are many single women who want to marry a foreigner and aren't particular so long as they do not have to sell out on their values. Which for a Roman Catholic Country are not to be taken lightly as most share the same family values which are often held in higher esteem than individual values. I thought in the Ukraine there were many women ready to marry a foreigner as well??
In any case, good luck. In a post-pandemic world money talks. And in a post-capitalist world anything goes... but balance is a virtue.
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown