If courtship is difficult to imagine today, arranged marriage is so totally alien to us that it rarely even crosses people’s minds as a possibility. But — listen up, Disney Princess girls — it was the way actual princesses got married for centuries.
I mention this in respect to the difficulties of constructing a Traditional Courtship model today. If a woman isn’t going to go to college, or have a career, she really, really needs to find a husband. An arranged marriage is much easier to understand than courtship. Basically, parents find an appropriate husband for their daughters. (This implies the willingness of young men to also participate in the process, but I think that this is not necessarily such a big hurdle.) They do all the regular background work. Commonly, the young couple meets at some point, as the marriage is discussed. Mostly, this is a check to see if the proposed match meets some kind of minimum standards — not too fat, ugly or bad-mannered as to be inconceivable. But, often photographs are passed around beforehand anyway. In practice, there was some potential for overlap between an arranged marriage and courtship: an arranged pair could “court” for a month to see if there was compatibility. It is said that a woman decides within one minute whether she is going to sleep with a man. Maybe deciding whether a man is marriageable or not takes about the same amount of time.
Arranged marriages generally have a good track record of success. From the man’s point of view, if a man is interested in marriage (and many are), why not go for a beautiful, innocent young virgin bride, who, at your twenty-year wedding anniversary, is still going to be a sexy 38? And why struggle through all the difficulties of the dysfunctional dating/courtship process, perhaps over a period of years, when you can just raise your hand, say “OK, I’m ready, find me a girl,” and get matched up perhaps within a couple months?