Vintage dating in a modern world

Finding someone who shares your passion for vintage brings pleasure to the lifestyle; it can help your enthusiasm grow, mature and ‘come-to-life’. However such a relationship can often feel completely unattainable. We’re a strange bunch of people, preferring books to television and walks to action films, are there really enough of us to go around… and how do you go about meeting someone?

Modern men and women don’t have the same romantic resources that we might once have had such as debutante ‘coming-out’ balls, family introductions, organised dances. It can seem impossible to meet a like-minded individual. On top of that, our pool of potential romantic partners is significantly reduced. Do many people enjoy slow paced dating and wholesome entertainment? Well, I think people yearn for old fashioned dating! Someone who appreciates romance, taking things slowly and getting to know one another through shared interests. There may be less of us out there, but that makes it much easier to spot a compatible someone! There are many reasons to cherish and enjoy vintage dating.


When you get past the first hurdle of meeting someone there is great fun to be had with another vintage soul. You can go for a vintage bike ride through a country park, cook a rationed three-course meal together or take a trip to the seaside on the train. Not to mention attend the many weekend events around the country including airshows, vintage fairs and retro festivals. We have the opportunity to get away from all the commercialisation that has seeped into Britain since the Second World War. Instead of putting on grey jogging bottoms and watching reality television, we can play boardgames over a cup of cocoa and instead of shopping in Sainsbury’s on a Saturday, we can work on our Dig for Victory garden together. And here is a point I feel is crucial to vintage dating in a modern world, although it may be for different reasons – both men and women in my experience, feel under pressure to ‘enjoy the single life’. It can be seen as desperate, unattractive and weird to say you want to be in a relationship. However I don’t feel there’s any shame in saying that you would like to be with someone, settle down and dare I say it – get married. If you’re young, thinking along those lines is a bit infra dig in the 21st century. Although many people enjoy being single, sharing your history-based hobbies with someone else is very enjoyable too.

But perhaps I’ve skipped a beat, is it really that easy to meet someone? Events on the scene are often attended by couples, leaving you wondering if you’re the only one left! Pubbing and clubbing doesn’t generally appeal to those in the vintage community and sadly, this often seems like the only option nowadays. The best advice is to go to dance classes (Lindy Hop is very popular), join a book reading group, work on the community allotment. You might not meet someone straight away, but a lot of good relationships are formed through introduction by a friend. So make as many like-minded friends as you can! You never know, that middle-aged gardener might have a single son or daughter. Or the vintage couple you see at re-enactment events are pretty likely to have a single companion (who probably didn’t want to come along on his or her own). Back in the good old days a new couple would frequently both bring along a friend, so take advantage and ask your vintage connections to set you up!


As much as I hate to say it, one of the very best ways of meeting someone in the modern world is through internet dating. But be warned, if you do dip into the oftentimes seedy world of online dating, you will have to get past the countless messages of “Hi babe, wanna chat?” or “U sEm lIk fun, iz history aL you’re intRStd in?” So ignore any ‘winks’ or ‘pokes’, block any messages under 50 characters and clearly state your interests. You’re much more likely to meet someone compatible if you put yourself right out there from the start. A lot of men say that they feel under pressure to approach women and perhaps resent the fact that they are expected to ‘do the asking’, so to speak. However in my experiences (online and offline), vintage men do genuinely enjoy asking a woman they admire on a date and in return, vintage women appreciate the gentlemanly approach. If you’re more of a forward thinking vintage enthusiast, you might disagree with this kind of gendered attitude (and I don’t expect every person who reads this to agree).


But if like me, you’re into old fashioned dating, then this type of courting can work out quite well. If you’re a man, take the time to write messages and only contact women you are certainly interested in. Even if it’s with a polite ‘no’, don’t leave the poor fella hanging and keep your responses ladylike. If you’re both getting on, take it offline as quickly as possible. No one can get to know someone properly over the net – we might have to resort to using it to find someone, but try and meet them in person as soon as possible. If it isn’t going to work out it’s better to know sooner rather than later so you don’t risk being accused of leading someone on. The safety rules always apply, tell a friend or family member where you’re going and arrange your date in a public location. That said, I think the stigma of online dating needs to be re-evaluated. The majority of people online aren’t looking to cause us harm. It pays to be safety conscious but ultimately, most people are just like you and me, hoping to meet someone similar.

Once you’ve met someone, you might find a whole new world of vintage opens up to you. Just make sure to introduce your single friends to their single friends! The more vintage romance out there, the better.


Ava Aviación is an English vintage model and historian living in the 1940s!  She is  interested in social history, specifically women’s lives during the Second World War.

Photo by Jez Brown