Flowers, candy and whiskey fueled midnight sexts are fine for chumps with no imagination. But we say if you're not willing to ritualistically shame yourself for your sweetheart, maybe it's not really love.
Just take a look at courtship rituals around the world, and you realize how much more awesome and/or insane things could be.
5Spartan Brides Butched it Up for their Wedding Days
Modern brides will do anything to get that perfect wedding day. Hair, nails, facials, dresses made of golden gossamer fairy wings; no expense is spared to play the part of the pretty, pretty princess on that special day.
"Maybe I should have chosen a husband..."
The brides of ancient Sparta were just like modern brides, if we were in Oppositeville.
For starters, they began the big day by shaving their heads. Second, they donned men's clothes and sandals. Then, instead of participating in a ridiculously expensive ceremony with family and friends, prospective brides laid alone in the dark on a pallet, waiting for their grooms to come and steal them away in the night. Once a groom had his way with his new bride, he deposited her shaved, man-clothed self back at her parent's home. Done. Married. Que romantico!
And what a lovely bride!
She wouldn't see him again until the next night, or the night after that. Sometimes, years could go by before these married lovebirds actually saw each other in the daytime.
According to some historians, to help ease the Spartan groom into heterosexuality.
Spartan men were avid practitioners of dude-love. While we might be tempted to think this made them champions of gay rights, the reality was that women were so poorly regarded in ancient Greece that, not only weren't they regarded as citizens, they didn't even deserve your warm pork injection.
The problem was that when the time came to do their duty to their species, Spartan men didn't even know where to stick their bits. So to facilitate the soldier's transition from gay love to straight love, brides shaved away their femininity and threw on some man clothes.
As for the sneaking around stuff, Spartan men were required to live in military barracks until the age of 30, but the average age of marriage for men was 25. So most couples married, did the hanky-panky in the woods or whatever, made some babies, and didn't even live in the same household for the first few years of their marriages. Hey, we wonder how the Spartan men comforted each other over the absence of the women in their lives? Eh, we'll probably never know.
4Brides Who Cry... for Weeks
A little emotion at a wedding is expected. A dramatic solitary tear, a quiet sniffle, even the occasional nose honking into a tissue is acceptable. But brides in Southwest China's Sichuan Province take it to a whole new level. For one thing, they start crying a full month before the wedding. Every night, for about an hour a night. Like, they totally pencil it onto their calendars.
9:00: The Office - New Episode!
Ten days into the ritual, things start getting really surreal. That's when the bride's mom joins the act, sobbing it up every night with her daughter. Ten days later, grandma enters the picture. By the end of the month, every female member of the family is wailing away like a very bad scene from a very bad romantic comedy.
Worst Rom-Com ever.
The custom is called Zuo Tang, or "Sitting in the Hall." It doesn't really matter what they cry about, but many brides take the opportunity to curse the jerks who arranged her marriage to the ugliest dude in the village.
It started when the mother of a Chinese princess wailed like a whiny baby at her daughter's marriage, dropping to her knees like a lowlife peasant.
Shameless, really. But apparently, because she did it, everyone thought it was tres chic, and a thousand year fad was born, only it was the brides who were expected to do the crying, and the more tears the better. Those who didn't get the job done were often beaten by their mothers.
Fast-forward a million or so years and brides in the province are still performing a version of the ceremony, singing their cries in mournful "Crying Marriage Songs," which probably sound every bit as horrible as we imagine.