half a bed for rent

in colonial times young couples thinking about marriage practised a custom called bundling.

In the eighteenth century, bundling was roughly equivalent to a “modern day “night at the drive-in with a hot date in the back seat, except that the cavorting took place at the girl’s home and more often than not was encouraged by the parents.

if a couple were seriously courting, they spent a night together in the girl’s bed to ensure compatibility. There were ground rules: underclothes must be kept on at all times and there should be no hanky-panky. To that end, the bundling board or the bundling sack might make an appearance. The bundling board was a large plank placed between the two lovers. The bundling sack was like a double sleeping bag sewn up the middle.

Sometimes, the girl wore a sack that was enclosed with a slip knot at the bottom and tied with a drawstring at the waist. If a parent had anxiety about the situation, the sack could be sewn shut.

In early homes, bed space often fell short of demand, and it was not uncommon that individual homeowners would sometimes rent out “half a bed” for a night to a weary traveler. Rumor has it that strangers sometimes “bundled” with young ladies though more often than not, it was the head of the household who would share his bed in this manner.

we don’t encourage this practice at the gimcrack, though there are some patients nursemyra would like to see in a sack tied with more than a slipknot at the waist

Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 11:41 am  Comments (21)  

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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Underpants must be kept on at all times? I think this may be how dry humping was invented.

  2. And I’m sure, from experience, that you have patients there who seek “half a bed for rent” all the time. They probably have never slept alone in their lives before, and don’t understand a half-empty bed.
    I wonder how many young gents crawled into the bundling sack with their jackknife at the ready. And from experience I can tell you that underpants are little deterrent to a determined couple’s coupling.

  3. Underpants, sacks and boards aside, historians who have studied the birth and marriage records of the time found that more often than not babies arrived within months of weddings proving once again that teens and young adults are very ingenious indeed.

  4. All I can say is ………. scissors!

  5. Shit, that sound like dating a mormon.

  6. Or a moron…

  7. Great album cover! But I wonder what it sounds like!!!

  8. I have no idea Olga. the cover of this album intrigues me because the inmate on the left looks a lot like Brother Justin from Carnivale.

    have you seen that television series?

  9. hmmm… in these trying economic times, perhaps i should rent out the empty half of my bed? would piss off my dog, but he doesn’t pay rent, so he’s got no say in the matter…

  10. I’m sure you’d have plenty of takers if you decided to do that….. 🙂

  11. It’s certainly where Brother Justin belongs – in a straightjacket, that is.

    On the whole though, those ‘Crazy People’ look a great deal more sane than the average sitting of Australian parliament.

  12. do you think he looks like him too? though I guess he’s too young, think this record was from the fifties

  13. I can imagine that during bundling there was a lot of bumbling and then some … tumbling … “Oh, is that my stomach rumbling? Be right back gotta get a snack!”

  14. Great album cover! But I wonder what it sounds like!!!

    Google and Youtube, man.

  15. thanks Abbadon!

  16. How truly bizarre. Whilst fishing this weekend, my pops was telling me about, of all things, bundling boards, of which you speak here. Crazy! (Both the coincidence itself and the bundling idea in the first place…)

  17. wow – really? did he have personal experience with one? I’m not sure when the custom died out…..

  18. A large plank? Is that what they called it?


    Mind you, a mate of my mum’s had sex with her husband wearing a specially sewn night dress with a hole in it. They never saw each other naked. Sex was only for procration. How awful.

  19. was that a jewish custom?

  20. sounds like a party to me . . .

  21. […] American Revivalist movement coincided with the heyday of bundling which you may remember from this old post. One of the proponents of this practice was Lavinia Umphreville who advocated the renunciation of […]

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