Your parents’ place or mine?

Love33_R2I posted a picture on Facebook a few months ago of Amish brand beer, joking that it was the brew of my people. One of my co-workers joked that Amish don’t drink beer; they go to bars and drink milk. This I knew to be, of course, bull. But I had to prove it. In the process of this search (which revealed that alcohol consumption rules change from community to community) I discovered something quite startling.

Bundling.

I’d never heard of this before. Apparently, there was and, some say, still is a courtship tradition among the Pennsylvania Dutch in which young men sleep in the same bed as their betrothed at their future in-laws’ house. It’s a tradition dating at least from the colonial days, rooted in the Old Country. Of course, the young buck does not have unfettered access to his woman. The couple is expected to remain clothed, and they are divided by a lengthwise board, or the woman is sealed into a bundling bag, a sort of chastity sack. Oh, and the parents are generally sleeping in the same room. If you want the full details, there are articles here, here and here.

Now, the humorous part. My wife and I rented an apartment together before we were married, much to the dismay of her mother, who thought we should be at least engaged. Our bed had seen better days, and its concave mattress stressed my back pretty badly. My solution to this problem was to place a pillow, lengthwise, in the middle of the bed to balance out the crater. Once, when my mother-in-law bemoaned our living in sin, my wife said, “Oh, don’t worry. We have the Platonic Pillow between us every night.”

There is much debate over how much hanky panky the divider boards, heavy blankets or chastity sacks really prevented once the rents nodded off. My guess is that they worked about as well as the Platonic Pillow.

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