Dating habits america
It was no longer the way a marriageable couple signaled their deepening intentions.Instead, going steady was something twelve-year-olds could do, and something most fifteen-year-olds did do.Beth Bailey and Ken Myers explain in the Mars Hill Audio Report, , demonstrated through the number and variety of dates a young adult could command, sometimes even on the same night.In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage.In June 1945, captioned a photo of a bride and groom descending church steps with: “She got a man, but 6 to 8 million women won’t. ” Around this same time a half-serious article was published in magazine discussing the possibility of instituting a polygamous marriage system in the United States.Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down.
Part 1: A Brief History of Dating and Courtship in America Let’s turn our attention now to “dating” and the “date” itself. How did it become such an important part of our courtship system? According to cultural historian Beth Bailey, the word was probably originally used as a lower-class slang word for booking an appointment with a prostitute.However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.If the average age of first marriages was dropping (around age 18 for women and 20 for men) then the preparation for marriage — the shopping around, if you will — had to begin much earlier than that.His study of Penn State undergraduates detailed a “dating and rating” system based on very clear standards of popularity.
Men’s popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc.
Women’s popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the “right” places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.