1950s dating rituals

During the 1920s and 1930s, dating became a system of ratings.Women would only accept date invitations from men with money and gifts and tried to refrain from being seen with the same boy too often.Dating became a common and more relaxed way to get to know another person, especially when the automobile was invented and widely consumed by the American public.Now with their own modes of transportation and much more freedom, young people began going out to restaurants or to the cinema to have fun, instead of having lengthy discussions with the woman's parents.In both "going steady" and "dating" relationships in the 1940s and 1950s (unlike those of previous generations), peers had a much larger influence on the relationship than did the family.As the twentieth century progressed, young couples were more likely to partake in premarital sex within the context of committed relationships.Around the mid-1960s and in conjunction with the Women's Movement and the emergence of the birth control pill, a sexual revolution began.

Across university campuses, couples publicized their decision to "go steady" when the man gave the woman an article of his clothing to wear, such as a jacket, sweater, or ring.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, men "called upon" young women whom they fancied by (with the permission of her parents) visiting her home.

The two would spend time together, usually with the supervision of her parents so that they may get to know each other on an intellectual and emotional level.

Dating advice columns and even instructional videos existed in order to teach women how to be the object of male desire and to achieve what society had defined as happiness.

In this article, Patricia Mc Daniel discusses the standards for attraction as evolved from the 1950s to the 1990s.