Dating practices usa
According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, "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." Dating had become much more about youth culture than about family expectations.
The way in which two people experienced sexuality when dating also shifted.
With the introduction of dating also came the focus on falling in love, rather than finding a society-approved match.
In previous years, love was not seen as being of central importance to a marriage, and if it was to come it would emerge after the wedding had already occurred.
As the years rolled on into the 1920s, however, this system quickly became outdated and unfavorable. Bailey writes in her book , "Dating had almost completely replaced the old system of calling by the mid-1920s — and, in so doing, had transformed American courtship." This was a period of time when couples started going out on dates, which also meant they started paying for dates.
This changed the relationship dynamic between a young man and a young woman, as now it was the man's duty to pay for the date, whereas before it was the woman who decided the terms of the visit.
Women would meet with several men, with her parents present, to whittle the pickings down to the most suitable match for marriage, which heavily relied on factors such as financial and social status.
According to the , "The terms 'necking' and 'petting' — the former referring to kisses and caresses above the neck, the latter to the same below it — entered public discussion, giving names to previously unspoken private activities." Now when we think of the '50s, we tend to think of a period of purity and the Stepford Wife ideal, but in actuality, it was a time of sexual change that ended up resulting in a dramatic increase in population.
If a young man was interested in a young woman, he would follow the proper protocol of calling upon her, which meant that he would come to the family's home and (hopefully) be welcomed into their parlor.
If he was invited back for subsequent visits, he would be free to come and call upon the young woman during hours specified by her parents.
In the 1950s, "going steady" was the term for being in an exclusive relationship.
This status was about the relationship, sure, but it was also about standing out amongst your peers.