1950s dating rituals
Towards the late 1940s, marriage rates, most notably in America, reached peak levels. As author Beth Bailey notes in her book , “…the average age at marriage plummeted.
Anyway, here are some swell tips for gracious living! Really, you might as well tell him you want to leave via smoke signals, morse code or Victorian fan language. Either leave the tip yourself or ask him to take care of it out of the change. The instructions in these books for eating corn on the cob are so damn long that I am just going to paraphrase.The courtship experience and ideals of those who grew up before World War II were profoundly different from those of teenagers in the postwar years, and the differences created much intergenerational conflict.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. Previously, the dating game was about who could date the most people. “Before the war, when discussions of courtship centered around rating, dating, and popularity, marriage had few cheerleaders.” However, something shifted in the 1950s; people started getting married younger.Amy Vanderbilt is quite possibly one of my favorite people ever.
I collect old etiquette books in general, but hers have always been my favorite, mostly because she’s way crazier than the far more famous etiquette expert Emily Post and seems to have no idea that poor people exist. I have culled these delightful examples of outdated etiquette tips from both the 700-page tome “Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette” and the slightly smaller advice column-style “Amy Vanderbilt’s Everyday Etiquette,” both published in 1952.
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, by the turn of the 20th century we find the word being used to describe lower-class men and women going out socially to public dances, parties and other meeting places, primarily in urban centers where women had to share small apartments and did not have spacious front parlors in their homes to which to invite men to call.
“Going steady had become a sort of play-marriage, a mimicry of the actual marriage of their slightly older peers.” “While either could go out with friends of the same sex, each must always know where the other was and what he or she was doing.” Whether it was the sock hop, prom, a sorority dance, or a fraternity formal, “going steady meant a guaranteed date for special events…” Sock hops became popular in the 1950s, and arose because these dances would take place on basketball courts.
To make sure the floors didn’t get scuffed, everyone would take their shoes off.
“The marriage prescriptions of the 1950s could be summed up in one sentence: It was mainly a woman’s job to foster a happy marriage and steer it away from divorce.”“Rather than a step toward marriage, going steady became an important coming-of-age ritual in itself.” As we previously discussed in 7 Characteristics of Going Steady, the 1950s marked a shift in dating culture.