1950s dating customs
In the 1950s, long before the days of cell phones and social networking, dating was a simple affair that revolved around jukeboxes, soda fountains and well-defined social norms.Dating rituals dictated the proper ways for men to court women, with marriage being the desired outcome for couples that were "going steady." Men and women of the era adhered to these rituals--or else were considered the societal fringe. 9, 2009, "Miami Quarterly Online" article, "Dating Through the Ages," Miami University American Studies Associate Professor Helen Sheumaker notes that in the 1950s, the economy dictated men and women's dating roles.Because men were the ones who traditionally held steady jobs, they paid the bills on dates and also planned elaborate dates to compete for women's affections.However, the expense of these dates eventually led to the popularity of group dating, which was less costly and also eased the sexual pressure associated with one-to-one dates.Couples declared their intentions to be exclusive by "going steady," whereby a young woman would wear a love anklet and her boyfriend's fraternity or club pin--known as "pinning." After a few years of going steady, the couple would become engaged, and the engagement could last for a year or more.Couples used the engagement period to save up enough money for marriage.In the fifties and surrounding decades, handbooks and other books exploring relationships described dating as a fun activity in which teens are allowed to meet and mingle with many members of the opposite sex.
Since the turn of the century, there has been a greater freedom between men and women, for example, both attend the same schools with the same classes.
When a man "calls" upon a woman, he usually shows up at her house during an "at home" session and presents his card to the maid who then gives it to the young lady.
She then is given the option of accepting his call by letting him in or rejecting it by making up an excuse as to why she cannot see him.
Refreshments were often served (though not always), and the entertainment was primarily piano playing in the parlor.
But because the lower classes were not so well-endowed so that they own pianos or even parlors, they started their own form of "courtship" which soon became known as dating.
When asked, they gave an immediate answer, and they did not break dates without a good reason.