Rituals of dating in america
Dating is a ritualized courting process that developed in the twentieth century as a means for adolescents to engage in approved heterosexual activities.It emerged first in the United States in response to significant social and gender changes in schooling and work, family life, and recreational activities.These informal controls were able to adapt initially to the emergence in the nineteenth century of the ideal of romantic and to companionship as a replacement for patriarchy in marital values.More challenging were the dramatic dislocations that accompanied the urban and industrial transformations of the second half of the nineteenth century.Starting in the 1920s, a date usually involved one or two couples going out together to a movie, a dance, a soda shop, or a roadside restaurant.In places outside of large cities, this increasingly relied on access to an automobile and became dependent on the outlay of significant amounts of cash to ensure that the treat for the afternoon or evening was acceptable to the dating partner.Both boys and girls were now more often found mixing promiscuously in unsupervised work and play environments as adolescent girls went out to work in factories, shops, and offices.These young people often spent their money and free time in unsupervised commercial recreations such as , dance halls, and amusement parks.
Especially problematic was the new freedom of young women.
During the twentieth century, dating spread to other Westernized societies, although it has become increasingly attenuated in the context of the revolution in premarital sexual behavior after the 1960s.
In the early modern world most courtship was supervised by family or other adult community institutions.
Class differences also surfaced, particularly in high school, with working-class youth more likely to see dating as part of marriage-partner selection, while middle-class youth engaged in dating more in terms of entertainment.
At the same time, both dating which led to exclusive attachments and dating which was part of a busy social life included a variety of erotic practices that became a standard part of the expected sexual initiation of twentieth-century youth before the premarital sexual revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Commercial considerations were thus embedded into the very structure of the dating relationship, which required that the male treat the female to a good time.