1950s dating rituals
Many colleges enforced strict policies governing dormitory visitations including no co-ed visitations past pm, all dormitory doors were to be propped open with a shoe, and three of the couple's legs had to be on the ground at all times (I'm not even joking! Contrary to the function of dating in previous generations, today's adolescents typically view dating as a means to enhance their socialization and entertainment.A new phenomenon is emerging in high schools and colleges as teens are drifting away from the formal dating rituals from decades since past and are ‘hooking-up'.By the mid-1800s a shortage of women in the rapidly-expanding West forced men to place ads like this one, which appeared in an Arkansas newspaper: "Any gal that got a bed, calico dress, coffee pot and skillet, knows how to cut out britches and can make a hunting shirt, knows how to take care of children can have my services till death do us part." Practical life demanded less romance and more of what a woman could bring to the marriage.Flash forward to the 20th century where romance played an increasingly important role in dating.But, according to historian Elaine Tyler May, this idea is largely a myth.As May explained to a Stanford audience, the pill’s impact on the sexual revolution is unclear.Looking back, Americans credit—or blame—the pill with unleashing the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
(The date is mandatory in another one of her seminars.) The rules: it must be a legitimate love interest; they must ask in person (not via text, etc.); the love interest cannot know the date is an assignment; and the date must last 45-90 minutes and cannot involve any sexual contact.
One incentive for new variations was the rebelliousness of the time — teens didn’t want to dance like their parents who were actively disapproving of their lifestyle, so they invented a wide range of step and style replacements. Rock’n’roll simply called for different styles of dancing, some of which mirrored the strong backbeat of rock. This was called jitterbug, or swing, Lindy, the rock’n’roll, boogie-woogie or Bop.
The word Bop was new then so almost everything was called “the Bop,” but that word usually referred to a family of low swiveling Charleston-like steps danced in place, sometimes without a partner.
How did dating evolve from chivalrous knights in shining armor, dreaming up ways to win over their fair maidens, to this current culture of hooking-up where there is no regard for each partner's emotional reaction to the loveless encounter?
Perhaps the immediate social context of the college or high school environment, coupled with the media's distal influence, perpetuates the hook-up environment.