The article went on to say that if, for some reason, you did not have a date on a particular night, you should keep the lights off in your dorm room so no one would know you were home.Beth Bailey comments, “Popularity was clearly the key — and popularity defined in a very specific way.* * * Note: If this discussion has piqued your interest and you would like to delve further into the history of courtship and dating, I recommend any of the works by Ken Myers, Beth Bailey, Alan Carlson or Leon Kass cited throughout the article. Skip has been married to his wife, Stacey, since 1986.
[I]n earlier days going steady had been more like the old-fashioned ‘keeping steady company.’ It was a step along the path to marriage, even if many steady couples parted company before they reached the altar.
With the rise of the entertainment culture, with its movie houses and dance halls and their universal appeal across class lines, dating quickly moved up the socio-economic ladder to include middle- and upper-class men and women, as well as the new urbanites.
When one tries to understand how dating has changed over time, and most importantly, how we arrived at the system of courtship and dating we have today, one must realize the monumental cultural shift that occurred during the 1940s, primarily due to World War II.
It was not earned directly through talent, looks, personality or importance and involvement in organizations, but by the way these attributes translated into the number and frequency of dates.
These dates had to be highly visible, and with many different people, or they didn’t count.” Ken Myers summarizes this system, “ catchwords hammered home, reinforced from all sides until they became the natural vocabulary.