Dating game from the 1960s

In the early days of dating, many century America was all social capital, decorum, and familial oversight.Dating did not yet exist in the modern sense; society instead favored a courtship model which almost entirely consisted of one long, parentally-controlled audition for marriage.

Additionally, the many legal and social barriers surrounding divorce increased the pressure to ensure that a match was suitable.Separation was often only granted on grounds of bigamy, impotence, or adultery.Marriage during this time was less a public declaration of mutual affection and more an essential means of legally exchanging property between families.Courtship was the ritual that would allow the families to evaluate potential matches and determine if the arrangement would be advantageous.During the courtship process, it was typical for the intended couples to divulge their perceived character flaws to ensure that a long-term commitment would be logical and feasible.

This ritual may seem overly cautious, but in a society in which the Catholic Church was an incredibly powerful institution that prescribed marriage as an integral part of God’s plan, this was not a decision that could be made lightly.Due to this connection with the lower class, the practice was initially mistrusted by parents, but dating quickly replaced calling as the favored model of romance.In the years preceding World War II, a popularity-based system that sociologists refer to as the “dating and rating complex” developed.The committed, monogamous label of “going steady” emerged as the ideal relationship, and dating returned to its traditional role as a marital trial.Despite increased emphasis on a single relationship, “going steady” was still a very social label.The courting script was usually contained to “calling,” in which the man was invited into the woman’s parlor for conversations over tea and involved a large degree of supervision.