Dating in history

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At the same time that the public entertainment culture was on the rise in the early 20th century, a proliferation of magazine articles and books began offering advice about courtship, marriage and the relationship between the sexes.

As Ken Myers says in , from the late 1930s on, young people knew, down to the percentage point, what their peers throughout the country thought and did.

"Advertising for a husband or wife has always attracted criticism and the people who did it were always thought of as failures in some way.

However advertising like this has a long and unbroken history, and was used by many people with some success," Cocks said.

So one important point to understand right up front (and about which many inside and outside the church are confused) is that we have not moved a dating system into our courtship system.

Fourthly, we find a change in the models and metaphors used to describe the home and family.

Prior to the 20th century, when we talked about courtship we used language and metaphors of home and family: system of courtship that played itself out in the entertainment culture and public square largely was understood and described by the advice and "expert" class with metaphors taken from modern industrial capitalism.

Bailey observes that by the 1930s and '40s, with the advent of the "date" (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.

Keeping company in the family parlor was replaced by dining and dancing, movies, and "parking." A second cultural force that influenced the older courtship system was the rise of "public advice" literature as well as the rise of an "expert" class of advisers — psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, etc.

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