1920 s dating
Young people, who were just starting to be called “teenagers,” had far more disposable income than ever before.
And so the popular culture of that period tried to capture it.
As part of her research, Weigel read dating-advice books from the 1800s and hundreds of articles on dating from teen and women’s magazines over the years, and she found two common themes: First, there is usually an older part of the population that perceives dating to be “dying,” or, at least, as not being done “appropriately.” Second, Weigel found that the way people date has almost always been tied to the market forces of their era. Starting in the 1890s and 1900s, a huge number of young Americans began moving to cities and a huge number of women in particular began working outside of homes—their own homes, or homes where they might have worked as governesses or maids.
Previously, courtship rituals had taken place in private places, almost always chaperoned by relatives or other authority figures.
The working women I was describing earlier had more freedom to meet men on their own than middle-class women, still confined to their family parlors, did.
But in many cases they also had to try to go out with men because their wages were so low that they could not afford hot food regularly otherwise—not to mention entertainment.
And for everyone to be able to participate, it made perfect sense that everyone needed a boyfriend and girlfriend.
It was also a moment of egalitarianism, mass culture, full employment, and full participation.
And the line between “straight” dating and sex work—I believe—always was and remains blurry.Lam: Has this social ritual been tied to work ever since? Weigel: Yes, I would say that dating has been tied both to work and to the consumer economy ever since it was invented—in a number of different ways.Perhaps the most obvious is that what people do on dates changes as the economy changes.So around 1900, the best date a girl working at Lord & Taylor’s in New York could have imagined might have been to go to Coney Island.As movie theaters got more and more popular, going to the movies became a classic date.