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If you were well off, the scenario might have looked like a Jane Austen or George Eliot novel.If you were working class, you might have met prospective partners at a factory dance or a church social..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.Practically speaking, the rhythms of our workdays change the ways we meet one another.In an era when most people had jobs that clocked in and out at regular times—old-fashioned 9-to-5s—it made sense to ask someone, “So, I’ll pick you up at six?Young people, who were just starting to be called “teenagers,” had far more disposable income than ever before.

Your mother and aunts would no longer take care of courtship for you.

There was the explosion of fast-food joints, drive-in movie theaters, restaurants.

So there were many new things for young daters to do.

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.

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