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You had to rate in order to date, to date in order to rate.
By successfully maintaining this cycle, you became popular. So, that is the system in place prior to World War II.
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.
After World War II, due in part to the fact that 250,000 men never came home, for the first time in the United States, women outnumbered men.
In June 1945, captioned a photo of a bride and groom descending church steps with: "She got a man, but 6 to 8 million women won't. " Around this same time a half-serious article was published in magazine discussing the possibility of instituting a polygamous marriage system in the United States.
In 1937, sociologist Willard Waller published a study in the .
However, by the turn of the 20th century we find the word being used to describe lower-class men and women going out socially to public dances, parties and other meeting places, primarily in urban centers where women had to share small apartments and did not have spacious front parlors in their homes to which to invite men to call.One example of this impression management comes from a 1938 article in where a Smith College senior advised incoming freshmen on how to cultivate an "image of popularity." She wrote, "During your first term, get home talent to ply you with letters, telegrams and invitations.College men will think, ." She also suggested that you get your mom back home to send you flowers from time to time, again, to give the impression of popularity.After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change.By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men.In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage.Instead, it was a "competitive game," a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity.Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down.However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.And this new system had its own set of rules and customs. I have known college couples, and even high school couples, to buy a pet together — goldfish, hamsters, etc., which leads to a dispute over the care-giving of a living creature. Do we have a system that values what is called "serial monogamy" — a succession of exclusive and serious relationships, as a practice for marriage? I think the answer is, "yes," "no" and "I don't know." It appears that the "script" that has developed in the closing decades of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st is, "anything goes." And, although for many years this was sold under the heading of , I believe young adults over the past decade have discovered that, in fact, it has caused cultural and relational vertigo — not knowing for certain which way is up or down, and not knowing in which direction to move. How do I know when I'm with a person (meaning, dating them exclusively)? In many Christian communities there seems to be movement toward rediscovering, or creating anew, some sort of script that conforms itself to the way God created man and woman to relate to each other.For instance, there had to be some visible token (class ring, letterman's sweater or jacket) given to the one with whom you were couple "breaks up," something like a mini divorce occurs, complete with a divorce settlement and custody dispute — a dividing up of the assets, property and other persons involved. How do I talk to the other person about our relationship — in modern language? New types of courtship systems where family, friends and church communities are involved in the relationship provide support and godly counsel to individuals in a relationship.