The first notable period of courtship of twentieth century America was the calling system. At this point, the idea of the “date” was something completely unheard of. Author Beth Bailey explains the calling process: “When a girl reached the proper age...she became eligible to receive male callers. At first her mother or guardian would invite men to call; in subsequent seasons the young lady had more autonomy and could bestow an invitation to call upon any unmarried man to whom she had been properly introduced at a dance, dinner, or other ‘entertainment.’” A typical call from a young man would consist of chatting and sometimes eating with the girl in her family’s parlor while the parents supervised. The parents became involved as well by asking the young man questions, and generally facilitating conversation between the budding couple. Because men and women’s social lives remained in the woman’s home with the parents, the notion of premarital sex was essentially unheard of. According to a study done at the University of Pennsylvania, “In 1900, only 6% of U.S. women would have engaged in premarital sex b...
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...ys and girls like her? Is she welcome to join this group?” The group is cordial to Jenny, but they talk negatively about her once she leaves. The narrator continues, “No, girls who park in cars are not really popular, not even with the boys they park with.” American culture was clearly starting to support a monogamous environment where sex was okay, as long as it wasn’t with several people. This was an evident transition from what was seen in 1920’s culture, and continued to hold influence throughout the different phases of American dating. The new culture of settling into serious relationships created a culture in which it was acceptable to have sex with someone he or she had a deep connection with. There seems to be a clear correlation between the increased percentages in premarital sexual encounters, and the formation of steady, committed relationships.
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