1920 s dating

“In the eyes of the authorities,” Weigel writes, “women who let men buy them food and drinks or gifts and entrance tickets looked like whores, and making a date seemed the same as turning a trick.” After centuries of women’s fortunes being dictated by the men around them, the notion of women on their own gave much of society pause.

In Chicago, single women were known as “women adrift.” These circumstances gave birth to dating rituals and other unfortunate traditions that still remain — or, at least, still cause confusion as mores change — today.

Scientists shattered the boundaries of space and time, aviators made men fly, and women went to work. But the 1920s were an age of extreme contradiction.

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Perfect; the cat's pajamas."I have to go see a man about a dog." To go buy whiskey.

But how much worse would it be if the very act of it landed you in jail?

The tubes were built into the handrails, and one was located at each table.

The 1920s heralded a dramatic break between America’s past and future.

Singles needed only to look around the room until a fetching stranger caught their eye, note the number, and then direct a message to that table.

“Lonesome Americans, and others, can call or send a note to equally lonesome women who look like they would enjoy company,” the article noted.

According to “Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a sprawling new history by Moira Weigel, the first female daters faced exactly that — mistaken, in their quest for love, for prostitutes.

As with concepts like the “teenager” and “middle-class,” dating is an historically recent invention, spurred by an influx of women into the big cities seeking work around the turn of the 20th Century.

Before World War I the country remained culturally and psychologically rooted in the nineteenth century, but in the 1920s America seemed to break its wistful attachments to the recent past and usher in a more modern era.

The most vivid impressions of that era are flappers and dance halls, movie palaces and radio empires, and Prohibition and speakeasies.

In 1931, during the heyday of this across-the-nightclub flirtation, described the process of receiving a call from an amorous stranger: “the tabletop telephones buzzed, and the acquaintance with the blonde, raven-haired or redheaded, monocle-wearing beauty was made, one was no longer alone, and had twice as much fun.” (At the Ballhaus Berlin, this numbered phone system still lives today—check out photos here.) Similar systems thrived at the Femina, the larger of the two nightclubs, which boasted more than 2,000 seats, “two large bars and a smaller one in the vestibule, in addition to three orchestras, a hydraulic dance floor,” and over 225 table telephones, which were accompanied by instructions in both German and English.

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