Dating in the 1950s

How would you get into dating if you were a teenager in the suburbs of America in the 1950s?

Ever wonder how social life was like for your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather?

These days, a girl might receive anything from a one-line text message (proper spelling optional) to a You Tube serenade, but her parents tend to stay out of that initial ask. Let’s take a walk back through the decades to see just how things have changed. Generally, it was polite to give at least three days’ notice between ‘the ask’ and the date itself.

There was no confusion about whether or not you were just “hanging out” or if it was something more serious. In fact, if that initial date grew into “going steady,” that meant there was at least some chance you would consider getting married later on.

In that way, dating in the 1950s was a lot closer to the courting rituals of historic times, with marriage as the end goal.

After rock and roll started.(see one of my other webpages): 1950's fashion Elvis Presley was the singer that symbolized Rock and Roll - colorful turned up collar..... 1950's Music Before Rock and roll: performers were pretty conservative in their stage performances.

And teenagers and parents were in general pretty conservative when they danced.

While this is still more of the norm today, breaking it isn’t nearly as taboo as it would have been then.

On the girl’s side, it was polite to give an immediate answer – no hemming and hawing about it.

While asking for permission from the girl’s parents was the respectful thing to do, it wasn’t the end all be all, as it would have been in the 30s and 40s.

With all of this formality involved, it shouldn’t be surprising that when a date happened, it was clearly a date.

The young couples he photographed in 1959 were living on the edge of modernity, but still holding onto many of the the traditions long followed by their culture.

Notes written by Dominis and someone who appears to be an assistant that accompanied the dozens of rolls of film he shot provide insight into the song and dance (sometimes literal) in which the young lovers engaged.

And inside those movie theaters, American movies offered even more examples of Western mating rituals to a Japanese public at once hesitant and intrigued by the bold behaviors of their American counterparts.

Tags: , ,