Dating mate selection
Themes were identified in five accounts of ordinary people found online using keywords.This and other research reveals that first dates seem to serve the purpose of testing if a particular romantic relationship is both possible and desirable with another person.
Heterosexual dating can be seen as a social phenomenon of sexual selection.At the same time that the public entertainment culture was on the rise in the early 20th century, a proliferation of magazine articles and books began offering advice about courtship, marriage and the relationship between the sexes.As Ken Myers says in , from the late 1930s on, young people knew, down to the percentage point, what their peers throughout the country thought and did.Fourthly, we find a change in the models and metaphors used to describe the home and family.Prior to the 20th century, when we talked about courtship we used language and metaphors of home and family: system of courtship that played itself out in the entertainment culture and public square largely was understood and described by the advice and "expert" class with metaphors taken from modern industrial capitalism.They knew what was "normal." Prior to the 20th century, "normal" was determined within families and local communities, but now a "higher authority," with wide-spread circulation and readership, began to form a national consciousness. With the onset of the sexual revolution the question arose, "Why would a man court and woo a woman when he could gain a chief benefit of marriage, namely sexual gratification, for free with no commitment?
" (Friendship "with benefits" is a contemporary example.) Closely related to this is the invention of birth control.
One of the most obvious changes was that it multiplied the number of partners (from serious to casual) an individual was likely to have before marriage.
So one important point to understand right up front (and about which many inside and outside the church are confused) is that we have not moved a dating system into our courtship system.
Have you ever known a girl who went out with a guy who was a complete dolt but who could help her get ahead socially?
(And not to pick on women, it just as easily happens in reverse.) Those decisions are based more on economic theory of the 19th and 20th centuries than on any sort of biblical notion of desire for the opposite sex.
Bailey observes that by the 1930s and '40s, with the advent of the "date" (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.