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Women’s popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the “right” places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.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.Beth Bailey and Ken Myers explain in the Mars Hill Audio Report, , demonstrated through the number and variety of dates a young adult could command, sometimes even on the same night.In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage.
Instead, going steady was something twelve-year-olds could do, and something most fifteen-year-olds did do.
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.
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.
I hope this historical review has helped you to understand the courtship practices you have inherited, and can assist you in living more wisely, which is the goal of all Christians. Navy and is also a trained musician, having worked as a recording engineer in Memphis, Tenn.
* * * Note: If this discussion has piqued your interest and you would like to delve further into the history of courtship and dating, I recommend any of the works by Ken Myers, Beth Bailey, Alan Carlson or Leon Kass cited throughout the article. Skip has been married to his wife, Stacey, since 1986.