They recall themselves as being far more mature than today’s teens with greater levels of responsibility and fewer parental checks, while others believed themselves far more naive than teens today.Their naivety they often attributed to how little they knew about the opposite sex, expectations around courtship, and most notably their limited knowledge about sex and contraception.Dating meant hanging out with a boy, having him walk you home, and perhaps a kiss good night.
The women who participated in my project started ‘dating’ anywhere from 12 to 18 They met their beaus at schools and youth clubs, in jazz clubs, at work, at the bowling alley or just through friends.
These were the young women experiencing the shifting norms of courtship from a strict nuclear 1950s to the era of free love.
Experiencing that shift meant parents still expected a polite young man who would ring them for their permission and arrive with a corsage in hand.
Dating, courtship, going out, going steady – whatever you called it it was a different concept in the 1960s than the internet laden landscape of the 21st century.
For the young women of the mid-century courtship and dating was a group affair.