Friday, November 21, 2008

In the 60s, Weekends Had Two Nights

Here is a really depressing article about what dating can be like in big cities. I'm not suggesting anyone read it.

But it did remind me of my mother's account of the rules for dating when she was in college. She attended Simmons during the 1960s.

In Boston, back in the days when smoots were new, college students began dating by one asking the other to go on a date. Just one. This was a small thing and the woman might sometimes ask the man.

This first date would either happen on Friday night or Saturday night because the other nights were weeknights and there was homework to do. Boston had plenty of things to do on a weekend evenings, and there was always dinner and a movie. Since the man would always pay any expenses, a date initiated by the woman asking was often a "study date" at the library.

If that initial date was enjoyable, the two students might agree to go on another date next week. If so, it would always be on the same evening. By "claiming" either Fridays or Saturdays the two students indicated that they were somewhat serious about getting to know each other. Both students would still go on other dates with other people on the other weekend evening.

Having someone you dated on either Friday or Saturday night was something friends would notice but was not necessarily a significant step towards courtship. Since it was normal to attend movies, plays, concerts, and other events with a date, the status of someone "claiming" either Friday or Saturday night most often only meant the two people enjoyed each other's company as friends and were relieved to no longer need to keep asking different acquaintances to go on a date just because they wanted to see a certain movie, play, or concert.

If the two students decided to make their relationship an official courtship then their dates expanded to both weekend evenings. This was a significant step. Friends would notice and start talking.

The final stage was the man loaning the woman a jacket or cardigan. If she was ever seen wearing his clothes during the week then they were officially a couple.

I wonder how many folk these days long for such simple rules to be in place again?

(Tangentially, my mother and her brother both received a small, weekly allowance from my grandparents while at college. My mother saved a little each week towards purchasing her first guitar and gave the rest to her brother, since they both went on dates often and thus she did not need any money on a weekend evening but he would be paying for two.)

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