Why dating was completely different in the 1960s

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. Source: Getty Images.

Dating, courtship, going out, going steady, whatever you call it, dating was a completely different animal back in the 1960s than it is today.

Nowadays, there are endless avenues to meet people online – and sadly, the days of courtship and going steady are long gone. Modern daters tend to have structured criteria for their dream partner to fill.

From their job to their height, online dating has allowed people to be even more specific about their wants and needs. But in the ’60s, dating simply wasn’t this easy.

Every era of dating in the past century was not without its pros, its cons, and its own set of unspoken rules. Source: Getty.

First of all, there was a long list of dos and don’ts for both men and women on dates. Everyone needed to follow a specific etiquette when ordering food, women were not to apply powder at the table, boys were expected to pay for everything and women had to refrain from kissing on the first date as well saying anything that would assert their intelligence. These rules are a far cry from today’s dating world where it’s much more common for both parties to pay the bill and for a woman to proudly flaunt their intelligence.

Meeting people of the opposite sex in the ’60s was also much different and more difficult than it is today. The only way to do it was by hanging out in groups at social areas like bowling alleys, ice rinks, cinemas, concerts or even school or work. People would mingle or be introduced through friends and an official date would then usually be the next obvious step.

Dating in the 60s.
Getting to know the opposite sex frequently meant a gaggle of guys and girls hanging out or mingling during an organised activity. Source: Getty Images.

Courtship was a much bigger deal in those days, with most women wanting to find a polite gentleman who would take them on a nice date and maybe even give them a kiss goodnight. There was a bright and somewhat naive glow to dating when Boomers were growing up, however, with this purity came a pretty severe lack of education.

While the era of free love was quickly approaching, many people who were dating in the ’60s recall not knowing a lot about sex and contraception. Because of limited knowledge on the important things, romantic endeavours often ended in unplanned pregnancies which generally bought shame on the woman’s entire family and left her with little emotional or financial support.

Dating in the ’60s also meant turning a blind eye to any unwanted frisky behaviour from boys. Girls weren’t supposed to make a fuss about something like that. It was generally more accepted that boys would simply act this way occasionally and rather than being offended, girls should just pretend it never happened.

While this side of dating has definitely improved in the past years, since the #metoo movement, there was also a more positive slant to courtship – as it tended to be defined by etiquette and polite advancements. Most of the time, the ’60s was the peak of chivalry where a boy would open your door and ask your parents for permission to take you out.

Despite the negatives, there’s definitely a sweet, romantic side from back then that has been lost over the years. Chivalry might be dead today, but it was very much alive and well in the days of the ’60s!

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