Dating: A Roaring Twenties Invention

Reading Miss Manners last week reminded me that dating began in the Roaring Twenties.

There was nothing resembling our concept of dating until the 1920s. Before that decade, a man courted the Woman of his Dreams in her home, under the watchful eye of her parents. As Miss Manners pointed out when she was settling a who-should-pay-for-dinner question, that meant the girl’s parents provided whatever refreshments were appropriate, whereas in the twentieth century, the man paid for the date.

One of the most scandalous aspects of the Twenties was the propensity for daring young women (“flappers”) to go out to speakeasies, dance halls, restaurants, and parties without a chaperone. They could drink, smoke cigarettes, bob their hair, and dance all the immoral fad dances like the Charleston. But remember, just because some were doing these things hardly meant all young women were.

Published in: on October 2, 2010 at 8:36 am  Comments (13)  
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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi! I love that black and white with color illustration. Any idea where that came from?

  2. Sorry, I don’t know. That image was floating around the Internet on a bunch of sites.

  3. Indeed the “roaring 20’s” was a really unique era, which began the modern concepts of dating.

    As for the other things about the 1920’s including: the real estate boom, the stock market boom, and 8 years of Republican leadership under Calvin Coolidge followed by: 1929 stock market crash, the real estate bust, and the Great Depression, which lasted until 1940 well it seems some things do run in cycles! 🙂

    Sarah Connor,

  4. Ain’t it the truth!

    • no, it ain´t the truth!

  5. Good Morning! Do you mind if I use some quotes from your article on dating in the ’20s? I put together a Christian paper for young girls and the devotion that I am working on presently is on dating. It is a non-profit little booklet that I have been doing for a few years now with a following of around 40 or so. I would add your web address, of course.


    PS. We live in Missouri now (my home state) but we lived about six years in a little town called Stuarts Draft. Ever hear of it? Virginia is a great place, but if you ever get the chance, visit the Ozarks!:-)

    • I don’t mind at all; I’d be honored. Thanks for citing the blog. Or you could just put quotes around whatever you want and say, “%%%%%%,” wrote historian Mary Miley Theobald,” like you would in any research paper or newspaper article. And yes, of course I’ve heard of Stuart’s Draft. We go hiking in the nearby parks and visit wineries in that area, also some antiques stores, if I recall correctly. Beautiful country. Good luck with your booklet.

      Mary Miley Theobald Freelance Writer & Editor

      5 Countryside Court Richmond, VA 23229 (804) 288-2770

  6. Very nice blog post. I definitely appreciate this website. Stick with it!

  7. Hey! I really like that black and white pics. And i want to say i really enjoyed the history of dating. Thanks for the great post.

  8. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else
    know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing!

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