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Men in the relationship would make their arrangement visible to outsiders by gifting his date a letterman jacket or a class ring, and the girl expected to be called and taken out on dates a certain number of times each week.
Consequently, a new concern arose for parents: as young people grew more secure in their committed dating relationships, they became more likely to engage in premarital sexual behaviors. This movement ushered in another paradigm shift; youth rejected the prescribed dating model in favor of a more liberal approach to love and sexuality, and “hookup culture” was born, a shift that emphasizes physical pleasure rather than emotional intimacy.
The committed, monogamous label of “going steady” emerged as the ideal relationship, and dating returned to its traditional role as a marital trial.
Despite increased emphasis on a single relationship, “going steady” was still a very social label.
During the courtship process, it was typical for the intended couples to divulge their perceived character flaws to ensure that a long-term commitment would be logical and feasible.
This ritual may seem overly cautious, but in a society in which the Catholic Church was an incredibly powerful institution that prescribed marriage as an integral part of God’s plan, this was not a decision that could be made lightly.
Art and philosophy began to reflect a new world view in which love was prescribed as the ideal foundation for a marriage, even taking precedent over considerations of property.The courting script was usually contained to “calling,” in which the man was invited into the woman’s parlor for conversations over tea and involved a large degree of supervision.Reputation was also an essential form of social currency that required intimate guarding.The Women’s Movement led to more women obtaining higher education and becoming integrated into the workforce, and more women began delaying marriage to first establish their careers.This, combined with the increasing availability of birth control, led to a relaxation in attitudes toward premarital sex.