Dating ritual in early american history

“The Dating Game was perfect for it's time.” The free-wheeling 1970s made shows like the dating game seem downright chaste.No one felt the need for a marriage license to have sex and the pick-up scene at bars stayed in full swing throughout the next decade.In Chicago, single women were known as “women adrift.” These circumstances gave birth to dating rituals and other unfortunate traditions that still remain — or, at least, still cause confusion as mores change — today.When women first hit the workforce, writes Weigel, “the belief remained widespread they were working not to support themselves but only to supplement the earnings of fathers or husbands.” As such, “employers used this misconception as an excuse to pay women far less than they paid men.So why would a successful, widowed bachelor like the play’s protagonist, Horace Vandergelder, seek out a matchmaker to find him a new bride?Looking back at the evolution of courting customs in America over the last two centuries sheds light on the factors that would have influenced Vandergelder’s search.Gentlemen were to first ascertain a lady’s interest publicly (via a marriage broker or group social gathering), ask her parents for permission to “call” on her at a particular time and then enjoy a series of formal, chaperoned visits lasting no more than 15 minutes.

“It was a magic formula because, here you have a woman picking from three guys, so at home everybody's saying, “Oh, she's gotta take that number two, he's so handsome." The fact that women were making choices was a total different thing for dating,” said Jim Lange, host of the show until it went off the air in 1980.Since Shakespeare’s time, farcical romances featuring classic tropes like mistaken identity, love at first sight and couples breaking through society’s class barriers have long been a favorite staple of theatergoers.And for good reason – for centuries, strategically planned marriages allowed the wealthy and elite to retain their social standing, property and family businesses for generations. But how much worse would it be if the very act of it landed you in jail?According to “Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a sprawling new history by Moira Weigel, the first female daters faced exactly that — mistaken, in their quest for love, for prostitutes.