Dating in the 1930s
Many of the cases that he describes in start with a date gone awry.
In terms of the baseball metaphor, petting covered everything between first base and home plate.Their activities included dating—going to watch vaudeville shows or movies, going for ice cream or Coca-Colas (“coking”), going to dances organized by schools or thrown, impromptu, in a classmate’s basement, and simply piling into a car together and cruising around.Parents and schools tried to impose guidelines on these activities.By the mid-1930s, 80 percent of women in professional families and nearly 70 percent of women in managerial families read at least one book on child rearing every year. Fathers, too, began buying these books and attending events like teacher conferences. They sent their children to school longer and allowed them a great deal more leisure than they themselves had enjoyed.Ironically, the more they gave their children, the less influence they exerted over them. As young people started spending less time with their families and more time with one another, they created their own culture.My grandfather, who was a young dater in the 1930s, recalls a schoolteacher admonishing him and his classmates that if they let girls sit in their laps while “joyriding,” they had to be sure “to keep at least a magazine between them.” F. had any idea how casually their daughters were accustomed to be kissed.” A quick glance at the tables of contents of various editions of Emily Post’s books captures how quickly the shift happened.
Scott Fitzgerald warned that “none of the Victorian mothers . The 1922 edition contained a chapter on “The Chaperon and Other Conventions”; by 1927 it had been retitled “The Vanishing Chaperone and Other New Conventions”; and by 1937, “The Vanished Chaperone and Other Lost Conventions.” That certain conventions had disappeared did not mean that courtship had devolved into a free-for-all.
Thanks to increased access to birth control, couples in the professional and managerial classes were stopping after their second or third kid.
These parents did not have to exercise the kind of severe discipline that had been needed to keep order in households of nine or ten.
“Mothers Complain That Modern Girls ‘Vamp’ Their Sons at Petting Parties,” At least one audience was guaranteed to take an interest: the petters’ parents.
Between 19, a dramatic demographic shift changed family dynamics across the United States. By 1900, the average American woman was having only half as many children as she would have three generations earlier.
But whereas previously most middle-class young men said they had their first sexual experiences in the red-light districts, now they petted their female peers on dates.