These dates had to be highly visible, and with many different people, or they didn't count." Ken Myers summarizes this system, " catchwords hammered home, reinforced from all sides until they became the natural vocabulary.

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Beth Bailey and Ken Myers explain in the Mars Hill Audio Report, , demonstrated through the number and variety of dates a young adult could command, sometimes even on the same night.

In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage.

Women's popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the "right" places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.

One example of this impression management comes from a 1938 article in where a Smith College senior advised incoming freshmen on how to cultivate an "image of popularity." She wrote, "During your first term, get home talent to ply you with letters, telegrams and invitations.

His study of Penn State undergraduates detailed a "dating and rating" system based on very clear standards of popularity.

Men's popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc.What type fashion do you see in your historic image?Part 1: A Brief History of Dating and Courtship in America Let's turn our attention now to "dating" and the "date" itself. How did it become such an important part of our courtship system? According to cultural historian Beth Bailey, the word was probably originally used as a lower-class slang word for booking an appointment with a prostitute.In June 1945, captioned a photo of a bride and groom descending church steps with: "She got a man, but 6 to 8 million women won't. " Around this same time a half-serious article was published in magazine discussing the possibility of instituting a polygamous marriage system in the United States.Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down.College men will think, ." She also suggested that you get your mom back home to send you flowers from time to time, again, to give the impression of popularity.