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23 Jan

Firstly, calling was practiced with the intention of finding a suitable husband for a young lady; whereas, in dating, this was, and still is, not the primary goal.Besides, dating allowed young people to be with each other without their parents interfering.Secondly, the control of the relationship changed hands as the transition was made.Teenagers in the 1950's are so iconic that, for some, they represent the last generation of innocence before it is "lost" in the sixties.When asked to imagine this lost group, images of bobbysoxers, letterman jackets, malt shops and sock hops come instantly to mind.

Before the war, "going steady" was a stage young people took only if they were seriously on the path to marriage; however, after the war, the phrase was used more loosely.

It no longer signaled that the couple was marriageable and ready to commit (Bailey 49).

And should the relationship move on, as they often do, it would move into the ubiquitous "going steady" stage (Mc Ginnis 74).

GOING STEADY This concept of "going steady" took on a new meaning in the fifties.

People date because it is "enjoyable, pleasant, and valuable" (Merrill 62), and they thought that they could gain rewarding experiences from it.

In the fifties and surrounding decades, handbooks and other books exploring relationships described dating as a fun activity in which teens are allowed to meet and mingle with many members of the opposite sex.

ORIGINS OF DATING Dating is definitely an "American phenomenon." Few other countries carry on this practice with as much fervor as Americans do.