It has been ingrained into our society that we think it is something that has existed forever. However, dating is an invention of the 20th century. In the past the term courtship was used. The word courtship is almost unknown in today's society. Yet, courting orcalling? played a major role in American history and has clearly evolved in adolescent and young adult dating. The evolution of courtship is obvious throughout the years. This essay will show some of the historical insights of dating throughout the years focusing on Colonial times through the 20th century. It will discuss certain rituals that occurred in past as well as some examples of the practice of courtship in different cultures. Lastly, this essay will also discuss how physical proximity has changed throughout the years and led to a rise in intimacy and sexual activity.
Back in the 19th century a male suitor actually went a-wooing at the home of the young woman he sought as his wife. However, this only occurred when a young woman reached marriageable age. He brought gifts, sat and listened to her play piano or sing, all under the watchful eye of other family members, usually her parents. During this period of courtship orcalling?, women held the power over courtship. The entire calling system was controlled and regulated by women and took place in their sphere.? The mother would decide which men could call on her daughter, and later the daughter could invite men she had met at dinners and dances. It was considered very inappropriate for a man to force his attention on a lady by initiating contact. The young man was only allowed to pay a call if the mother of the young woman or the young woman openly invited him to pay the call. Beth L. Bailey, author of From Front Porch to Back Seat, writes: .
At first her mother or guardian invited young men to call; in subsequent seasons the young lady had more autonomy and could bestow an invitation to call upon any unmarried man to whom she had been properly introduced at a private dance, dinner, pr otherentertainment?.