Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating "subroutine." Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes "the date." The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .
Bailey observes that by the 1930s and '40s, with the advent of the "date" (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.
Fourthly, we find a change in the models and metaphors used to describe the home and family.
Joshua Harris, for instance, has promoted a model of courtship that harkens back to a model used broadly before modern dating evolved.
People attempting to follow a courtship model within today's culture, however, often run into a lot of practical questions, such as, "What if her dad is unavailable or uninterested in being involved?
The new courtship system gave importance to This new language of courtship had great symbolic importance and continues to shape the way we think, speak and act concerning relationships to this day.
Have you ever known a girl who went out with a guy who was a complete dolt but who could help her get ahead socially?
However, an extra layer, what we call "dating," has been added to the process of courting.