As the Great Society changed the political and economic face of America through legislative and presidential actions, and as the civil rights movement and technology brought other changes in American life, still other forces transformed American culture. With college youth drawing the most attention for their challenges to established practices in American life and rejection of conventional sexual mores and practices, they were joined in quieter ways by men and women of all ages.
In the 1960s the traditional practices of courtship rather suddenly disappeared. New patterns of interaction between the sexes began to take their place. As Beth Bailey explains in From Front Porch to Back Seat, the differences between what had been and the new "lay not only on the surface, in the changing acts of courtship, but in underlying understandings of value and values, in presumptions about how the world works, and in ideas about the proper relations between men and women."1 It would have been surprising, of course, if old ways of dating had survived in a culture where sexual mores and social conventions were changing rapidly.
Dating had implied certain conventions: Calling in advance to arrange for the boy to pick up the girl, and appearing in appropriate attire for "going out." If it worked, "going out" led to "going steady"; if not, back to "playing the field." In the former there was security; in the latter, competition. There were rules, determined by age, for holding hands, kissing, necking, and petting, with warnings against "going too far." Parents set hours to be home. Colleges made rules in loco parentis (in the place of parents). Boys played masculine roles--providing transporta
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Publication information: Book title: Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990:Decades of Discord. Contributors: Myron A. Marty - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 65.