1950s dating etiquette
They recall themselves as being far more mature than today’s teens with greater levels of responsibility and fewer parental checks, while others believed themselves far more naive than teens today.
Their naivety they often attributed to how little they knew about the opposite sex, expectations around courtship, and most notably their limited knowledge about sex and contraception.
Cornell, a mother of three and former model from Teaneck, NJ, said she was thrilled at the renewed interest in her own book, one of four she penned on teenage issues at the time.
“I thought I would never hear about the book again,’’ she admitted.
Dating, courtship, going out, going steady – whatever you called it it was a different concept in the 1960s than the internet laden landscape of the 21st century.
For the young women of the mid-century courtship and dating was a group affair.
Asked whether girls today could relate to the advice in her book, she replied, “Some of it, but not all, because so many things have changed.’’ Her daughter, Fadem, said her mother met Van Wagenen in April and “it is a gift to me to have [Maya] use my mom’s book in this way.” “It connected me and my mom in a new way,’’ said the Philadelphia resident.
“I hadn’t read my mom’s book until then because I feel my mom raised my sister and I on that advice, so reading it just made me feel I was listening to all the to-dos that a mom gives her daughter. “It was fascinating to me how universal the themes and topics were that she addressed in 1950,’’ Fadem said of her author mother.
The women who participated in my project started ‘dating’ anywhere from 12 to 18 They met their beaus at schools and youth clubs, in jazz clubs, at work, at the bowling alley or just through friends.While pop culture was actually filling cave-like clubs with cigarette smoke, riotous guitar riffs and ever shorter mini skirts.