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Then and Now: A Comparison of Dating Today vs. the 1950s

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

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Today’s dating style is different compared to how our grandparents dated in the 1950s. Back then, it was fairly common to visit a drive-in movie theatre or a soda shop for dates. Today, it not uncommon to see a movie at an indoor cinema or take a walk in the park together. While date activities may have remained the same, the way in which people communicate and customs surrounding dating have changed drastically.

Photo: https://vibewithmedotcom1.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/date-idea-drive-in-mo…

Who pays for the date?

One dating style in the 50s was men would always pay for the date. It was unthinkable that women would pay for the date. According to the site Plosin, the September 1959 edition of Seventeen published an article about the economics of dating, stating that on average, men spent little more than $7 per month on dates. Back then, however, $7 went a long way.

Today,  men or women sometimes split the bill or are “going Dutch.” In fact, some couples have created a system where they take turns footing the bill. However, in a poll by Refinery29, “59% agreed that a man should always offer to pay for the first date.”

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When is the relationship considered official?

In the 50s, couples were not “official” unless they exchange a token of affection like a pin or ring. The idea was called “getting pinned.”

Today, couples don’t exchange an item to make it official. They tend to see each other occasionally or talk for some time until one person or both parties want to DTR or “define the relationship.” Defining the relationship allows both people to express where they see the relationship going in the future.


Is Chivalry Dead?

One of the biggest criticisms of dating today is that chivalry is dead. In an age of women’s empowerment, some have said chivalrous acts suggest that women are weak or dependent on men. However, some argue that chivalry isn’t dead, but instead, the small acts to show your affection have simply changed. For examples, sending a good morning or good night text lets her know you care.

Texting was not part of the equation when our grandparents were dating, today it’s become an integral part of relationships today.

In the 1950s, it was rude to meet your date at the restaurant. The gentleman was expected to pick up his date at her home, meet her parents before taking her out and bringing the girl home at a reasonable hour.

When a girl mentioned being cold, a chivalrous man was expected to take his coat off and drape it over her shoulders or bring his date flowers to let her know he is thinking of her.

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Writer for Her Campus at USF. Mass Comm. major at USF. Dream job to work for Cosmopolitan in New York.
I began at Her Campus USF as a writer in Spring 2017. Then, served as Senior Editor in Fall 2017 and currently serve as the Editor-in-Chief. I am passionate about writing, social media, and graphic design. I am a portrait photographer and a self-proclaimed makeup junkie. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @cc_red13 to connect!