History of dating courtship

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“‘I would like to be a stenographer,’ one announced.‘I’m going to be an executive secretary and marry the boss.’ ” The other alternative was for women to take jobs in high-class department stores where rich men were likely to shop.“In the eyes of the authorities,” Weigel writes, “women who let men buy them food and drinks or gifts and entrance tickets looked like whores, and making a date seemed the same as turning a trick.” After centuries of women’s fortunes being dictated by the men around them, the notion of women on their own gave much of society pause.In Chicago, single women were known as “women adrift.” These circumstances gave birth to dating rituals and other unfortunate traditions that still remain — or, at least, still cause confusion as mores change — today.“‘If I had to buy all my meals I’d never get along,’ a young woman living in a boardinghouse in Hell’s Kitchen told a social worker in 1915.” But as these women were courted in public, efforts were undertaken to curb what authorities viewed as a potential public menace.“In the early 1900s, vice commissions across the country sent police and undercover investigators to check out spots where people went to make dates,” Weigel writes.“Instead, men took her ‘to Coney Island to dances and Picture Shows.’ ” In time, the authorities gave up, overtaken by reality.

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Of the “store employees, telephone girls, stenographers, etc.,” he noted that “their morals are loose, and there is no question that they are on terms of sexual intimacy with their male companions.” So heavy was the concern that these loose, immoral women might harm society that, “in the 1910s, John D.These women became known as “Shopgirls.” Donovan spent two summers working at a department store to research a book, and later reported she knew of “several marriages and heard of a great many more where the husband was far above the wife as measured by the economic scale.” Magazines began running articles such as, “How Shopgirls win Rich Husbands.” An in-house newsletter for Macy’s employees in New York even included a gossip column that tracked these courtships. ” In order to attract rich men, these Shopgirls were caught by the irony of needing to buy the expensive items they sold.“Have you noticed a gentleman wearing spats stopping at Miss Holahan’s counter every day, leaving a spray of lily of the valley? In an odd way, this consumerism marked a form of progress.“The cosmetics industry exploded in the 1920s,” Weigel writes.“Previously, only prostitutes and actresses ‘painted.’ Victorians had viewed ‘natural’ outer beauty as a sign of clean living.

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