Dating time frames
She’d flirt, or go a little further, and get a transactional hot meal or a gift. “For the first time in human history, dating made it necessary to buy things in order to get face time with a prospective partner.” Weigel explains that gay history has intersected with — and helped shape — contemporary straight dating, but focuses mainly on straight women.
Empathetic and funny, she speaks directly and specifically to her generation: they came of age alongside the personal devices that changed everything.
“Think what a big deal it is,” Weigel writes, “when one new single shows up in a Jane Austen novel.” Then imagine “how many men a salesgirl who worked at Lord & Taylor in the 1910’s would meet everyday.” (Previously, any contact between the sexes had been chaperoned in the home, and matchmaking dictated by family, class and religion.) In the early 20th century, Weigel writes, mating became entwined with personal taste and consumer markets as never before.
Salesgirls and waitresses were on public display, at first raising alarms about moral degeneracy.
Dating, it turns out, is not only potentially romantic or sexy, but also a profoundly political phenomenon firmly grounded in economics.
It emerged when women left their homes, or the plantations and domestic positions in which they toiled, moved to cities, and took paying jobs, mingling with men in unsupervised settings.
.” But the 31-year-old has come to believe that the rituals of modern mating are no laughing matter.
And it may not be entirely coincidental that Weigel identified so strongly with the boys in her high school class: she and her sister got to be the main event.
They never had to make plans in advance or wait at home by the phone for a boy to call.