The world of dating in America has changed dramatically over the last century.
The two would spend time together, usually with the supervision of her parents so that they may get to know each other on an intellectual and emotional level.
The couple was rarely left alone, making sexual intimacy (and physical contact in general) nearly impossible.
One of the most obvious changes was that it multiplied the number of partners (from serious to casual) an individual was likely to have before marriage.
So one important point to understand right up front (and about which many inside and outside the church are confused) is that we have not moved a dating system into our courtship system.
If you are familiar with computer programming terminology, you can liken dating to a sub-routine that has been added to the system of courtship.
Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating "subroutine." Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes "the date." The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today's courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry.During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions.For this reason, the history of dating tends to be quite different for the LGBT population.In the first decade of the twentieth century, men "called upon" young women whom they fancied by (with the permission of her parents) visiting her home.These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.