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As schools became the arenas for extracurricular clubs, , and other events, they also became the site for spontaneous heterosexual socializing.Young people developed dating in these new work and educational contexts as a means to order mate selection and to contain the erotic possibilities that the new freedom from adult supervision made possible.These informal controls were able to adapt initially to the emergence in the nineteenth century of the ideal of romantic and to companionship as a replacement for patriarchy in marital values.More challenging were the dramatic dislocations that accompanied the urban and industrial transformations of the second half of the nineteenth century.Both male and female adolescents were also staying in school longer as new school attendance laws began to include more older children.The schools, pressed to engage their charges, provided more opportunities for socializing as they searched for ways to keep older and recalcitrant student populations at school.
These young people often spent their money and free time in unsupervised commercial recreations such as , dance halls, and amusement parks.
Among the wealthy elite, well-orchestrated rituals surrounding elaborate debutante balls and coming-out ceremonies largely assured that family choices would continue to define the horizons of adolescents and young adults as they moved toward a season of courtship.
Thus eighteen- and nineteen-year-old girls were introduced to the proper society from among whom they could choose and be chosen.
Dating is a ritualized courting process that developed in the twentieth century as a means for adolescents to engage in approved heterosexual activities.
It emerged first in the United States in response to significant social and gender changes in schooling and work, family life, and recreational activities.