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Due to this connection with the lower class, the practice was initially mistrusted by parents, but dating quickly replaced calling as the favored model of romance.
In the years preceding World War II, a popularity-based system that sociologists refer to as the “dating and rating complex” developed.
A woman suspected of dabbling with too many suitors was in danger of becoming publicly regarded as a “coquette,” which essentially socially branded her as a flirt, a disparaging designation in a society that so highly esteemed chastity.
A marriage built solely on the forces of emotion and mutual affection was scorned and perceived as irresponsible.
World War II initiated a paradigm shift that deeply impacted the way American society approached dating.
The committed, monogamous label of “going steady” emerged as the ideal relationship, and dating returned to its traditional role as a marital trial.