Guest Post: 1950s and Dating

While the 1950s are notoriously known as the Cold War era, it was also a time period that paved the way for the creation of a very unique and distinct group of people— teenagers. These teens, who were survivors of both the economic depression and World War II, not only developed their own interests, style of dress, and listened to their own type of music, but were also the first youth generation to possess economic power— something that greatly influenced the concept of modern dating.

During this time period, America’s main concern revolved around creating wholesome and safe communities during an era of hostile uncertainty: No one could predict the outcome of The Cold War and Red Scare. Though it wasn’t a nuclear weapon, dating threatened that safety and sparked much concern for parents and school administrators who disapproved of teen’s values.  These parents and administrators wanted order and began to create boundaries and rules to prevent teens from engaging in any type of disorderly behavior.  Some rules included prohibiting girls from wearing pants and boys from wearing jeans, prohibiting boys from having hair passed their ears, and shutting down dances if teens got too intimate while dancing.

In an attempt to encourage teens to abide by society’s conservative standards, many instructional videos were released as a reference guide for teens. The classic film produced by Coronet entitled What to do on a Date is a perfect example of how older generations tried to steer teens into the right direction.

The video, although it may not be extremely obvious at first, demonstrates how these generations promoted group dating to discourage heavy petting and wanted teens to save their money instead of spending it on courtship. This classic instructional video which follows a young teen’s attempt to ask a woman out on a date will not only give students good insight into this time period’s common dating rituals and expectations, but will also keep them interested since it’s something that can relate too. It might even spark some laughter, since the ideas presented are clearly outdated for this generation.


This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33