Going Steady: Social Security in the 1950s and 1960s

October 14, 2010 | NeW Staff

In a time where the housewife was regarded as the traditional role of women, and was primarily the only option available, girls were pressured from an early dating age to go steady. Going steady meant going on dates with the same guy with the possibility he could be your potential husband. It also meant security of having a date to all social functions and most weekends.

There was such a dating craze during this time that many psychologists posted educational journals about the subject referencing it as “the current teenage answer to general anxiety of the times” and allowed them to escape the “fiercely competitive business of dating” for as long as possible.

“Steady dating was found to relieve many students of the emotional and psychological problems involved in the competitive rating-dating pattern.”

Not only were medical professionals talking about it, but so were popularly circulated magazines like Ladies Journal. Someone once wrote in that if a girl hadn’t gotten a date before October, she just wouldn’t date that year. Others wrote in that in order to be able to rate, you had to date. Or in other words, in order to have the capability to date, you had to go out with guys before.

Parents were concerned at the obsession of their daughters with dating. Girls who didn’t go out on the weekends, would wait by the phone awaiting a call from a possible ‘steady date’. They were caught with a dilemma, however, because they didn’t want to be caught waiting at home on a Friday night, but they didn’t want to miss the call or be caught at the single-girls-only hang out either.

Not only was the dating craze a concern in terms of emotions, but it also threatened the security of the young woman. Many parents tried their best to set up parlor dates and group dates, but the more modern times of the 1950s and 1960s led to a more independent woman, one who could go out alone on a date and return late…after doing whatever she wished on a date.

As we look at our society today, has the security of going steady changed? Or do we find more people having security in being single? Especially in our college towns, are most people matched or loving mingling?

*Information is based on the book: From Front Porch to Back Seat By: Beth L. Bailey
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