Dating while in college in the 1920s changed dramatically from the previous decades. Dates were allowed to have more freedom and more privacy. In the early years, courting was the most popular way to attract a mate. A woman had the man come over to her house or dorm to see her. These dates were chaperoned and required little money since the couple was not moving past the woman’s living room or front porch. But in the 1920s, cars were readily available and it was popular to now take a woman “out.”
Because owning a car was common, it gave couples the freedom to go to the movies or dancing, which were popular date activities in the 1920s. Going “out” on dates also gave the couple more privacy. Couples could now practice physical affection when getting to know one another before entering into an exclusive relationship. While it may seem that becoming physical was a top priority while dating in college, it was not. Finding “the right one” was still top priority and remained top priority for many years.
This page from the 1928 Genevan Yearbook has a few cartoons that explain what dating while in college in the 1920s was like. One cartoon I want to shed light on is the cartoon in the middle of the page of a lamp with the words, “See All Know All.” This has a couple kissing under the moon. This cartoon explains Geneva College’s dating to a t– a woman being seen outside her dorm is forbidden, let alone with a male. And when a couple is caught, the rest of campus will find out about it.