History and sociology dating
As with concepts like the “teenager” and “middle-class,” dating is an historically recent invention, spurred by an influx of women into the big cities seeking work around the turn of the 20th Century.The word “date” was coined — inadvertently, it seems — by George Ade, a columnist for the Chicago Record, in 1896.In Chicago, single women were known as “women adrift.” These circumstances gave birth to dating rituals and other unfortunate traditions that still remain — or, at least, still cause confusion as mores change — today.
From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.
But how much worse would it be if the very act of it landed you in jail?
According to “Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a sprawling new history by Moira Weigel, the first female daters faced exactly that — mistaken, in their quest for love, for prostitutes.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.
This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage.