Dating in the 1920s and now

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“Have you noticed a gentleman wearing spats stopping at Miss Holahan’s counter every day, leaving a spray of lily of the valley? In an odd way, this consumerism marked a form of progress.“In an earlier era, a girl from humble origins could not hope to look like the wife or daughter of a millionaire,” Weigel writes.By 1912, the Baltimore Sun reported that even respectable society women ‘are seen on our streets and fashionable promenade with painted faces.’ ” To counter society’s negative association with painted faces, “the cosmetics industry invented a new term: makeup.“Not only was ‘making yourself up’ permissible; advertisers were soon claiming it was positively virtuous,” Weigel writes.

“The cosmetics industry exploded in the 1920s,” Weigel writes.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.The notion that “it” can be developed led to the origin of another phenomena — the dating-advice book.Weigel tells of a 1915 New York Times article on a lecture by author Susanna Cocroft, who seized on the trend by writing books like “What to Eat and When,” and this now-remarkable title, “Beauty a Duty.” “‘Beauty is no longer vanity; it is use,” Cocroft said.

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