Particularly those dating back
The lesser problem was the concern that women had that they were endangering themselves meeting strangers about whom they knew very little. Stories circulated about women being lured to their deaths. Consequently, stratagems were developed to make such encounters somewhat safer, that is, refusal by the woman to give her home address, or even her telephone number.
Couples met for the first time in very public places. This was before the time of the “date rape” drugs; but women were especially careful, nevertheless, to drink very little.
I remember, now, an experience I had when I was in medical school. After a time, she asked if I would accompany her to the theater. To be forward that way meant either that she was desperate or that she had tremendous self-confidence. When I met her, I decided she was probably desperate.
I lived at the Hall of Residence and helped make ends meet by working at the switchboard, (Believe it or not, there was such a thing as a switchboard.) I tried to connect a woman who wanted to reach one of the medical students. It would not be gallant of me to describe her; but I had a good time anyway! By the way, the men who advertised, or answered advertisements, had their own concerns.
The kind of dances performed then required holding each other, which put those of us who were shy at a disadvantage.
Otherwise, a fellow and a girl would be “fixed up” on a blind date by a mutual friend.
They were afraid they would be rejected out of hand, or made fun of.
And they, too, were afraid of being trapped into being with someone who was undesirable.
The same was true for those who did not go to college in the first place.Women made the trip west with the expectation that they would marry and be happy-- more or less.And it turned out they did and were, although there is never very much evidence about whether or not a particular married couple is really happy.The women reported to me that they did not feel threatened—although they were very likely to report that they felt disappointed. Most of the precautions I thought were important were against being stuck for a whole evening with a boring date.I especially recommended arranging to meet for the first time only for coffee or a drink.
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These precautions seemed less important after the first few times a woman responded to these published invitations to meet.