100 classic dating

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The telephone was a crucial dating technology, and so was the automobile—one that parents and teachers were really freaked out about in the 1930s and again in the 1950s. (One funny discovery I made while researching swinger culture of the 1960s and 1970s was that a lot of swingers talked about the Interstate Highway System, which Eisenhower started building in 1956, as the technology that made mate-swapping possible.

Before the highways made it easy to drive from state to state, it was just too hard to find a critical mass of people interested in “The Lifestyle.”) So, new dating technologies definitely show up in dating movies!

Some seem easier to visualize, or make for better visual storytelling than others.

Cars appear in many of the movies that we’re screening, from ; countless filmmakers have used them to represent speed and intimacy, the sense of excitement and danger that surrounds modern romance.

Dating in the age of Tinder might seem less clear-cut, but as Moira Weigel illustrates in her fascinating new book about the history of the phenomenon, what we think of as dating has always been in flux, to the extent we can define it at all.

For more than a century, she argues, romance has not only been a form of work but a set of practices shaped by the push and pull of broader economic forces.

Stock up and learn how to make drinks yourselves — and then every night can be a night at the cocktail bar.

Even a city street, where you hang out looking good and picking people up, might be a kind of technology. They created a kind of mobile privacy, like cell phones, but in the flesh!

One of the points of my book was to think through definitions of dating, what different people say about it, and why certain things count.

I wanted to raise the question of what sex work or ritualized murder might have to do with a Nora Ephron rom-com.

Your book is organized around the idea that since the early 20th century, dating in the US has evolved not only in response to social forces but also to the invention of new “technologies”—birth control, college, and cell phones, for instance.

How do you think some of these changes have been reflected in the movies?

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