Looking Back: Doing a spot of courting!!!
Before the 1930s, a man would ‘call’ upon a woman, usually during the family’s ‘at home’.
They were obviously from the middle or upper classes, and present his calling card to the maid who would give it to the young lady.
She would decide whether to let him in or make an excuse. If the former, she would demonstrate her social skills by giving a short piano solo.
Any subsequent meetings would be heavily chaperoned.
As the lower classes were unlikely to either have a maid or a piano, they started their own form of courtship, known as ‘dating’.
Before the Second Word War, many towns saw the ‘Monkey Run’ when young single people would walk up and down a street, eying up members of the opposite sex on the other side.
It would have been up to the man to make the first move asking the lady if she would like to go for a Vimto before he walked her home.
The practice stopped when so many men went away to fight.
Social life in the 1950s consisted of youth club and church dances. Learning to ‘bop’ was the most important social skill at that time once rock and roll had hit the UK.
My friends and I took our flat shoes out with us in what were called ‘train cases’ with a mirror in the lid. Our stiletto heeled shoes were no good for ‘bopping’ in.
We wore wide skirts with, if we could afford them, stiff petticoats with lots of frills.
I once attempted a fashionable look by threading wire through the hem of an ordinary underneath skirt, but it buckled when I sat down, and my friend had to straighten it out before I could hit the dance floor.
Around this time I was asked on my first date to the Saturday morning film show at the Gaumont Cinema.
Unfortunately the young man in question had to look after his younger brother and brought him along. He sat between us.
At least my date did pay for the tickets.