Dating through the Decades

이다현 기자l승인2013.11.06l0호

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Everyone has probably heard about the love story of Lee Mong Ryong and Sung Chun Hyang. Love and
the hope of a loving relationship have existed from beginning of recorded history, but dating customs have gone through many changes over the years. These days, there are variety of ways to meet people. Moreover, if you like someone, you ask for their phone number and make a connection. However, men and women could not meet so easily in the past. How did they meet? What were their dates like? We decided to find answers for these questions and more. It is interesting to consider how much dating etiquette has changed over the years. It seems quaint that there was a dating manual 70 years ago. However, these days we can easily make contact with each other online, so it is difficult to feel longing due to separation unlike in the past. Dating norms from the past seem quaint to us now. Who knows what young lovers in the future will say about how we got together and made relationships now.
1930s-1940s
There is a dating manual from this time. There is a lot of content in this dating manual. For example, you should not hesitate to tell your parents when you fall in love. You should not think of the opposite sex as an object of romance when you first meet. You should give up your pursuit of a woman or man when you feel it is hopeless.
1950s
These days, women and men usually meet in coffee shops. Men and women who were in their prime marriage age
had blind dates at the woman’s home in 1950s. Moreover, there were many fraudulent marriages at this time. For
example, women who passed what was considered the appropriate age for marriage lied about their age and men
often exaggerated their wealth.

1960s
Blind dates began to catch on from the mid-1960s. One specific type of blind date was referred to as “ddalting.” This kind of date took place in a strawberry field. There was also “baeting.” This kind of date took place in a pear orchard. The night cherry blossom date was common in university towns. There were many ways to get together
besides blind dates. There were penpals, phonepals, and phone-ting. A phonepal was a man who called any number, and flirted with the women who answered the phone. Phone-ting was a match service for women that made use of an interphone that was installed on a table in a coffee shop or snack shop. In addition, there were “ddangting” and “train meetings.” Ddangting is a date that took place in a train station. Train meetings took place mainly in Daejeon. High school students would meet on a train and then they would go to a destination that one of them chose. There was also “ssangssang party” at this kind of event many women and men would line up and dance. At these events men and women would refer to each other as “Ms. Skirt” and “Mr. Pants.”

1970s
Reconstruction dates were popular at this time perhaps because there was no cost involved. On reconstruction dates couples would join hands with their lover and blindly walk from Seoul Gwanghwamun to Samcheong-dong.

1980s
Many women and men met in Gogoclubs and Rollerrinks at this time. Couples watched late-night movies. Then they would go to a Cheongjin-dong to eat hangover soup at dawn. Moreover, agreement ceremonies by couples who promised to get married without their parents’ permission became common.

1990s-2000s
Date cards were popular in the early 90s. Men wrote letters of selfintroduction and wrote down their wish list for what they wanted in a partner when they paid the membership fee. If a man met a woman, the man would pay 2,000 won to the card company. Moreover, the couple would give cell phones to ach other and buy cassette tapes,
and then record music on the tape. Blind dates became more popular due to the rise of online chatting.
Online communities formed through messenger services, cell phone texts and personal homepages.
These modern methods of communication changed the dating culture between women and men.

Present form
Now there are a variety of ways for us to meet like the chatting applications “I-um” and “Forest of fairy.” On a typical date couples eat a meal, watch a movie, and go to a coffee shop. Nowadays couples also go to motels without constraint as the sexual culture in Korea has become more open. Moreover, cultural changes like
“Dutch treat” dates and date bankbooks have become more common.

Do you want to go on a “throwback” date?
First, if you want to have a throwback date I recommend you walk along the Modern Cultural Alleys in Daegu. You can see old houses of historical people like the poet Lee Sang Hwa, and nationalist Seo Sang Don. If you walk for two hours with your date, you can feel love and history. Secondly, if you are feeling nostalgic with your date, I recommend you go to a music listening room. If you are around Daegu Department Store, you can see Heimat Music Hall. If you listen to LP classic music you can feel as if you have gone into the past.

It is interesting to consider how much dating etiquette has changed over the years. It seems quaint that there was
a dating manual 70 years ago. However, these days we can easily make contact with each other online, so it is
difficult to feel longing due to separation unlike in the past. Dating norms from the past seem quaint to us now. Who knows what young lovers in the future will say about how we got together and made relationships now.


이다현 기자  dbdk0918@naver.com
<저작권자 © The Yeungnam Observer, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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