Courting confusion

The word courtship and the idea of it—a prescribed process of getting to know someone in preparation for marriage—is virtually archaic. The courting rituals that members of the baby-boom generation still enacted or endured have largely disappeared. Young people no longer live with expectations about male initiative and female reticence. When they arrive at college, they often find coed dorms, perhaps even coed bathrooms, which offer a simulated experience of familial intimacy. In this scene, the rituals of dating are as antiquated as chaperones or calling cards.


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