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After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change.
Instead, it was a "competitive game," a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity.
With the rise of the entertainment culture, with its movie houses and dance halls and their universal appeal across class lines, dating quickly moved up the socio-economic ladder to include middle- and upper-class men and women, as well as the new urbanites.
When one tries to understand how dating has changed over time, and most importantly, how we arrived at the system of courtship and dating we have today, one must realize the monumental cultural shift that occurred during the 1940s, primarily due to World War II.
You had to rate in order to date, to date in order to rate.
By successfully maintaining this cycle, you became popular. So, that is the system in place prior to World War II.
Men's popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc.