Rich history dating
“In the early 1900s, vice commissions across the country sent police and undercover investigators to check out spots where people went to make dates,” Weigel writes.“As early as 1905, private investigators hired by a group of Progressive do-gooders in New York City were taking notes on what we can now recognize as the dating avant-garde.” She recalls the report of one such special agent, staked out at the Strand Hotel in Midtown, who noted that the women he was spying on did not seem like prostitutes, per se, but were concerning nonetheless. But how much worse would it be if the very act of it landed you in jail?According to “Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a sprawling new history by Moira Weigel, the first female daters faced exactly that — mistaken, in their quest for love, for prostitutes.
” But when these single women, stripped from their dependency on fathers and husbands, began to be courted in public, police, politicians, and civic leaders were alarmed.
“In the eyes of the authorities,” Weigel writes, “women who let men buy them food and drinks or gifts and entrance tickets looked like whores, and making a date seemed the same as turning a trick.” After centuries of women’s fortunes being dictated by the men around them, the notion of women on their own gave much of society pause.