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A Shared Story: Going Out On A Date, Circa 1965

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Today we were discussing “Virgin pins” on Facebook.  Don’t ask me why we were discussing this arcane item of jewelry, but we were and we’ve been determined that there is probably little need for a Virgin anything in today’s society. Sadly, we seem to have left formality and propriety behind in dress and manners, and it is not necessarily a good thing. It started me thinking about going out on a date when I was a teenager.

The boy called a minimum of three days in advance. Any less implied a lack of respect and/or indicated that he figured he was G-d's gift or you were desperate. No boy who called a day in advance was worth going out with.

You walked around in rollers all the day of the date so that all your friends knew you had been asked out. If you didn't have a date, you wore rollers, anyway, so that people thought you had a date.

He came to the door and uncomfortably underwent the scrutiny of your family. Eddie Haskell manners were demanded. (“You look lovely, this evening, Mrs. Cleaver.”) The worst one I remember was the boy (whose name I still remember, but I won't use it) who came to the door and met my beautiful seven-years-older sister. As we walked down the steps, he said to my chubby 15 year old self, “Why can't you look like that?” Now, I'd kick him. Then I kept my mouth shut and absorbed the insult.

Your parents issued a curfew and violation of said curfew had dire results. (I never violated my curfew — well, I did once — so I never knew what the dire results were). Boys who honked without coming into the house were blackballed by your parents.

You dressed up for a date, and there were levels of dressing up. If it was a fancy date (downtown to a first run movie with dinner either before or after), you wore a dress, heels and hose. In the winter, you wore a dress coat, perhaps with a fur collar to soften it. Never mind that your legs were freezing in the damned hose; your neck was warm. And, oh, the underpinnings! Slip, bra, panties (not a thong, for gawd's sake), panty girdle (that doubled as a chastity belt), hose that either bagged at the knee and ankle or were pulled so tight that they tore at the garter. Full make-up including grease-paint like eyeshadow, rouge (not blush) and white lipstick for the ghoulish look. If you were in the neighborhood, you wore a Villager-style heather skirt and coordinated cardigan sweater with a round-collared blouse and perhaps a virgin pin (in the days where that was sometimes still true). You'd wear penny loafer or Weejuns with tassels. You went to a local movie or bowling, and then to the deli or ice cream shop.

I don't ever remember wearing jeans on a date all the way through college.

There were good girls, nice girls, and the other kind. I had strict instructions from my sisters on how the three were distinguished. It limited my popularity for years. Because we were all well-endowed, I was warned that I had a strike against me from the get-go, and I'd better be extra good. I was, all the way through college. (The rest is private information).

A double date was better than a single date because you didn't have to make conversation all by yourself. However, if the couple you were doubling with happened to be going steady and were necking in the back seat, it made things extremely awkward.

Boys did, in fact, do that stupid arm stretch thing to get their hands around your shoulder. Frequently, they had “Russian hands and Roman fingers,” and you spent a lot of time keeping the hand from going lower than your shoulder.

Boys held the door for you. If a boy did not open your car door, you sat in the seat until he walked around to your side and opened the door. Those were the rules.

You did not kiss goodnight on the first date. Well, sometimes you did. One time, my date leaned on the doorbell and my mother opened the door in back of me and I fell into the house. It was embarrassing.

You told the boy you enjoyed yourself and hoped, hoped, hoped that he'd call again. Or you awkwardly said goodnight and invented babysitting jobs for the next three weeks until he got the picture.

It was a different world. Kids now group date. They never wear dressy clothes. Once they start “hooking up,” there is no longer a limit to sexual involvement.

I miss the old days.

After Fifty Living™ was founded by Jo-Anne Lema, a genuine Boomer and member of the 50+ generation. As she likes to say, “Our enormous generation is charting new territory – we’re healthier, better educated, and more financially fit than any other generation at this time. And, as we march through history, 110 million strong – unique, new issues are developing. It’s exciting to be a part of the development and growth of This is a historic solution for a historic generation.”

Jo-Anne spent many years in the financial and operations side of higher education after having received a doctorate in education management and administration from Harvard, and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. Launching out on her own, though, has been the fulfillment of a life dream. Jo-Anne believes that “AfterFiftyLiving™ will delight its visitors, catalyze its partners, and will significantly benefit those who engage it.”

Residing in New England along with her husband of 35+ years, she never ceases to brag about her two children and 4 grandkids!

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