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After World War II, due in part to the fact that 250,000 men never came home, for the first time in the United States, women outnumbered men.
In June 1945, captioned a photo of a bride and groom descending church steps with: "She got a man, but 6 to 8 million women won't. " Around this same time a half-serious article was published in magazine discussing the possibility of instituting a polygamous marriage system in the United States.
One example of this impression management comes from a 1938 article in where a Smith College senior advised incoming freshmen on how to cultivate an "image of popularity." She wrote, "During your first term, get home talent to ply you with letters, telegrams and invitations.
College men will think, ." She also suggested that you get your mom back home to send you flowers from time to time, again, to give the impression of popularity.
Beth Bailey and Ken Myers explain in the Mars Hill Audio Report, , demonstrated through the number and variety of dates a young adult could command, sometimes even on the same night.
In the late 1940s, Margaret Mead, in describing this pre-war dating system, argued that dating was not about sex or marriage.
Instead, it was a "competitive game," a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity.
After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men.