Although people typically see a lot of the dating etiquette from the 1950s as “ridiculous” and outdated, many of the customs used then can be adapted easily into 21st century dating. We may now scoff at the idea of only the man asking the woman out or getting parental approval for a first date (especially if you’re in college)—but a lot of the social norms surrounding dating in the 50s had great practical purpose, making them timeless.
Here are some ways you can incorporate ‘50s dating practices into your relationship (or future relationship—these are great for a first date!). While they may not work for every date you go on, having a ‘50s date every once and awhile is a fun way to shake up the monotony of just another night at your mainstay restaurant or coffee shop.
Preparing for the Date
An important part of dating in the 50s was communication and punctuality. It’s recommended that the man asks out the woman at least two days in advance, giving her plenty of time to prepare. This asking also should be done in person, with detail given about what the askee should expect of the date in terms of location and time. Of course, it is also completely okay for the woman to be the asker today, and in a long-term relationship it usually goes both ways.
Once the night of the date has arrived, the woman should be ready on time so the man can pick her up at her door. This means no parking in front of her dorm and sending her an “I’m here” text, but instead actually getting out of the car and walking all the way to her front door. It’s a personal touch that makes all the difference.
Where to Go
In the 1950s, the most common places to go on dates were cheap and fun and didn’t involve a terribly large amount of planning. This is great news, because a lot of popular places (such as ice-cream parlors, diners, parks and coffee shops) are still accessible today. Here are some great recommendations in and around San Antonio, most of which cost under $25:
This 1950’s style is exactly what you’re looking for if you want great food with a bit of vintage flair. It’s fairly inexpensive diner faire with fast service and nostalgic decor and music. Definitely not the healthiest place on earth, but worth it.
If you live in San Antonio and have never visited the Japanese Tea Gardens, you’re missing out. Located within walking distance from Trinity University and with free entry from dawn to dusk, it’s practically a broke college students’ dream date location. It’s a great place to go on walks with your boyfriend or girlfriend (possibly after a very filling meal at the diner?) and has beautiful flowers and greenery.
3. Pearl Market
There are a ton of things of all price points to do at the Pearl. Go shopping at the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning, grab dinner on Friday night, or just take a long walk on the stretch of the Riverwalk which is right below all of main thoroughfares. Events are always going on here, and you’ll never get bored with the Pearl’s endless street musicians, quirky shops, and delicious restaurants.
Although this location is not technically in San Antonio (it’s about a half hour drive away from Trinity), it’s definitely one of the most unique and fun places around. Stars and Stripes plays double features on three different screens, and concessions are available. Clear out your trunk and fill it with pillows and blankets. Even though this option involves making the trek to New Braunfels, it’s an experience you won’t forget.
This location only works for early morning or afternoon dates, but is still a great option due to the walking distance from campus and the adorable atmosphere both inside and out. Treat your sweetie to some brunch on a cool weekend morning, or if you want to save a bit of money, go for just some coffee and delicious beignets.
Commonwealth is another great morning or afternoon option, and serves great espresso drinks with flakey croissants. This is a great option for a fun between-classes date, or for something simple on a Saturday morning.
Amy’s is a staple, and is smack-dab in the middle of the Alamo Quarry, meaning shopping and dining options are bound. Prices are much more palatable than the oh-so-fancy Lick Ice Creams, but with better quality and more fun than just picking up a half gallon of Blue Bell at HEB (which is still an arguably awesome date, by the way).
8. Slab Cinema
If you aren’t feeling like a drive in movie but still want something different than your typical movie theatre, check out Slab Cinema. They have outdoor movie showings at different locations around San Antonio, and nearly all of them are completely free! Nothing beats laying underneath the stars with the person you love, and adding a fun movie just makes it all the better.
An Italian restaurant is a classic date location and Sorrento’s is perfect for this. You know you’re in for a traditional Italian meal when the walls are decorated with old family photos, and what’s not to love about that?
Okay, I might be a little bit biased for this place because it was where I went on my first date with my boyfriend one year ago, and now it’s one of our favorite places. But—Candlelight truly is one of the best date places around. It’s within walking distance from campus, is open late, has a variety of food and drink and a romantic ambiance that is sure to please. Whether you’re in the mood for dinner or just a cup of tea, Candlelight has something for you.
Things to Remember
The most important part about going on a ‘50s date isn’t the location or who picks whom up at the door, but instead the mindset. Put your phone away and let yourself enjoy your time with the person you’re with. Being whimsical and outside the box makes dating all the more fun, especially when it’s with someone you care about. Happy Valentine’s Day!