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Furthermore, there is vast individual variation between couples.Courtship may be completely omitted, as in cases of some arranged marriages where the couple do not meet before the wedding.
It is common to see the male showing off by sending love letters and love poems, singing romantic songs, and buying gifts for the female.
Dating, a more modern approach, begins when either the man or the woman initiates a more-than-friends relationship with the other, and then they conduct that relationship outside of any oversight or authority. Christian minister Patricia Bootsma delineates this distinction, writing that in contrast to the modern conception of dating, in "courtship, time together in groups with family or friends is encouraged, and there is oversight by and accountability to parents or mentors".
In America, in the 1820s, the phrase "date" was most closely associated with prostitution.
Forbidding experimental and serial courtship and sanctioning only arranged matches is partly a means of guarding the chastity of young people and partly a matter of furthering family interests, which, in such cultures, may be considered more important than individual romantic preferences.
Throughout history, courtship has often included traditions such as exchanging valentines, written correspondence (which was facilitated by the creation of the postal service in the nineteenth century), and similar communication-based courting.
However, by the Jazz Age of the 1920s, dating for fun was becoming a cultural expectation, and by the 1930s, it was assumed that any popular young person would have lots of dates.