The NPR History Department recently posted an article about petting parties of the 1920s. Have you ever heard of such a thing? These two couples look like a lot of fun! This generation was poised to break free from their parent’s generation and let loose the uptight morals and experiment. I don’t think we ever went back; except maybe in the 50s for a brief time until Elvis came along and “ruined” that generation too! 😉 The photo above is 2 flapper women, with their dates, from Chicago, circa 1928. Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis.
I think my favorite paragraph is this one:
Speaking to 1,500 students at Wellesley College in 1921, Mrs. Augustus Trowbridge — the wife of a Princeton professor — railed against “the vulgarity and revolting badness of petting parties.” She said that the loose-moraled gatherings — along with jazz music, unchaperoned dancing and lipstick — were symptomatic of a decadent society, the Coshocton, Ohio, Tribune reported on Jan. 13.
Whew! Times sure have changed, haven’t they? Jazz, dancing, and lipstick were the ruin of many a woman I guess. I would have been in trouble especially since I’m addicted to lipstick. The young women at these parties were seen as getting out of hand. What about the behavior of the men? I guess this was normal for them but not in “polite” society.
I feel like these parties were only happening in the city and not in the rural areas but I also don’t think much changed in later generations. We’ve all been to make-out parties and played Spin The Bottle and Truth or Dare. Youngsters will be youngsters.
The comments on this NPR post are hilarious. You should read them.1