The dating game – back then

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Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 89. He’s seen a lot of the world, a lot of Australia, and a lot of life. In addition to his observations and real short stories, he continues his series titled Vanishing Australia.


You needed to “pick a sort” who lived fairly close by. Not too close in case you broke up, but within easy bicycle range. That way you could ride over, leave your bike there and catch the tram into town together.

If you were lucky, she would be ready and you didn’t have to spend much time with her mum or dad. They looked at you as if you were a threat to their daughter’s virtue, which you were, or a suitable son-in-law, which you were not.

After the movie, there was not much to do in town, except make sure you did not miss the last tram home to her place. Once there, depending on how long you’d been “going together” you might have a bit of a snork.

Weather permitting, it was better to snork at the front gate rather than at the front door. If things got a bit willing at the front door, it was difficult to re-assemble clothing if her dad or mum happened to open the door and tell her it was time to “come inside”.

If you were “going steady” and there was no cricket or footy on, you might take her to the Saturday arvo matinee at the local picture theatre. If you had been “going steady” for a while you might even get seats in the back stalls.

There, apart from overcoming her resistance, all you had to worry about was the nosey, flaming ushers with their nosey, flaming torches perving on what you two were doing!

Do you have an idea for Peter’s Vanishing Australia series? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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Written by Peter Leith


Total Comments: 12
  1. 0

    From the female perspective, you had to wait until he asked you out. Could be then be dating? Not yet. You had to wait a bit until that became clear (I’m not quite sure when that was!). Once you’d been out, he might ring you up for another date, but it wouldn’t be the very next day. He waited a few days so he wouldn’t be seen as too keen. Looking back, there were people who I now realise were gay. I have no clue how they sent signals and got a response so they could start spending time together. Fortunately, things have mostly got better for them now.

  2. 0

    Or there was the local dance. You remember, boys at the bar, girls along the opposite wall. Or the brave girls dancing round their handbags in the middle of the circle on the dance floor.
    Or the usual chat up line in the posher places where the girls sat rather than stood against the wall. Up comes the likely suitor:
    You dancing? You asking? I’m asking. Then I’m dancing! And off you’d go……..

  3. 0

    That is so funny & accurate. We had to sit & wait to be asked to dance & unlike the boys who had time to size you up we had to do a quick excuse without being rude if we didn’t fancy them. So glad I was a baby boomer 60s & 70s were the best.

  4. 0

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  5. 0

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