One of the most intriguing questions about mate choice in America is how the nature of dating has changed over time. We know surprisingly little about this question. Our American “dating culture” gives popular approval to young people pairing off with various romantic partners, without adult supervision and without defining those partners necessarily as potential mates. We think this dating culture evolved gradually during the latter part of the 19th century and early in the 20th century. Prior to that time, pairing off was more subject to direct adult supervision and was interpreted more in terms of the immediate goal of choosing a mate. The venues available for such pairing off were relatively limited compared to present times, and for middle-class couples, at least, the dominant practice was for the male to visit the female in her home. Terms such as “courting” and “keeping company” were used for such activity, and the archaic tone of such terms today conveys how much change has occurred in premarital relations.