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Traditionally, in the case of a formal engagement, it has been perceived that it is the role of a male to actively "court" or "woo" a female, thus encouraging her to understand him and her receptiveness to a marriage proposal.
Modern western culture has taken over, leading to more and more people committing to partnerships through dating.
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.
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.
This form of dating, though, was usually more chaste than is seen today, since premarital sex was not considered the norm.
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".