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A Trip Down Memory Lane With 1950s Teen Culture: What Was ‘Fun’ To Teens Back Then?

Of course, there is practically no limit to what teens can do for fun today– from a simple walk to playing at a virtual reality arcade to a day trip. However, what did people of the older generations do for fun when they were teenagers? In the 1950s, teens engaged in different activities with the intent of ‘separating’ themselves from older people. Here is what life as a teenager in the 1950s was like.

The fun started at home

As much as the 1950s was a decade of youths wanting to distinguish themselves by engaging in different activities, it was also a period when teens spent time learning different things at home. Especially for teenage girls, the fun began at home.

Staying at home meant learning to cook, clean, and take care of the house. These activities were in place to prepare teens for adulthood by helping them become responsible for the upkeep of their homes.

Dating was so much fun

Today, it’s often a hassle for many teens to step out of the house; they prefer doing movie nights in the parlor and ordering snacks. Well, it was the opposite in the 1950s; the teens then loved going out on dates. 

Courtesy: Playbuzz

Teens went out a lot, from pizza parlors and bowling alleys to drive-ins and coffee houses. School dances were also another opportunity to spend time outside. During these dates, hugging and kissing were often done in public.

Dancing couldn’t be ruled out

Another aspect of fun activities that 1950s teens engaged in was dancing. While the adults enjoyed more relaxed types of music, teens listened to Rock n’ Roll. There were also dances that they enjoyed.

Courtesy: Pinterest

Swing dancing was a prominent dance style that was created in the 1950s. It was mainly an upbeat dance that involved movements that were termed ‘inappropriate.’ Dancing was a way of self-expression for teens.

More familiar fun activities

Aside from school dances, teens in the 1950s were also involved in other fun activities that teens still enjoy today. 1950s teens usually planned trips to different locations just to spend time together.

Courtesy: LIFE

They also enjoyed watching TV, playing games, and sometimes exchanging phone calls. Although there weren’t smartphones in the 1950s, many households had phones that teens often used to call.

So, how did they show up to these activities?

While it’s true that 1950s teens went on trips and hung out as teens do now, there was still a major distinction. They didn’t go on trips in tees and jean trousers- their dressing was more rigidly organized.

Courtesy: Masterfile

The girls usually wore petticoats under skirts with cardigan sweaters; they also often wore modest heels. For the teen boys, it was mostly button-up shirts and jackets or vests on pants. It was very crucial to press clothes in the 1950s.

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