We don't hear much about dating on college campuses these days. I assume that is due to the fact that the student body of most colleges is comprised of both men and women. However, in 1961, that was not the situation at the women’s college of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. There were some “campus boys” who worked on campus and attended classes, and a few men were day students. Overall, the number of men available for the young women to date was very limited.
Since the number of men on campus was minimal, the young women looked to the Fort Hood Army Base as a place to meet young men. The military did not have women enlisted at the time, which made the population of Fort Hood a wellspring of opportunity.
The young ladies at MHBC were able encounter these soldiers at the Dairy Queen or other eating establishments in Belton. The young men who were also eager to meet young ladies would attend events at MHBC that were open to the community. Another opportunity would arise when a student who was already dating a soldier would be asked to arrange dates for friends of her boyfriend. However the meeting was arranged, many girls at MHBC dated young men who were stationed at Fort Hood.
One of our friends was dating Richard, who was about 18 years old at the time. Richard was a friendly soul who came up with a list of 11 of his friends who wanted to date girls at MHBC. Richard gave the list to my sister and me. We agreed to arrange dates for a Saturday night when the 12 couples would go to a movie together.
Twelve young men dressed in long, black trench coats walked into the parlor of Ely Pepper Dorm that night. Mrs. Sealy, our dorm mother, was alarmed. She thought the feds had arrived due to trouble on campus.
The situation was calmed, and each young man was given the name of his date and the dormitory where she would be waiting. Those who had a date with a girl in Pepper Dorm waited in the parlor while the other young men made their way to Stribling or Burt Hall to meet their dates.
The 12 couples went to a movie in Temple and had an enjoyable time. Some of the couples continued to date for a while, and a few of the couples eventually married. These couples met because Richard was willing to arrange dates for his friends at Fort Hood and because there were few young men on the campus of MHBC at the time.
Yes, the dating scene on college campuses as well as in society as a whole has changed dramatically from the 1960s. Today there are websites and apps to locate a companion. Although the ways to meet have changed, the desire for a social life has not. Therefore, there will always be a need to date.