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Such a rule did not hold in my time, at least not among the people I knew. The only women any of us ever saw were women that were dating our friends.
Someone answering ads in one place might be replying to an invitation to engage in some sort of sex. Others were directed at more sober individuals who were thinking of getting married somewhere down the line.
Answering advertisements was not yet entirely respectable, but I knew of some doctors and lawyers who married someone they met under these circumstances, (including a friend, who was a psychiatrist.
Otherwise, a fellow and a girl would be “fixed up” on a blind date by a mutual friend.
Meetings in bars happened from time to time, but were considered somewhat dangerous—at least by the women. Colleges became co-ed, and young people were thrown together informally, making it easy to meet someone of the opposite sex. Instead of couples marrying in their early twenties, they married later.
The same was true for those who did not go to college in the first place.