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"In that way I think Tinder is a mixed blessing - at least it acknowledges the fact that healthy young (and not so young) men and women want to have sex, to have a connection and that there is nothing shameful in either." Anne Marie later wrote It's Not Me ... A Girl's Guide to Dating in Ireland, in which she recommended the emerging field of online dating, which has since become the rule rather than the exception.

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She says the difference between the dating cultures was staggering.

"In the US, men would ask for dates, which was refreshing…

We are getting worried that we will be left on the shelf if we won't give in to them. Almost 50 years later, a young man in his mid-20s is showing me how he uses the dating app, Tinder.

He is not ashamed to admit that he is looking for a good time and his approach involves 'liking' anything female within a six-mile radius.

" Gender roles began to shift in the 1990s and Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider published a best-selling book called The Rules which advocated a return to more traditional values: never phone a man; only accept weekend invitations after Wednesday and never have sex on the first date.

Author and columnist Anne Marie Scanlon, who left Ireland for New York in the mid-90s, was a Sex and the City-style columnist during this period.

DJs would change the tempo with a romantic ballad and men would use the opportunity to ask a woman to dance.

Jennifer Haskins, the co-owner of exclusive introduction agency Two's Company (twoscompany.ie), remembers them well: "If you stayed dancing after the first slow dance the guy knew you were interested at least. Everyone's interest - or lack of it - was quite clear." Jennifer, who is in her late 40s, says roles have changed since her first forays into the world of dating. The roles have become less defined and women are taking more initiative." She recalls an elderly aunt turning to her recently and asking, "Since when have men become the prize?

"My recollection is that there were 'bourgeois' couples in Ireland who still did things rather sedately - formal dances still existed, run by banks and businesses.

"But the disco had come in and I think sex began to get pretty rampant pretty quickly - after all, (though not legally available in Ireland at the time) the Pill transmitted the idea that there would be no consequence.

"Trial marriage means trying out sexual relations before marriage," explains Angela.

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