Bailey (1988) summarizes the effect of these changes succinctly: "Money -- Men's money -- became the basis of the dating system" (p. With increased expenditures on dating by men, they began to regard dating as an investment in sexual pleasure: "..planned and paid for 'a good time' and asked of their girls a bit of physical intimacy" (Modell 1983).Another trend that started in the 1920s was detected by Waller (1937) a decade later and dubbed "the rating and dating complex." This involved a woman dating many desirable men for the prestige value of appearing popular: In order to have Class A rating they must belong to one of the better fraternities, be prominent in activities, have a copious supply of spending money, be well-dressed, 'smooth' in manners and appearance, have a 'good line,' dance well, and have access to an automobile (Waller 1937, P. Coeds were seen to lose prestige if they dated less desirable men, dated too few men, or accepted last minute dates.This kind favor which, like the others, is too personal and too expensive will make him feel so obligated that soon he will start squirming to free himself from the obligation you have imposed (Jackson 1955, p. Even after the most recent sexual revolution, "Miss Manners" continues to advise: "Another thing that has not changed is what a lady who accepts an expensive present from a gentleman is expected to do in return" (Martin 1982, p. Paradoxically, increased pre-AIDS sexual freedom may have encouraged men to be more demanding about sexual favors, resulting in what is now recognized as date-rape (Bailey 1988).It will be noted that traditional dating guidelines, including the man's obligation to pay for the date and the woman's obligation to withhold sex and "bestow" it only as a special "favor" to the man she loves, were born in an era when women were less likely to work and were economically disadvantaged compared to men (Harayda 1989).However, perhaps due to the crass associations of exchanging money and gifts for the attentions and sexual favors of prostitutes, mistresses, gigolos, and gold-diggers, research on Western dating has largely ignored the monetary and material aspects of these relationships. DATING AND COURTSHIP The role of material possessions in early middle class American courtship practices was not so much in impressive gift-giving as in displaying command of the resources for providing comfort and earning a living. 24) explains: Before a man could marry, he had to possess the means to support a wife and children....A related explanation for this lack of attention is the inappropriate intrusion of the profane into the supposed realm of the sacred when cash and gifts become too prominent in our view of dating (Belk, Wallendorf, and Sherry 1989, Belk and Wallendorf 1990). His marriage "portion"--the land he would farm, the house in which he and his bride would live--came from a share of his father's property.Middle class calling rituals, calling cards, flowers, and other small courtship gifts became increasingly elaborated, common, and expensive during the Victorian era (Ames 1978).The cost of courtship also increased due to more commercial entertainments such as "Taking a train or streetcar to a nearby town to see a show, ride a carousel, or dance in a cabaret" (Rothman 1984, p. If men felt an increased economic burden in these rituals, women felt increasingly uneasy about the economic dependency that such gift-giving fostered (Lystra 1989, p. However, it was not until the emergence of dating during the 1920s that the cost and scale of interactions among unmarried men and women, especially those in college, made a quantum leap.
Gifts and dating expenditures "say" what cannot be said in words.Treating dating as an exchange relationship may threaten to commoditize and destroy the illusions provided by the romantic model of love. Where the eighteenth-century man had looked to provide a simply furnished house for his family, men who married in the increasingly industrialized middle years of the nineteenth century set higher standards for themselves.The present study presents a brief historical perspective and qualitative data that illuminate the tabooed and neglected intersection of the material, the sexual, and the romantic in the dating practices of U. They aspired to equip their households with cook stoves, pianos, Irish servant girls, indoor plumbing, or whatever they and their families needed to enjoy and demonstrate middle-class status (Rothman 1984, p. At the same time, it was the responsibility of the bride and her family to provide a trousseau of clothes, linens, and "fancy things" to set up the household.Factors affecting the development of dating include growing affluence, more recreational venues, longer periods of primarily coeducational schooling, employment of parents at increasing distances from the home (making it difficult for them to supervise activities of adolescent children), widespread adoption of the automobile, and increasing emphasis on consumption (Whyte 1990).Others cite the declining influence of religion, increased emancipation of women, the transition from a rural to an urban population, broadened mass media, declining emphasis on home, family, and marriage, and increased individualism and anonymity as causes of the development of recreational dating (Burgess and Wallin 1953).Whereas courtship involves socializing with the intention of marriage (Rothman 1984, p.