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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. Solomon, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 521-527.Unlike before when I viewed dates and gift giving an investment, I was now making decisions about buying from my heart instead of my head.I don't think that money should be a big issue in dating, and I wanted to find someone who didn't car too much for money [M 24]. Not that money can buy love, but rather money is an essential part of the dating process.I don't know if you can possibly have one without the other [F 24]. Like they try to buy each other or show how much they love each other in how much money they spend on the gift to the other person [F26].Nevertheless, Bailey (1968) finds that spending money on dates continued to escalate and advice books advocated judging a man's seriousness by the amount of money he was willing to spend on a date.Material generosity by males and sexual generosity by females continued to be taken as signs of love (Katz 1976).
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.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.While Waller's analysis has been criticized (Lasch 1977, Gordon 1981), it is generally accepted as describing a dating system that persisted in colleges from the 1921 Is into the 1940s.Within this system Waller (1938/1970) saw a danger of exploitation by both parties.