Rating and dating
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).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.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.
Sorority women who attempted to date someone "beneath them" were quickly brought into line through the social sanctions of their sorority sisters.
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.
In addition, a woman's home and schooling might limit her exposure to certain men. 163) reports a 19th century woman's derision of a neighbor's daughter whose marriage to an Army officer "was because her mother and brother never took the trouble to have a suitable home for her, and bring into it, the class of young men, whom after all they would have liked her to marry." -The home of a woman's family was both the meeting and screening ground for her future marriage prospects.
Upper middle class families also tried to provide their daughters with an education at a "proper" school where they could meet "appropriate" members of the other sex.For their part, women also needed to dress, dance, and talk well, plus be physically attractive.