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.Whereas courtship involves socializing with the intention of marriage (Rothman 1984, p.23), dating is recreational and involves no commitment beyond the occasion of the date (Winch 1968).
True love is developed through true friendship and trust, and generosity is only one of those features.... I guess I find it difficult to separate love from money.Men were potentially able to use money and presents to obtain sexual "favors" from women, while women were potentially able to use their sexuality to "gold-dig" money and gifts from men.According to his "principle of least interest," the party least interested in perpetuating the relationship was best able to exploit the other.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.Middle class calling rituals, calling cards, flowers, and other small courtship gifts became increasingly elaborated, common, and expensive during the Victorian era (Ames 1978).