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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.Middle class calling rituals, calling cards, flowers, and other small courtship gifts became increasingly elaborated, common, and expensive during the Victorian era (Ames 1978).
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).
Gifts and dating expenditures "say" what cannot be said in words.
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....
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).
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).