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a young woman in San Francisco, met a man—call him John—on the dating site OKCupid. More notably, he indulged in the kind of profligate displays of affection which signal a definite eagerness to commit.
Weigel quotes a 1915 report by a New York social worker: “The acceptance on the part of the girl of almost any invitation needs little explanation, when one realizes that she often goes pleasureless unless she accepts ‘free treats.’ ” To have fun, a woman had to let a man pay for her and suffer the resultant damage to her reputation.The first is that though dating is passed off as a leisure activity, it really is a lot of work, particularly for women.It requires physical effort—all that primping, exercising, shopping, and grooming—as well as sizable investments of time, money, and emotion.He asked her to help him choose a couch and then spooned with her on all the floor models. As we learn from the podcast “Reply All,” which reported the tale, Suzanne was not the only woman on whom John had chosen to bestow his favor.Six months into their relationship, she discovered that he was seeing half a dozen other women, one of whom he’d been stringing along for two years.
Dating is therefore a powerful force of social control—but what do we actually mean by “dating”?