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Middle class calling rituals, calling cards, flowers, and other small courtship gifts became increasingly elaborated, common, and expensive during the Victorian era (Ames 1978).
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.
Dress became such a restrictive social barrier that women even quit going to school because of insufficiently fashionable wardrobes (Modell 1983).
I bought her all kinds of things such as stuffed animals, clothing, and jewelry.
Coon (1991) ,"Can't Buy Me Love: Dating, Money, and Gifts", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 18, eds. I had an overwhelming desire to shower the girl with gifts.
Scott (1965) insightfully detected the role of college sororities in screening to assure matches that were endogamous (in this case within ethnic group) and hypergamous (with a man of a higher social class).
Sorority women who attempted to date someone "beneath them" were quickly brought into line through the social sanctions of their sorority sisters.
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....