RNDP 19: Dating Schema and Spectacular Efforts

In my quest for the RNDP, I not only googled the search phrase "dating paradigm", I also googled "dating schema".

If you are unfamiliar with the academic term "schema", you are in luck because the first hit for "dating schema" is an article titled "Schema Theory (drawn from D’Andrade 1995)" that expains the term and includes an excerpt on dating to help explain it.

Dorothy Holland and Debra Skinner (1987) studied the US undergraduate dating schema. They describe the "taken-for-granted world of male/female relations" from the perspective of a female undergraduate as follows:

"… a male earns the admiration and affection of a female by treating her well. Intimacy is a result of this process. The female allows herself to become emotionally closer, perhaps as a friend, perhaps as a lover, perhaps as a fiancee, to those attractive males who make a sufficient effort to win her affection. Besides closeness and intimacy, the process of forming a relationship also has to do with prestige. When a male is attracted to a female and tries to earn her affection by good treatment, her attractiveness is validated and she gains prestige in her social group. For his part, the male gains prestige among his peers when he receives admiration and affection from and gains intimacy with females.

Normally, prestigious males are attracted to and establish close relations with prestigious females, and vice versa. Sometimes, however, a male can succeed in winning the affection of a female whose prestige is higher than his own. However, the more attractive she is, the more he must compensate for his lack of prestige by spectacular efforts to treat her well. Correspondingly, females sometimes do form close relationships with males who have higher prestige than they do. When the male is more attractive or has higher prestige than the female, she often must compensate by giving her affection to him without his doing anything to earn it." (1987:101-102)

Within this simplified and idealized world, one set of problematic males is termed jerks, nerds, turkeys, and asses. These are men who are undesirable and don’t know it. They are unattractive (physically or otherwise) and don’t or can’t make up for it with higher cost gifts and other exchange items. Furthermore, they are too dumb to "take a hint," and therefore have to be rejected in such direct ways that the women have to be repeatedly unpleasant, which is stressful for the women. To understand what one of these college women means when she calls a man a jerk we need to understand the (women’s) dating schema.


coyote said...

So is this saying you can buy love?

Unless, say, your spectacular gifts are incapable of overcoming the object of your affection's nauseated aversion to your near-crippling nose hair issues...?

Manny Blue said...

Ah, that reminds me, Coyote, it's time for you and Dwarfie to come over for your ear hair clipping... don't forget the tools.

4th Dwarf said...

Yippie! I love Ear Hair Clipping Day!

(Coyote, I didn't realize your nose hairs were interfering with your walking, although that does explain your limp. Grow a big mustache like I have, then braid the nose hairs into it. End of problem.

But as for your main question, Holland and Skinner talk about "treating her well" rather than buying love. I suspect how much cash comes into it would depend on the recipient and the interplay of relative prestige levels.)

coyote said...

Manny B: It ain't spring yet!

4Dude I meant a nonspecific "you". But now that you bring it up, I had noticed most of your mushmash seemed to sprout from some mysterious place north of your upper lip. . .