In this threaddiscussing the dating habits of a famous (at the time young and single) scientist it’s noted that he routinely would confirm that women would put out before agreeing to buy food and/or drinks. His boorish behavior aside the notion of dinner being an even-steven trade for sex is interesting.
Obviously dinner and drinks for two prices vary, but let’s say you currently can get a decent date night dinner in most areas around $100 - $150 or less including drinks. In the linked thread they’re about trading sex favors for sandwiches. I’ve never thought about it but was take out/dining out food more relatively valuable in the 50’s and 60’s than today? Getting dinner at that time seems (relatively) to be a BFD to women.
Did the agricultural revolution that was happening at that time make today’s modern food less costly overall?
Most likely the women were just horny. Sharing a meal is a time-honored way to get to know someone before hitting the sack. You don’t really think anyone, man or woman, actually thinks they “owe” you sex if you buy them a meal?
If anything birth control is what affects the price of sex. With pregnancy out of the picture sex with a woman costs her no more than some time; so if she’s hungry trading sex for a meal isn’t necessarily an unreasonable trade from her perspective. And making the trade in terms of a meal rather than money avoids the taboo of it being prostitution; especially if there’s no explicit trade going on but just an “understanding”.
And I have heard women use the term “dinner whore” to refer to themselves and other women trading sex for a meal.
In the 50s and 60s, women actually went out with men without expecting sex, and most men thought the same. A dinner was a way to enjoy another person’s company. People didn’t expect sex on the first date, or even the first dozen.
A half century earlier, O. Henry’s “An Unfinished Story” gives a blunt account of the trade-offs a “working girl” had for options ca. 1900 (before there were food stamps, minimum wage laws and birth control).
Here’s a 1955 menu from what looks to be a pretty fancy restaurant in L.A. It looks like the complete dinners ranged from $2.75 to $4.50. Add coffee, maybe dessert and a cocktail and I guess the bill could be about $6.00 per person.
Note that minimum wage (which is probably what a shop clerk or receptionist would make) was $.75 per hour in 1955. So a meal in a fancy restaurant could literally cost a day’s pay for a young woman.
I’m not judging whether that obligated a woman to sleep with her date, but at least it lets you compare numbers.
Don’t be so sure that what was officially happening had much to do with the reality back then. Plenty of sex was going on; it was just kept hidden, along with the resulting pregnancies. My mother told me how she was one of the few women she knew her age who made it all the way through college without having to drop out and hide somewhere because of pregnancy.
I’m pretty sure the idea that she was trading sex for dinner is like the idea of the “wifely duty.” Clearly women don’t like to have sex, and the fact that they have sex so often must prove that they want something else instead.
Also, women should be careful that their uterus doesn’t wander around.
It doesn’t follow from this that the women were having sex with him just for the price of a meal. He may have seen it as a transaction, but the women didn’t. They were just willing to sleep with an attractive man on the first date who showed them a good time.
uhh—it seems like you’re overthinking this. You don’t need to investigate the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, or fluctuations in the stock market, etc.
The “even-steven” trade you are asking about is not a trade of money…it’s a trade of time.
The guy is just asking in advance whether it’s worth his time to sit at a table with this woman.
He isn’t asking whether it’s worth $2.75 or $6 for the steak.
The guy only has a few hours this specific evening, at this specific bar, with this specific group of women. If he wastes 6:30 to 9:30 p.m with one woman, he has to start all over again at 10:00 p.m.
Do the math—The statistics won’t be in his favor.
And mathematics is one thing that Richard Feyman was pretty good at.
This is a mischaracterization of the story. According to his account, a guy at a little nightclub taught this to him specifically for the women at that type of establishment, which says a lot more about that type of establishment , the people who would frequent it and the games which went on rather than in general, although according to his account, he tried it once with “ordinary” women (as opposed to women who hung out in nightclubs in the late 1940s, but that’s an entirely different thread and I have no idea how accurate any assumptions would have been).
The idea at the time was that men needed to spend money buying women drinks in order to get them to agree to have sex, and that women at that type of establishment would use that in order to get free drinks. The account suggests that the guy told him specifically to not buy drinks in order to see if the woman was really interested in him or not.
He went with a friend of a friend to a bar:
I take it from the account that the woman was interested in him anyway and there was no trade involved.
The woman in the Albuquerque night club, he actually didn’t buy her anything. She had suggested he buy them sandwiches and coffee, but in reality she was asking him to buy the food for her and another guy and Feynman would not have received sex for it.
The account doesn’t say if he actually used the technique more than the one time prior to when he tried it at Cornell.
Anyone who has been to a bar these days know that women will selectively have sex with men without any sort of barter process. So there doesn’t necessarily have to have this price tag which you are suggesting.
The cheapest proposition I ever had was from an apparent alcoholic who came to the Circle K my cousin was working at and suggested if we buy a six-pack we could both go back to her place for a party. Even as a horny 20-something kid, that didn’t seem particularly attractive.
By coincidence, I’m currently reading Superfreakonomics. Chapter One explores the economics of prostitution, both now and in the past. The authors say, “At least 20 percent of American men born between 1933 and 1942 had their first sexual intercourse with a prostitute.”
(Just as a bit of trivia, that chapter is titled, “How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?”)