Men who spend big money wining and dining their dates are not frittering away hard-earned cash. According to a pair of UK researchers, they are merely employing the best strategy for getting the girl without being taken for granted.
Using mathematical modelling, Peter Sozou and Robert Seymour at University College London, UK, found that wooing girls with costly, but essentially worthless gifts – such as theatre tickets or expensive dinners out – is a winning courtship strategy for both sexes.
Females can assess how serious or committed a male plans to be and males can ensure they are not just seducing 'gold-diggers' – girls who take valuable presents with no intention of accepting subsequent dates.
Sozou came about the idea after reading about a man in his local newspaper. The man had been paying the rent of a woman he considered was his girlfriend – he was giving her a valuable gift. But she had been heartlessly manipulating him, dating another man on the sly while accepting money from her unwitting sugar daddy.
"It spurred me onto thinking that if he had just been buying her expensive dinners, and not paying her rent, she wouldn’t have strung him along so much," says Sozou.
dating decisions. In the model males had to decide what kind of gift to offer females – valuable, extravagant or cheap – based on how attractive he finds her. The females had to either accept or decline the gift and then decide whether to mate with the gift-giver – a decision also weighted on the 'attractiveness' of their prospective partner.
When they measured the different outcomes of all the steps, they found the best solution for the males was to give extravagant, but intrinsically value-free gifts the vast majority of the time, while giving gifts of material value very occasionally.
The model showed that if males gave valuable gifts too often, the females would start to exploit them: the males have no clue as to the females’ real intentions in the model. Put simply, the females just take the diamonds and run. But when the gifts are worthless, an uninterested female has little incentive to accept, gaining no return on what could be just turn into the simple waste of an evening. Only girls who are serious would bother to go the distance.